Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Digital Beethoven

When I moved here, the first items I hauled over were the books. Then I put them on top of an old coffee table in the garage temporarily. Last week, the coffee table gave in to the weight of the books and collapsed. I had to move them again. Every time I have to deal with those old books I'm always surprised by how many of them I have yet to read.

A lot of the books I bought were for research purpose during the "dark age" of pre-Internet days. I was just looking at three perfectly fine volumes on Ludwig van Beethoven which I purchased when I was working on a film script about him. Today, by typing "Beethoven" in Google's query box, the avalanche of information on the old Ludwig van will overwhelm even the most insatiably curious person.

In this "Age of Google", a scholar of music history is perhaps confronted with a hard question -- should he pen another book-length essay on Beethoven now that virtually every bit of information about the German composer, be it biographical or critical, resides somewhere in a server?

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