WWW6: all authored works on-line
raj reddy presented his vision of a global infrastructure for universal
access to information, also called the "universal library".
the idea is to have all books that have ever been written, all music that
has ever been recorded, all paintings that have ever been created, all movies
that have ever been done, simply all authored works created by mankind should
become available worldwide. the Web may be one means to access these
information. some of it may be available freely, access to other information may
be charged. but there are some problems related to the universal library, such
- copyright: while older pieces of art or any material
released by the government is not protected by copyright, most of the newer
material is and therefore may not be made available on the Web.
- scanning: most of the information is not available in
machine readable form and therefore has to be scanned or otherwise be processed.
a book for example, has to be scanned and then be processed by an optical
character recognition (OCR) software. but even the best OCR SW has an error rate
of about one percent. this is not acceptable - a printed book today has an error
rate of approximately 0.003%. one way to solve the problem is to let for example
students run a spell checker against a scanned document and let them manually
correct the errors.
- storage: there are about 100 million books available
today and the number is rapidly increasing. images of paintings, music and films
require even more space to be stored. even if devices with much large storage
capacities become available, due to the immense amount of information, such a
universal library probably has to be spread over multiple locations all over the
- indexing: to be able to find a particular piece of art, a
powerful indexing mechanism would be required. while it is relatively easy to
index text documents, there is currently no way to index images, sound or
movies. a lot of research is needed in this area.
- coordination: various organizations have started to build
what may become an universal library one day. it is absolutely necessary to
coordinate these efforts so that information from these sources can be combined
to form a future universal library. raj reddy therefore asked people to work
together with him if they are active in this area.
to the WWW6 trip report main
16-may-1997 (ra) /