The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #153894   Message #3608176
Posted By: JohnInKansas
08-Mar-14 - 12:01 AM
Thread Name: Tech: Are CDs becoming obsolete?
Subject: RE: Tech: Are CDs becoming obsolete?
While the latest proposal to print "All of the English Version of Wikipedia" is an obvious exercise in futility, out of curiosity I took a look at whether issuing the "books" on CD would be more useful.

Since Wiki is edited "in real time" the first volume obviously will be out of date by the time the second gets printed, but estimates are that it will take only "about 1,000 books, each having about 1,200 pages" to capture a snapshot of the site at some point in time.

A quick look at books I've scanned to PDF (assumed to be a useful format) indicates that for PDFs at "printing quality" a CD can hold about 800 8x10 pages, so a 1,200 page book will take about 1.5 CDs. A significant reduction in bit-counts could be achieved by saving at "web resolution," but that significantly limits the uses that could be made for the books.

Section/Chapter/topic breaks in a typical book add lots of "separator" pages, blank or partially blank, but just based on squeezing 800 full pages onto each CD the project would take about 1,500 CDs.

(Joe will need more shelves?)

Using DVDs instead of CDs reduces the rough estimate to "only" about 215 DVDs (based solely on page count). I have had a few more CDs than that in jewel boxes in a fairly small 8-drawer file cabinet I "made to fit" the jewel box size, and DVDs are the same physical size.

Or the whole thing might be barely squeezed onto one 1TB HD, but certainly should fit on a single 2TB drive.

Some additional information is at Printing All of Wikipedia in 1,000 Books? It's Not A Joke for anyone who wants to make a more accurate estimate. The "sponsors" of the project are hoping to raise a paltry $50,000 for the printing, and the article suggests how you may donate to the cause.

A remaining problem is what they intend to do with the books once they've been printed. The proposal is to donate them to a large established library, but nobody knows whether any existing library has space for another 1,000 books - in an obsolete (not exactly a significant "first printing") edition of something still in publication.