The Times article describes the idea of the Knowledge Index taken to truly grant scale.
Here's the letter I wrote in response to this (which was never published):
I read with great interest the recent article in the New York Times magazine about the future of books and publishing. I think this article illuminates how much more valuable information becomes when it's possible to link and interconnect it and how a book in isolation is of limited value. One important point to add to this is that the digitization of textual information really changes the scale and scope of what we read. A book is a convenient size for dissemination and digestion in paper form. Free of these physical constraints, authors often like to present information in differently sized bits than a whole book or a journal article. For instance, a short paragraph linked to and commenting on a longer one (i.e. like a blog entry commenting on a book) or some form of text intertwinned with another type of media such as a computer program or music. All of these things are easier to do in the digital age than in the framework of a paper book.
Scan This Book!
May 14, 2006, Sunday
By KEVIN KELLY (NYT); Magazine
DISPLAYING FIRST 50 OF 7658 WORDS -In several dozen nondescript office buildings around the world, thousands of hourly workers bend over table-top scanners and haul dusty books into high-tech scanning booths. They are assembling the universal library page by page. The dream is an old one: to have in one place all knowledge, past and...