Cristopher Kelty on Virtual Libraries: shutting down knowledge?

An interesting article by C. Kelty, author of Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software (Experimental Futures) on virtual libraries and their role in shaping knowledge:
The shutdown of is creating a virtual showdown between would-be learners and the publishing industry.  Last week a website called "" disappeared. A coalition of international scholarly publishers accused the site of piracy and convinced a judge in Munich to shut it down. (formerly Gigapedia) had offered, if the reports are to be believed, between 400,000 and a million digital books for free.

And not just any books - not romance novels or the latest best-sellers - but scholarly books: textbooks, secondary treatises, obscure monographs, biographical analyses, technical manuals, collections of cutting-edge research in engineering, mathematics, biology, social science and humanities. Read more


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