Encyclopedia Britannica, a 32 volume home encyclopedia that became the go-to source of information.
In 2004 at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the American company Google launched what they first called Google Print, now known as Google Books.
The Google Books Library Project is an effort by Google to scan and make searchable the world's 130 million books. As of October 2015, Google has scanned and uploaded digitally 25 million books. They hope to complete their ambitious project by the end of this century.
I for one am a user.
It is through Google Books that I became fascinated and a quasi-expert on world chronology through reading Isaac Newton's The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended. It is through Google Books that I discovered a simple and stunning interpretation of Daniel's 70 Weeks Prophecy, written by a "layman" in 1826 called Daniel's Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks Interpreted by a Layman. If you read it, you will realize like I that a layman 200 years ago tended to be more intellectual than the average layman today. It is through Google Books that I've read for free countless biographies that just over a dozen years ago I would had to have spent a fortune finding a print copy through Alibris or other book search companies,. One of my favorite Google Book biographies is an work on William Shakespeare which you can download for free.
When the infamous Library of Alexandria was burned in AD 642, it was an intentional act by marauders designed to limit the world's access to knowledge. For nearly a millennium previously, ships docked at the northern port of Alexandria, Egypt and presented originals of their home ports favorite scrolls (books) as a "docking fee." Scholars at the Alexandria Library would make a handwritten copy of the scroll, keep the original scroll, and send the copy home with the sailors the next time they docked in Alexandria. It was at the Alexandria Library during the 3rd century B.C. that 70 Greek scholars took some Hebrew scrolls of the Scriptures and made a Greek translation of them that we call the Septuagint (Greek for "70"). When the Alexandria Library burned in AD 642, hundreds of thousands priceless scrolls went to ash, turning the ancient world's vast storehouse of amazing knowledge into smoke. It's my opinion the prevalent notion we evolved from monkeys is a direct result of lacking access to the ancient scrolls that would have shown that the "monkeys" of millenniums past were dang smarter than the evolved monkeys of today.
The Internet is the new Alexandria Library. Google Books is the forerunner of the democratization of knowledge. It is impossible to burn a digital library, but watch out for those governments that restrict access to the Internet. Any government that limits the peoples' access to Google Books is a government of tyranny.
If I were a parent of a young child (or maybe a grandparent?), I would take advantage of Google Books by teaching my children how to use this technology to download and read for free books from around the world and from centuries past. In the next few years there will be a massive, concerted effort by governments to limit access to this knowledge, and the only people who will will fight such attempts at censorship and tyranny are those who understand the benefit of the democratization of knowledge
I'm ready to do my part to help people understand.