Lo(B)! The Universal Library is complete!
This topic contains 136 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by messiah 3 weeks, 6 days ago.
July 27, 2015 at 3:47 pm #817
Thank you, Rohith!July 27, 2015 at 4:20 pm #820
I’m sorry if this is a stupid question or has already been asked before, but how does this work with copyright laws?
For instance, since this library contains every possible page, it obviously contains exact copies of pages from copyrighted books. Could it be considered copyright infringement, since it contains exact pages from, say, the Harry Potter books? I’m curious.July 27, 2015 at 5:42 pm #822
Hey Makenna – not a stupid question at all! I find it quite interesting to ponder, though I hope I never have to explore it in the courtroom. I wrote about it here: https://libraryofbabel.info/forum/?topic=book-locations
Don’t worry about not finding it – the forum has become a labyrinth in its own right.July 28, 2015 at 6:14 am #828
An incredible achievement. To me, the most interesting thing is the “with random English words” search function. Imagine if you extended this to generate using a grammar as well as a lexicon! The returned results might be much more interesting. Already with the “with random English words” we have a filter, a winnowing function that acts an automated version of the librarians who would throw nonsensical books down the stairwell. Imagine if we extended this to grammars to throw out nongrammatical search results. Of course it would also be cool to extend this to “with random Spanish|Chinese|Old Norse|Quechua” as well; just need lexicons and grammars to apply to the search function.July 31, 2015 at 12:37 pm #851
my most heart and head felt thanks for this project. i have been enthralled and bothered by the library since i first encountered it many decades ago, and to finally encounter it is chilling. i quote myself, of course.
Thank you, David! It makes me very happy when pages are shared by their location – thank you for taking the time!August 2, 2015 at 7:59 pm #863
Hi, Jonathan. First off, bravo. Borges himself would be ecstatic. Secondly…I’m not exactly sure how to use the Library. Do you think you could help me out?August 3, 2015 at 5:27 am #864
Sure thing, Gaby. Want to let me know what you’re trying to do or where you’re having trouble? you can search the library here: https://libraryofbabel.info/search.html
and open to a random page here: https://libraryofbabel.info/random.cgi
or browse the library by location here: https://libraryofbabel.info/browse.cgi
The library is divided into hexagon, wall, shelf, and volume, so each book is assigned a location consisting of those elements. The numbers and letters you see attached to each page represent its location in the library.
This is explained in more detail here: https://libraryofbabel.info/referencehex.html
And if you still have any questions, you can let me know here in the forum, or my contact information is here: https://libraryofbabel.info/About.html – if you prefer e-mail.September 25, 2015 at 4:20 am #1497
This is amazing but i am beginning to see the stories point. Poetic really. To be able to see everything to know every possiblity is right here. (Sort of like being god. all knowing.) But never really being able to see anything meaningful.(because we are not and cannot be like god.) I read it would take us life times to accualy just randomly browse the libraries and come up with anything. So i see the next step as being will there be search engine developments applied to this to actually be able to find the hidden treasures. I wont pretend to know how the search engine could work but for example. The way i type restaurants into google and it tells me everything about all types of great places i never knew existed. Would we be able to type in “jokes” and browse the funniest jokes. Even ones that have never been told yet. I believe it could be possible. But smarter people than i need to work on it.September 25, 2015 at 4:25 am #1498
For those who say that is impossible. i say imagine telling someone 100yrs ago to name any exact address or street on the face of the earth and i will show you a picture of it or an image from space and be able to zoom in. All instantly wirelessly and from my pocket. We do this now as if it were simple. I would love it if the complexity of this library could someday be that simple.September 25, 2015 at 4:34 am #1499
Another question that accured to me was. Do you think this could be a great analogy for the proof or lack of proof that there is or is not a god. Like i said. God knows all that is was and ever will be istantly and from the begining of time itself god knew how the end of time would come and everything in between. Mutch as your library contains everyting there ever was and will be. But us as mortals will never be able to navigate the vast knowledge of everything. So fhis to me demonstrates a real way to understand how god could be all knowing. But at the same time. God must obviously be greatly beyond our relm of understanding because we cannot just turn to the page of our death the way god could. Or if infact we get to that point where we could search for that and find it. That would be the argument against gods exisitance. Either way. I believe a great discussion could be had about it.September 25, 2015 at 12:18 pm #1510
Hi! I just went here from Vsauce video – this is indeed one of the greatest websites on the Internet. Above all questions i have there is one bothering me the most – is there already in this Library every possible book, or only page? Because I wanted to look for the whole books in it.September 25, 2015 at 12:38 pm #1514
I’m curious about expanding the search function as well – but it seems to me like libraryofbabel.info would make a useless appendage to the effort to search for new utterances. Ultimately, a search program would have to entirely compose a text in order to find it in the library, so you could just create a program which generated jokes or what have you, and skip a step. Still, I’m working on a downloadable, open-source version of the library that will allow lots of people to experiment with it – so maybe someone else will come up with the answer.
There’s definitely a lot to be said about how the library transforms our notions of God – what you say about God’s mind being omniscient in an all-at-once way, whereas the library is experienced sequentially in time, is quite interesting. I’d say the best discussion of this theme is in Borges’ short story! Always worth a re-reading: https://libraryofbabel.info/Borges/libraryofbabel.pdfSeptember 25, 2015 at 11:02 pm #1541
Thanks for the response. So another question. I read some claim that this is not real because perhaps the text we type in and search for is simply put in and surrounded with all possiblity. Then given locations. What i mean is. Maybe we cannot find any meaning when browsing because it is only there once it has been searched for. So the real question. As slim to non of a chance as it may be. Is it even possible to pull a random book and see my name. Birthday or anything else i would find interesting. If it is has anyone experienced this. Or are we simply inputing the text then it is generating the locations once we put what we want to find in.September 25, 2015 at 11:53 pm #1543
No – every possible page has been assigned a location already, and that location will be the same for as long as the site exists. It’s actually much more efficient to do it this way – so it’s just silly that everyone thinks it is done the other way. You could potentially find your name – five letters isn’t so daunting, but anything beyond that is statistically impossible – not because it doesn’t exist, but because too many possibilities exist.