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jorge luis borges famous  shortstory, the library of babel, describes an impossi
bly large library containing every possible page long book in the world. the lib
rary is divided into hexagonal rooms, each with twenty shelves, each shelf carry
ing thirtyfive books. roaming its hexagonal rooms are its denizens, some intent 
on making sense of the impossible library others, senseless, driven mad by their
 searches. because the library contains every book ever written, or every possib
le book that could ever be written  shakespeares complete works, the bible, thes
e very words i write  it also contains every possible meaningless combination of
 characters. in fact, the vast majority of the librarys contents are gibberish. 
though the library contains the totality of human knowledge and all the secrets 
of the universe, these are impossible to find, forever lost among mountains of n
onsense.borges total library would be impossible to replicate in the physical wo
rld, but not in the digital realm. thats exactly what jonathan basile did he cre
ated a digital version of the library of babel online, part plaything, part digi
tal art project. basiles babel realises borges idea with a few extra constraints
 in the digital space, containing everything from hamlets famous soliloquy to th
e very words of this article. like borges, basiles library is composed mostly of
 gibberish, any and all  random combinations of the available characters. unlike
 borges library, basile introduces a very useful search function that allows the
 user to find anything they wish amidst the mountains of possible information. w
ith a simple digital function basile appears to solve the librarys most fiendish
 torture the impossibility to find what one is looking for.except it doesnt. con
sider the paradox though users are able to search and find virtually anything in
 the digital library, they cannot search for a simple phrase like this line is i
n page x, of the book titled y, which is in hexagon z and have the values of pag
e number, book title and hexagon correspond to reality. that book, in which page
 number, book title and hexagon are correct is sure to exist, but it is simply i
mpossible to find. the paradoxical nature of the search function in basiles digi
tal babel is not unlike the thousands of catalogues said to exist in borges shor
tstory. in the library there is one true catalogue of all its contents, but ther
e are a nearinfinite number of false catalogues that lead the reader astray. any
thing can be found in the digital babel, but only if you already know what to se
arch should be clear by now that i am establishing a parallel between bor
ges impossible library and its reified digital counterpart and our current datad
riven information age. this parallel is not particularly new or insightful, but 
my point is not about the many comparable features of borges story and the inter


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