16 July 2007

Why We Need a Knowledge Commons

Here's a neat device:

With Exbiblio, you have seamless, direct access to digital information and the world of the Internet. Imagine once again that you are reading your newspaper, but instead of tearing out an ad or article, writing a reminder or recording a voice message, you use your portable, hand-held scanner to capture just a snippet from the article or ad, swiping it across the text as if using a highlighter.

When you connect your Exbiblio scanner to the digital world -- for example, by wirelessly connecting to the "smart" phone or PDA you are carrying -- the Exbiblio solution instantly searches for the information you have captured, and digital versions of the paper document are found and stored.

Sounds cool - but it depends critically on having free access to that cloud of information. In other words, it depends on the existence of a readily accessible knowledge commons that it can draw upon seamlessly. If such devices had to pay for every snippet they pull down, the knock-on cost and infrastructural complexity required to keep track of who is demanding their shilling will kill it. (Via Open Access News.)

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