יום שבת, 7 באוגוסט 2010

How many books are there in this world ?

How many books are there in this world ? the good people of google books might have the answer.

But it was not an easy voyage. Because the answer relies on the way in which you define a book, and of the difficulties in differentiating between them. A part of the answer found by google was to -
"collect metadata from many providers (more than 150 and counting) that include libraries, WorldCat, national union catalogs and commercial providers. At the moment we have close to a billion unique raw records. We then further analyze these records to reduce the level of duplication within each provider, bringing us down to close to 600 million records.
Does this mean that there are 600 million unique books in the world? Hardly. There is still a lot of duplication within a single provider (e.g. libraries holding multiple distinct copies of a book) and among providers -- for example, we have 96 records from 46 providers for “Programming Perl, 3rd Edition”. Twice every week we group all those records into “tome” clusters, taking into account nearly all attributes of each record."
To make a long story short, for the time being it seems that there are 129,864,880 unique books out there.

Not bad, considering that the great library of Alexandria was said to have, at most, about 500.000 scrolls. Wouldn't you say?


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