How do I refer to a certain "book" or page?

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Ray 4 months ago.

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  • #29992 Reply


    Hello, I am a writer or an aspiring writer and this website has really opened my eyes to the nature of the universe. It made me realize that taking credit for anything I write including this very post right now feels too self-centered so I thought that any poem, haiku, or novel that I write I am just going to provide a link to the respected location within this library as evidence to show that my words were already written before I written them. The problem being is that I don’t quite know how to do that. I cannot seem to get the specific URL for the page to just link to. I also don’t know if I should link to exact match, match with random words, or the other one. Can someone please provide some insight on how I could properly refer back to the location of my text?

    Or else I think my dreams of becoming a writer might be forever dashed as it doesn’t feel right taking credit for words that were already written in the universe even if that means it was my own words. Someone please help me!

    #30013 Reply


    Hello Catherine, I’d like to address your post in two parts:

    Firstly, I think you shouldn’t dwell on the fact that your works already exist in the Library. All it simply does is programmatically displays all combinations of letters within a page of a given length. Think of it this way, if I were to write down on a piece of paper every 3-letter word, that would be 26^3 combinations (or 17,576). Should I be worried that the word “xqb” isn’t properly yet in the dictionary, or should I be the first to coin the phrase and get others to use it in their regular speech? The same concept applies, but for a whole page of 3,200 characters.

    Please don’t let it discourage you from discovering your passion for writing. I think Michael from VSauce said it best; this Library is only possible because our language is made up of a finite set of characters, but the power we have is to say things with meaning.

    Secondly, the easiest way to share a page would be to click the “Bookmarkable” link on the left side of a page and give it a name. The page will refresh, but afterwards, just copy the URL.

    #30032 Reply


    I tried sharing the bookmark feature, but I had people tell me that it just showed the random text and didn’t go straight to the words I wanted to cite. I have thought about just providing the directions to it so one could manually navigate to it, but not sure how that would work out. I’m not going to publish anything until I figure this out though I could most likely publish as “Anonymous” but that still shows that at least one person was involved in the writing. This is frustrating.

    #30036 Reply


    Did you use a search result with random characters? When you revisit the page, it won’t be bold, so it could appear to be random text, such as this (look at the last line on the page):

    If you want to get the full location, however, it’s a little complicated. First, find a page. Make sure to write down the page number at the top. Now, instead of clicking on the “Bookmarkable” link on the left, click on the hex location above “Single Page”. This will take you to the volume selection page. At the top you will see a box with random text in it. Right click that and choose “Select All”, then copy that. That’s the hex location. You will also need to write down the wall number, the shelf number, and the volume number. They should all be filled out on the page you are on.

    To do navigate to the page you saved, go to the main page and click “Browse”. In the “Hex Name” box, paste the random text that you copied from earlier. Next, choose the wall/shelf/volume that you wrote down. You can do this either by clicking on the picture or using the drop-down selectors. Once you’re in the book, at the top, write the page number and press Enter. You should be on the correct page.

    #30039 Reply


    I think one of the bookmarks that I made was to the “exact match” feature, but I noticed that when I click on the link it doesn’t take me to that exact page number.

    This is to a haiku that I wrote.

    #30040 Reply


    Hm, strange. Well at least you got the bookmark to work with that one. 🙂

    #30041 Reply


    The fact that someone continues to use and care about the Library is a beautiful sentiment. But it is quite devastating to learn that none of these words I pen have any value. Oh dear, time to go into an existential crisis. We continue to devalue our creations one by one as humans.

    #30061 Reply


    How does it decrease the value of the words?

    #30063 Reply


    The value of our words lies in the fact that we are the first ones to ever use them (as far as we know, at least). Our language is limited by only a few symbols. We use 26 letters in English. Because of this, there are only 26^2 (676) combinations of 2-character words, and here they are:

    This means you can do the same for 3-characters, 4-characters, 5, and so on. The Library does this, but with 3200-characters (the pages). Does that mean that anything we do is useless just because a machine is able to make those combinations? Absolutely not. In the Library are things such as Newton’s laws of physics. Now, Newton was born way before he would be able to look up his laws in the Library, but back then you could just hire a lot of people to write as many combinations as possible on paper until one of them wrote “force equals mass times acceleration”. Would that have been a better use of his time? I’d think not. That’s the beauty of discovery. Just like his laws are in the Library, the laws already existed in the natural world waiting for him to discover them. Instead of wasting time searching scrambled pages of nonsense, all it took was an apple hitting him in the head to get him to find out why that happened.

    #30073 Reply


    The machine makes combinations the same way a human does. “meaning” is a human construct which does not contribute whatsoever to the end product, but rather is an emotion which humans use to disguise their futility. the truth is, machines can make everything humans do, and do it better. newton was a flawed person whose thinking would be crushed by a computer.

    #30911 Reply


    The machine combinations don’t manage to replace humans though. Searching through the library at random you will have an astronomically low chance to generate any information. This post alone is made up of more information than the library alone could ever dream of providing you with. In fact, the whole premise of the original story by Borges is that the universal library is only valuable in conception, being utterly useless in practice.

    Another way of looking at it: The library will only ever be able to tell you something you already knew.

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