If building a digital public library of America, distribute its construction to the masses

The Berkman Center for Internet and Society said it “will host a research and planning initiative for a Digital Public Library of America.” The Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the Smithsonian Institution are involved.

If this is about categorizing, organizing and adding utility to knowledge, why not create some kind of tools or classification system that all Web users can use to tag content for the purpose of building this digital public library? Firefox plugin? Chrome? iPhone app? Android?

Then again, people are already tagging and describing content. Try passively scouring bookmarking services that incorporate tagging (Xmarks, Delicious). Users might want to grant access to their tagging activity if they know it helps build a formal system for organizing the info.

Suggested classifications, whether pulled from an existing service or provided through a new tool, could go to a professional staff for polishing and final classification.

Then again, isn’t the Web already doing this, just in a distributed fashion? The challenge is to bring value to the networked efforts in the process of editing and centralizing them. If you cant’ bring value, then don’t do it.

Or maybe this whole project is a big digitization of many, many pages. If that’s the case, they’ll need a big scanner.

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