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Boston Public Library's govt documents digitization project

This is a fantastic project that will give access to a great swath of federal documents and be aboon to historians, researchers and the public. Carl Malamud says his motivation is to make the workings of the government more accessible at no cost and that "This is society's operating system."

A digital library partnership, including two nonprofit organizations and the Boston Public Library, is preparing to begin making digital copies of the library's paper-based government documents collection, which will then be made available on the Internet.

The project, which will take two years and require the hand scanning of millions of pages of government hearings and related publications, will cost an estimated $6 million, according to the project's sponsors.

Boston Public Library librarians said they planned to begin by digitizing the House Committee on Un-American Activities hearings from the 1950s, which is regularly sought after by its patrons.

The project is being undertaken by Public.Resource.Org, a nonprofit group seeking to open public access to government records, and the Internet Archive, a San Francisco-based digital library.

The project is the brainchild of founders of the two organizations, Carl Malamud and Brewster Kahle...

Doris Lessing Blames Internet for Decline in Reading

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

In the speech she [Doris Lessing] prepared to accept this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature, she describes regularly visiting rich schools and even universities where she is told that some students don’t read books at all, and that the library is half-used.

“We are in a fragmenting culture,” she wrote, “where our certainties of even a few decades ago are questioned and where it is common for young men and women who have had years of education to know nothing about the world, to have read nothing, knowing only some speciality or other, for instance, computers.”

She goes on to lay the blame on the Internet, which she said “has seduced a whole generation into its inanities so that even quite reasonable people will confess that once they are hooked, it is hard to cut free, and they may find a whole day has passed in blogging and blugging etc.”

Be sure to read the comments after the article as well.

Lessing's full speech, courtesy of Guardian Unlimited.

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