Bookmark: slowmornings

Added to the Museum of Data by Chanel MacDiarmid on Monday, April 19, 2021. Museum of Data Collection ID: 819.

Public description: This is a page from a "book" within the Library of Babel, a website created by Jonathan Basile in 2015. This page contains an excerpt of a journal entry written on February 9th, 2020, which was found within the Library using the search function and bookmarked under "slowmornings". The website is a digital enactment of the Library of Babel as theorized by Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges in the 1941 short story of the same name. The story imagines a universe visualized as a series of hexagonal rooms lined with bookshelves, containing every possible combination of English words: every idea, every thought, and every discovery that ever has been and ever will be written down. In the story, the Librarians fall to despair and superstition in their futile attempts to find value and meaning in the endless nonsense on the pages. The Library of Babel thus offers the promise of ultimate truth and reason, the answer to every question, if only one can find it. Basile created an algorithm that brings this thought experiment to life. The algorithm generates a 'book' by permuting every combination of 29 characters: the 26 English letters, space, comma, and period. Each 410-page book is marked by a coordinate, corresponding to its place on the hexagonal library (hexagon name, wall number, shelf number, and book name) so that every book can be found in the same location every time. Basile invites users to explore the Library and share their discoveries. In doing so, users can experience the distinction between data and information, information and meaning, meaning and value.

Materials used: This object is a webpage like any other, and represented here in a screenshot of 414kb. However, the text depicted also exists in ink on paper.

Credit: As the website was created by Jonathan Basile, this page can be understood as derivative of his algorithmic creation.

Language: This page, like the rest of the Library, exists only in English characters.

Size: The ‘library’ currently contains every 3200-character combination, organized into hexagonal shaped rooms with four walls, five shelves, and 32 volumes with 410 pages each. The screenshot used to represent this particular bookmarked excerpt is 414kb.

Creation date: 2015/04/01 00:00:00

Other date: 2020/02/09 12:13:00

External link:

Tags: 7

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