The Scribd factor.
The last attempts to organize large amounts of information -and specially, electronic books- shows at least two very important aspects analyzed and previously solved by all the ancient libraries: localization and access capability.
If the human think can be not viewed as a closed and mechanical way to approach the reality, the books are an attempt to ordinate the world, keeping at hand some valuables and specific facts (real or imaginary) where the civilization can observe and confirm his own growing’ process.
The big project of digitalization where universities, academies, or multinational enterprises are involved, do not only allow the common user with an access to Internet, access to the final result of these projects, but bring a feedback to these organizations, and refine the ways/presentation/usability of the materials provided.
Some of the biggest competitors in this race, where the total knowledge of the world is being gambling, are finding each days strongest and undeniable troubles: the notion of an ‘hypertextual’ book was inexistent when the big corpus of both patrologies (Series Latina and Series Graeca) was collected.
Is true: the books talks one to/of other, but all of them was written and compiled to confirm (or deny, but always keeping a direct and immediate relation with other volumes in the same corpus) the contents of the whole collection. This is the reason of the actual issues related to the indexation, labeling and finally, the publication in the systems where these contents are being spread: Googlebooks, Gallica, Internet Archive…
The big difference, and one of the main reasons of the Scribd success, is the capability of work with each individual volume as independent of other elements, but not totally isolated.
The creation of ‘small libraries’ inside the big indexation motors is a common practice in any service actually available. Googlebooks offers this option, Internet Archive have a ‘bookmark’ service, Gallica allow labeling, and a directory based organizational scheme.
But all of them remain, finally, as closed options, this because they where developed on a basis of private and individual usage.
Scribd takes advantage over them. This service include all the greatest facilities available in other services, not as the first and main goal, but as great tools which let the users have access to the books -primary subject- and directly, communicate any opinion, message, critic or information around a book, or a whole collection.
Is most like the ‘Scriptorium’ described by Eco in his ‘Name of the rose’: the life of this scriptorium can be understanding only having a book as center.
This is which I name ‘the factor Scribd’: all the advantages of the contemporary socializing platforms, being used to talk about, on, in and by the books. This commercial platform is doing possible the actualization of a lot of contents, bringing the visitors a panoramic view most according to the medieval bibliotheca, than the modern ‘dataset’, most useful to mechanical and electrical devices, than the human processing of information.