Lo(B)! The Universal Library is complete!

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This topic contains 153 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Krishan 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #155 Reply

    Jonathan Basile

    “When it was announced that the Library contained all books, the first reaction was unbounded joy…”

    I too am overjoyed to be able to say that libraryofbabel.info now contains every possible page of text, and over 105076 books. To put that in perspective, the universe contains only 1080 atoms.

    In addition, the library is now fully searchable. Any text you like can be found an endless number of times, instantaneously.

    I’ve done my best to include some resources that introduce visitors to the new structure of the library. The Reference Hex contains some advice for managing the lengthy urls and hexagon names in the new library (even with our base-36 system for numbering them, they reach 3260 characters). For those who want to peer into the mechanism’s inner workings, I’ve offered an explanation of the algorithm on a new theory page, Grains of Sand, and as always, anyone with questions can get in touch with me by email or leave a question here in the forum. My contact information is on the about page.

    One thing I imagine may be confusing to people is that searches for full pages of 3200 characters can return multiple matches. This is because the algorithm being used to produce the books can potentially output many more states than the mere 293200 which the full set of pages represents. So any page can be matched multiple times. Because there are so many possible pages, you will never be able to get to a page you have seen once by searching for the text on it. You’d have a better chance of finding a single grain of sand left behind on a beach. The only exception would be if you found the page initially by doing an exact search. Still, if you would like to test out the authenticity of the library, simply travel from any of the book pages to the browse page, then back to the hexagon, wall, shelf, volume, and page you were perusing. We may change, but the library, as Borges said, is eternal.

    Of course, the best way to familiarize yourself with the library is to begin searching and browsing. There are infinite, or at least indefinite, possibilities to discover.

    #241 Reply

    Luke Chrisinger

    Not exaggerating, this is one of the best sites ever created(if not the best).

    I think at one point there was an explanation of the backup process on the About page, I can’t seem to find it now? How is the site backed up?

    How are you planning on maintaining the sites perpetuity? I think it’s incredibly important that it never be taken down. I would definitely be willing to contribute $ to the Library of Babel Foundation.

    Amazing work. I am truly grateful to you for the time and effort you have put into(and continue to put into) this project. Thank you.

    – Luke

    #242 Reply

    Jonathan Basile

    Hey Luke!

    Thank you so much for your kind words and your support! For now Library of Babel doesn’t have any expenses beyond its web-hosting fees, so I haven’t been asking for any donations. It’s important to me that the site be as free as possible for all it’s users, as any library should be.

    In the future if the site needs help to survive or expand I’ll definitely let you and its other visitors know. I really appreciate everyone’s support!

    Thanks to the new algorithm the site uses, keeping a backup is very easy. I used to pre-generate books and back up what I created, which took an incredible amount of storage. Thankfully, today the entire site only takes up a few MB – nothing more than the code which contains the pseudo-random number generating algorithm that can produce all 104677 (or so) books. Rest assured that I have several back-ups of all the code.

    For now, I hope all visitors to libraryofbabel.info will continue to make use of the site however they see fit. It will remain a free resource for as long as possible, and I will let everyone know if it needs any support in the future.

    #244 Reply

    Christian Arthur

    So incredibly happy that you brought this into being. Well done. -Christian

    #255 Reply

    Austin Skarnes

    Had just found this on reddit, and it is amazing. I will be blindly searching the pages for a while now. Thank you very much for this website, Jonathan.

    #257 Reply


    Could Funes remember the entire library?

    #260 Reply


    Hey Jonathan,

    I am very, very happy to stumble upon this place. It’s like walking out to get milk and seeing a dinosaur! Dreams coming true, all that.
    Is there a way to see the full algorithm? I’ve looked at the “Grains of Sand” page, but it’s not detailed enough to convince me that I see what I truly want to see here.


    #262 Reply

    Jonathan Basile

    Thank you everyone for the kind words. I’m so glad you enjoy the site.

    I do intend to put the code online in the not-too-distant future. But there’s a bit more work I’d like to do with it and on it first. In the meantime, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about how it works.

    #277 Reply


    I wonder, would it be possible to add a search function that generates not just random english words surrounding searched text, but syntactically complete sentences?

    #280 Reply

    Jonathan Basile

    Definitely. I could use markov chains, or just take sentences from books from project Gutenberg. Perhaps for the next version of the site

    #287 Reply


    I think I may have discovered a simple proof that the Library does not contain every possible book of its format. According to WolframAlpha WolframAlpha, the number of possible books (29, the number of different characters used in the books, raised to the power of the product of the number of characters on a page and the number of pages in a book, that power thus being the number of characters in a book) is greater than the number of books in the library (the number of books in each hexagon, being books-per-shelf times shelves-per-hexagon, multiplied by the number of hexagons, which is derived via a formula for finding sums of sequential powers of 36, 36 being the number of different characters used in hexagon names). The brackets in the WolframAlpha URL I wanted to embed seem to cause trouble in URLs, so the inequation I used (so you can check in WolframAlpha) is 29^(3200*410)>(32*20)*((36/35)(-1+36^3260)). But at least the Library contains every possible page.

    #288 Reply

    Jonathan Basile

    The library does not contain every every possible book – it contains every possible page.

    The number of possible pages is 29^3200, and there are 36^3260 or so hexagons accessible at this time through the browse page. Every possible book would be 29^1312000 possibilities. I’m working on that.

    #293 Reply


    If you increase the size of the library, could you please prevent changing the contents and ‘addresses’ of the existing hexagons and their contents?

    #294 Reply


    Ah, I meant ‘could you please avoid changing’.

    #296 Reply

    Jonathan Basile

    Absolutely – depending on how efficient the expanded algorithm is, I may have to limit it to being a downloadable offline application, in which case it won’t effect the book locations online at all. If I can get it to run on the web, I will shift all of the current scripts to a subdomain, so all the pages people have found will still be accessible.

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