Daily Thoughts 2/28/2010
Taking the day off to relax and think a bit.
I read some more of The Marketplace of Ideas by Louis Menand. He does not mention libraries in the index. He makes a brief mention of libraries as a kind of mine for knowledge. Then he makes a comment about Wikipedia making a lot of the knowledge previously held only in universities available to the public.
Right now, pretty much all of the Western cannon in literature, philosophy, and art should be available as images or texts on the internet. It is only a matter of when they will be scanned in if they are not already there. Most of it is material that is well past copyright. Most photographic images from museums are derivative copies of original works. What is copyrighted is the criticism produced by universities and other places on the work.
This opens up a whole new idea. If anyone can see the work freely, how well will academic criticism hold up to free public scrutiny. It should be very interesting. This scrutiny will be world wide and available to most people with an internet connection. I am not sure that the classics are generally censored in most places.
What will make it even more interesting is that an internet connection does not have to be a computer anymore. Anywhere there is an internet enabled cell phone, will be a place where people can read classic literature which is not under copyright. Because most of it is free, it may enliven the reading of the classics and the literature and images of the humanities; philosophy and art all over the world.
There is a lot of creative potential here, because people will be free to do with it what they want to. I am waiting to see what will happen.