In the first half of the last school year, PEN America has recorded almost 900 different books pulled from library shelves across the country. As long as libraries have existed, people have tried to police what goes in them. The burning of the Library of Alexandria is a metaphor that gets invoked any time we lose access to a treasure trove of books. But for centuries it has also inspired scientists and inventors, philosophers and programmers to dream about creating an ideal library, one that provides access to all the knowledge in the world. OTM producer Molly Schwartz goes to a birthday party for Wikidata at the Brooklyn Public Library, where she talks to Wikimedia New York City president Richard Knipel, Wikimedia software engineer James Forrester, and long-time Wikipedia editor Jim Henderson about how the free online encyclopedia has made strides toward providing knowledge to the sum of human knowledge. She also speaks with library historian Alex Wright, author of the book Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages, and software engineering consultant Gyula Lakatos, creator of the Library of Alexandria application suite, about the history of universal library projects and what keeps the dream alive.
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