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Friday, May 13, 2005

The Total Information Available In The World

Michael Lesk writes that the Web may be as large as the Library of congress. The Web has been growing 10-fold each year. Current estimates of the number of Internet users run in the tens of millions, perhaps 50 M, and this might grow to one billion; thus a factor of twenty is available by increasing the number of people on the Web. If assuming that people put more and more of their life online best estimated to be a factor of 20.This suggests that the amount of Ascii on the Web might increase to 800 terabytes. The 20-terabyte size of the Library of Congress is widely quoted is derived by assuming that LC has 20 million books and each requires 1 MB. Of course, LC has much other stuff besides printed text, and this other stuff would take much more space.
1.Thirteen million photographs, even if compressed to a 1 MB JPG each, would be 13 terabytes.
2.The 4 million maps in the Geography Division might scan to 200 TB.
3.LC has over five hundred thousand movies; at 1 GB each they would be 500 terabytes (most are not full-length color features).
4.Bulkiest might be the 3.5 million sound recordings, which at one audio CD each, would be almost 2,000 TB.
This makes the total size of the Library perhaps about 3 petabytes (3,000 terabytes).

The Web has more text than LC already,Through complex reasoning Michael Lesk arrives at the entire world's writing amounts to 160 terabytes each year and the total disk space in the world to be 22500 terabytes. Add cinema, Images,Broadcasting, Sound, Telephony, the conclusion is that in terms of text there are terabytes of information and perhaps one terabyte of professional information. Including sounds and images there are thousands of petabytes of information. Interesting read..

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