Ambitious plans are in the works for a vast digital library in Alexandria. Read all about it in the New York Times:
Searching the unstructured, unedited web via Google or alltheweb.com has its virtues. I’ve solved plenty of “why doesn’t this compile” problems by pasting error messages into Google’s search box.
Many searches, however, require slogging through piles of nonsense. If I’m looking for accurate historical or political information, I’m always worried if I find a page that seems to be helpful but is just written by some random freelance interested person. Maybe it’s accurate or maybe the author is well known on soc.culture.freedonia as a notorious partisan of a fringe anti-Freedonian militant sect.
Digital information distribution projects that involve editors or librarians are interesting combinations of the reach of the web with the discerning filter of a human. Sure, wikis and faq-o-matics have their place, but there are times when I want to be able to trust and verify the sources of information.
So what’s out there that fills this role in various topic areas? There’s a good source for O’Reilly books, but using the Internet to learn about the Internet are the baby steps of this kind of research. Here’s a few things I’ve found:
- JSTOR provides online access to many scholarly journals.
- arXiv provides free online access to current physics, math, and CS research
- The New York Public Library has about 30,000 searchable digital images online with plans for another 570,000 in the next few years
What are your favorite structured/edited online databases?