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Dhcmrlchtdj!
May 29, 2013 10:21 AM   Subscribe

The Library of Babel is online! Recently digitized classics include Rtvcdg Lxcxahssds Qgflvab mge Bjbpd Orrq, Dgqqjv Iqfold xpx Ljg vjd Vapdophr, and Vmcyogxmvyrnle Lgjmyqsh Hfmni Lyvvdahec Bajvp Hlibiov, which appears by the gracious permission of Lbtddnbdqh Pjnghbdtvmi. posted by Iridic (42 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Why no K, U or Z?
posted by Rock Steady at 10:26 AM on May 29, 2013


Why no K, U or Z?

Wait, read another book and all will appear.
posted by Dagobert at 10:28 AM on May 29, 2013


Why no K, U or Z?

Possibly due to the language the story was originally written in?
posted by FatherDagon at 10:29 AM on May 29, 2013


ETHHSVECNQBBLIHNTIOHBYJI,GN AHOLYBY.VRMPIEBY,FVXCGDPEQBATEIOOFNXLL
HY.M.IICPVYFTQ.QC MIE.XSVIEP.HD.SQRXV,OSCSD!
posted by crazy_yeti at 10:33 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Google Chrome's auto-translate is identifying all the pages as Galician. There's a post-postmodern story about that for the next generation's Borges to write.

It's a bit strange that "because of the nature of books of the Library of Babel, only recent digitalizations are available on line". Surely he's not actually storing the generated text? This library would make a fun little demo project for Nginx+Lua.
posted by Nelson at 10:36 AM on May 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


The number of digitized books so far, about 27,000, is such a small fraction of the size of the Library of Babel, that it can be approximated to 0%.

Since they have completed 0%, they have done nothing at all.
posted by vacapinta at 10:37 AM on May 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


On the incompleteness of the Library of Babel.

The number of digitized books so far, about 27,000, is such a small fraction of the size of the Library of Babel, that it can be approximated to 0%.

Specifically, there are 25**1312000 books in the library.

This is a very large number.
posted by kenko at 10:44 AM on May 29, 2013


Google Chrome's auto-translate is identifying all the pages as Galician.

The translations it provides are extremely helpful!
posted by shakespeherian at 10:44 AM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's funny that they all happen to be ROT-13ed spoilers for the new season of Arrested Development.
posted by painquale at 10:48 AM on May 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


Google Chrome's auto-translate is identifying all the pages as Galician.
I'm seeing Maltese.
posted by crazy_yeti at 10:49 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, at least we don't have to do all that walking! The stairs to level MCCLVII were getting a little dicey!
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:51 AM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Google translate changes exactly nothing, which makes it the best translation in the history of the world.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:53 AM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


No search result for "CATHETER"."
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:54 AM on May 29, 2013


On three tries I got Azerbaijani, English, and Maltese.
posted by madcaptenor at 10:56 AM on May 29, 2013


AXAXAXAS MLO
posted by Segundus at 10:56 AM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was pretty excited about this at first. I was planning on using these "free" books as textbooks for an online class at my school. After a little searching, I found a copy of The Old Man and the Sea, but on closer inspection I found it differs from the canonical text by one character about halfway through.

Fucking useless.
posted by etc. at 11:00 AM on May 29, 2013 [15 favorites]


How long will it take until there's a book written in English?
posted by sdis at 11:06 AM on May 29, 2013


Pity they haven't been able to upload Don Quixote. Pierre Menard's grandson √Čtienne is the executor of his estate, and he's a real prick about the rights.
posted by Iridic at 11:08 AM on May 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


Specifically, there are 25**1312000 books in the library.

You mean there are that many unique books. The actual number of books is infinite unless you postulate that in remote places the corridors and stairways and hexagons can conceivably come to an end--which is absurd.

The Library is unlimited and cyclical.
posted by straight at 11:10 AM on May 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was clicking through randomly and finally found a title I could read - 'The Crimson Hexagon' - but before I could finish printing it out, some crazy dudes in pulped tatters burst in and ran off with it.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:11 AM on May 29, 2013


How long will it take until there's a book written in English?

A few fractions of infinity. While you're waiting, you can click any of the [analyze text] links on the main page to see the vaguely sensible words in a given book.
posted by Iridic at 11:13 AM on May 29, 2013


If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of the math that Borges' story implies, there is The Unimaginable Mathematics of Borges' Library of Babel. It's very accessible, and the author owes me some money, so I think you should buy it.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:18 AM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Dgqqjv Iqfold xpx Ljg vjd Vapdophr

The tragic part is that this volume is an index of the entire library, written in a language no one knows.

