Revolutionizing The Republic Of Letters


Robert Darnton wants the U.S. to follow in the steps of the Netherlands, France, and Japan by building its own National Digital Library:

The ambition behind this project goes back to the founding of this country. Thomas Jefferson formulated it succinctly: “Knowledge is the common property of mankind.” He was rightin principle. But in practice, most of humanity has been cut off from the accumulated wisdom of the ages. In Jefferson’s day, only a tiny elite had access to the world of learning. Today, thanks to the Internet, we can open up that world to all of our fellow citizens. We have the technical means to make Jefferson’s dream come true, but do we have the will?

(Image from the portable libraries that were once supplied to Michigan's lighthouse keepers)