One Country is Digitizing All Books, And Making Them Free For Its Citizens
One Country is Digitizing All Books, And Making Them Free For Its Citizens
By Benjamin Cosman / policymic.com
Jan 5, 2014

The news: Norway is well on its way to digitizing every book in its National Library and making them all free to access for any Norwegian citizen. That means hundreds of thousands of books will be available to anyone accessing the collection online with a Norwegian IP address.

According to the National Library, “all published content, in all media” is being digitized, which includes “material dating from the Middle Ages up to the current day.” 

The plan: The digitization of the library collection began in 2006 and is expected to take 20 to 30 years, with an end goal of the mid-2020s. The Norwegian Legal Deposit Act requires everything published in the country be deposited in the National Library’s collections, which means everything published in Norway will eventually be uploaded to the digital archives. According to the library’s website, “several terabytes of data” flow into the archives each day, ranging from books to handwritten documents to audio files. 

The reasons the National Library gives for digitization are quite noble. “Users should be able to enjoy access to a large variety of digital content from wherever they are located, and whenever they want,” it says on its website. It’s digitizing what it calls “the nation’s collective memory” and will “safeguard the collection for future generations.”

Why this matters: This is actually really freaking cool. All published material, regardless of copyright, will eventually be at the fingertips of every Norwegian citizen. Non-copyrighted material, and material with expired copyrights, will be available for download.

Sure, Google might be trying to do this by itself, but it’s notable to see an entire country get behind this sort of digitizing effort. As The Atlantic notes, Norway already has the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, preserving the agriculture history of the world. The country seems hell-bent on ensuring that the totality of human knowledge is around for a long time to come.

 

Benjamin Cosman's avatar image Benjamin Cosman

Ben graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Political Science. He recently traveled through New England looking for pie. His second-favorite pastime is googling pictures of politicians laughing.

0.0 ·
0
Trending Today
Revolution and American Indians: “Marxism is as Alien to My Culture as Capitalism”
Russell Means24,656 views today ·
15 Powerful Quotes From the World's Most Humble President
Hyacinth Mascarenhas12,011 views today ·
History Tells Us What May Happen Next With Brexit and Trump
Tobias Stone8,029 views today ·
MP Says Government is Intentionally Making People Destitute to Prevent Organised Opposition
2 min6,562 views today ·
Welcome to Marinaleda: The Spanish Anti-Capitalist Town With Equal Wage Full Employment and $19 Housing
Jade Small3,561 views today ·
Every Town Needs a Remakery
Jeremy Williams3,384 views today ·
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min3,133 views today ·
Debating the British Empire's 'Legacy' Is Pointless - This Is Still an Imperial World
Ibtisam Ahmed2,879 views today ·
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power
3 min2,534 views today ·
Load More
New
Trump is a Symptom of Corporate Globalization
Helena Norberg-Hodge
Up Close and Personal With Norwegian Orcas
2 min
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power
3 min
Why Did Activists Chain Themselves to the Runway at Stansted Airport?
Plane Stupid
Rosie the Riveter for the 21st Century: You Dreamed, We Drew
Jennifer Luxton
Meet The Woman Rescuing Fruit and Feeding Her Community
2 min
Debating the British Empire's 'Legacy' Is Pointless - This Is Still an Imperial World
Ibtisam Ahmed
9 Times Video Games Were Great for Mental Health
Marijam Didzgalvyte and Jish Newham
What is Populism?
6 min
Load More
What's Next
Is This The Most Embarrassing Interview Fox News Has Ever Done?
10 min
Watch the Video the New York Times Didn't Want You to See
11 min
Economic Hit Men: How The Developed World Robs the Third
17 min
Like us on Facebook?
One Country is Digitizing All Books, And Making Them Free For Its Citizens