For the last ten years or so internet search engines, and Google in particular, have made the retrieval of digital information increasingly and surprisingly fast, reliable, and efficient. Google searches have already changed the way we live and work. And our expectations of a permanent, seamless access to all kinds of searchable data have grown accordingly, in quantity and quality. Google itself is constantly expanding the power and scope of its searches into new and sometimes unexpected domains. Given the pace of this ongoing revolution in global data processing, scholars and historians may be reasonably puzzled by the persistent opacity of most of the predigital accumulated lore of humankind, in print and in manuscript form. Why should the full content of all the books (and codices) in the world not be made as easily searchable as today's World Wide Web?

There...

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