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12/17/2004
07:25 PM
John Soat
John Soat
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Editor's Note: The Promise of Technology Kept

Archaeologists have found what they believe to be the site of the Library of Alexandria, often described as the world's first major seat of learning." That was the first line of a news story published by BBC News on May 12 of this year. It went on to describe how a Polish-Egyptian team had excavated a site in the Mediterranean they believe to be where the Library of Alexandria, the storehouse of all ancient knowledge, stood sometime around 200 B.C.

"Google To Index Millions Of Books." That was the headline in The New York Times last week, for a story about how the Internet search company had struck a deal with several leading libraries to catalog and make available online the contents of their books.

The Library of Alexandria has been a metaphor for the Internet since its inception. Last week's announcement by Google brought that promise closer to reality. There are legitimate questions about the project: Would it commercialize library content? What about the copyright implications? But Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who are underwriting the online-library project, say it's something they've dreamed about doing for a long time.

I don't know about you, but I became involved in technology because of its promise. And Google's ambitious effort seems like a promise kept.

Several people who see the promise of technology are part of our list of "Innovators And Influencers" for 2005. Overpromising and underdelivering is the theme of our "Overrated/Underrated" feature, a tongue-in-cheek look at the best and worst of 2004.

This is the last issue of InformationWeek in 2004. Have a happy holiday season, and a fun New Year's celebration. We'll be back in 2005. I promise.

John Soat
Editor
jsoat@cmp.com

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