Vmcyogxmvyrnle Lgjmyqsh Hfmni Lyvvdahec Bajvp Hlibiov lists, in that same language, all of the errors found in Dgqqjv Iqfold xpx Ljg vjd Vapdophr, and Rtvcdg Lxcxahssds Qgflvab mge Bjbpd Orrq is simultaneously a translation of Dgqqjv Iqfold xpx Ljg vjd Vapdophr into a second unknown language and a refutation of Vmcyogxmvyrnle Lgjmyqsh Hfmni Lyvvdahec Bajvp Hlibiov in a third unknown language.
posted by straight at 11:18 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


You mean there are that many unique books. The actual number of books is infinite unless you postulate that in remote places the corridors and stairways and hexagons can conceivably come to an end--which is absurd.

The library is said to be cyclical, so it's possible that there are, in fact, exactly that many books; also, the story only says that the number of hexagons is "indeterminate and perhaps infinite"—but there's no reason, really, to think that the number isn't quite determinate. How would its indeterminacy or infinitude have been established?
posted by kenko at 11:45 AM on May 29, 2013


Surely he's not actually storing the generated text?

If ever there was a case for procedurally generated content it's this.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:49 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not all these pages have the full number of characters; the real Library's volumes have an identical count on each page. For the record.
posted by Balok at 11:51 AM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anyone with a serious interest in the story might want to take a look at The Unimaginable Mathematics of Borges' Library of Babel by William Goldbloom Bloch. (I copyedited it, so if you find any egregious errors you know who to lambast.)
posted by languagehat at 12:16 PM on May 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


The actual number of books is infinite unless you postulate that in remote places the corridors and stairways and hexagons can conceivably come to an end--which is absurd.

The Library is unlimited and cyclical.


Not true: Borges' story stipulates in para 7: In the vast Library there are no two identical books.
posted by unSane at 12:18 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Read the last couple paragraphs, unSane (and kenko).
posted by straight at 12:31 PM on May 29, 2013


madcaptenor: On three tries I got Azerbaijani, English, and Maltese.
Ironically, that's absolutely correct... for a large number of possible first, second, and third tries.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:55 PM on May 29, 2013


Iridic: How long will it take until there's a book written in English?

A few fractions of infinity. While you're waiting, you can click any of the [analyze text] links on the main page to see the vaguely sensible words in a given book.
No, a finite number, however large, divided by another finite number is necessarily finite. And an infinity divided by a finite number is necessarily infinite.

The proof is here in one of these volumes...
posted by IAmBroom at 12:59 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


how does he feed all the monkeys
posted by Sebmojo at 2:06 PM on May 29, 2013


Don't have the attention span for the Library of Babel. I just subscribe to the Tweets of Babel.
posted by zompist at 2:08 PM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sadly the library books are not indexed by Google. How am I supposed to find the right one?
posted by miyabo at 2:15 PM on May 29, 2013


Surely he's not actually storing the generated text?

What? All of those books, lost to the ether? It's a goddamn tragedy.

/starts saving to text each and every file, begins construction of first hexagon.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:28 PM on May 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Borges is perfect.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:22 PM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a bit strange that "because of the nature of books of the Library of Babel, only recent digitalizations are available on line". Surely he's not actually storing the generated text? This library would make a fun little demo project for Nginx+Lua

How would you form a URL to a book, then? By the pigeonhole principle the URL would have to be roughly as large as the book's text.

I suppose you could pre-select a measly 2^128 books or so out of the library and use the URL as the seed for a PRNG. A curated Library of Babel.
posted by hattifattener at 6:27 PM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Every library is a curated Library of Babel.
posted by painquale at 7:09 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Touché.
posted by hattifattener at 7:10 PM on May 29, 2013


Borgjs is. prfect
posted by codswallop at 7:39 PM on May 29, 2013


Borges is perfect.

Some Borges is, was, or will be perfect. Maybe not this Borges, or the next one, and possibly not the last one. However, some Borges, hiding in some labyrinth, somewhere, is perfect.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:58 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ghidorah: Borges is perfect.

Some Borges is, was, or will be perfect. Maybe not this Borges, or the next one, and possibly not the last one. However, some Borges, hiding in some labyrinth, somewhere, is perfect.
Schroedinger, is that you? I found your cat.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:18 AM on May 30, 2013


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