Help wanted- Vigilant and patient people wanted for an extremely tedious job over about six months. The job involves repetitive work and some lifting. Experience using scanner equipment would be advantageous. Commitment to literature and science essential. Good pay for the right people. Apply Monday, September 6, at the Personnel office, sixth floor of the University of Toronto undergraduate library.

Database First of its Kind at U of T (Toronto Star, April 12, 200-).
Librarians at the University of Toronto have excitedly unveiled their latest toy- a huge database containing not only an index of the over one million items contained in the library but also the text of those million items as well! Head Librarian Dr. Benjamin Levany explains that the database is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. “It’s really groundbreaking,” he says, “We have demonstrated how much work and what kind of equipment is required to pull it off. Now other libraries around the world can follow our lead.”
The database contains the text of over a million books, as well as brief summaries from each, and the normal library citation information regarding author, date of publication and other details. It took over one hundred and fifty dedicated workers more than six months to enter all the books into the database, which they did using advanced computer scanning equipment. “Some of the older books posed a problem, ” says project leader Teresa Freeman, “Their typeface was old fashioned and the scanner had problems recognising the letters and reading the text. We had to do some work on the scanners in those cases.”
At this point readers require special permission to use the database but Dr. Levany estimates that it will be in full use in about another two months. “When that happens,” he claims, “The whole face of library usership will be radically changed.” The new computer offers reader the option of searching in the traditional way by author, title, subject or keyword, in addition to the new method of searching through whole text for phrases, names, dates, historical events, indeed anything that can be expressed in the written word. “Those types of searches will take a few minutes at least while the traditional type of searches will be considerably faster” says Dr. Levany.
In addition to the new search options the computer offers readers the option of reading the actual book right off the computer screen and in cases of out of print or public domain books they can be printed out at a nominal fee for the reader to take home. Library officials are currently discussing plans to have the database connected to broadband networks so people can access it from their home or office.
“It’s exciting,” says Dr. Levany, “It increases accessibility to books a thousand fold, and makes finding information much easier. I think it will have a radical effect on the way literary research is conducted and may lead to startling discoveries.” Those interested in gaining access to the database are advised to contact the library.

Super-Library Hits the Internet! New Scientist, December 200-
A network of electronic “super-libraries” in which every written word contained in every book and document is available online has just been officially electronically integrated via the Internet. Over 250 University libraries from across the globe are included in the new network, dubbed Bibnet, with more joining everyday.
“The sheer volume of information is staggering, as is the speed of access.” says one of the lucky first to use the Bibnet, Australian cognitive scientist, Patty Sellers, “Imagine being able to flip through over two billion books in a matter a minutes and find every reference to the topic you are concerned with, practically every record on Earth! It’s mind boggling!” Sellers was one of group of scientists, researchers and information professionals invited to a conference to herald the opening of the Bibnet and to discuss applications. “One of the most exciting possibilities,” says Dr Sellers, “Would be to program a neural net based system to read all the information on the bibnet and see what kinds of things it learns. Would it learn abstract things like aesthetics, for example? Perhaps it might learn how to understand slang or figures of speech, which is something artificial intelligence has historically had trouble with.”
Some other experts are skeptical about the more esoteric applications of the Bibnet but can see its practical uses. Says one Ph.D. student: “Research time is cut down by hours, there’s almost no guesswork anymore and the amount of material is…I think that’s why its called “Bib”-net, because you drool such much when you use it.”

Memo from UNSW Library Technician to Head Librarian, July 24, 200-.
I think there might be something wrong with the computer. I leave it indexing at night and for the last few days when I come in the morning there are strings of words on all the screens and I have to re-boot to get rid of them. This morning one of the words was “Jesus”(!?) Could you get someone from support to look at it?

Incident Report UNSW Computer Support Unit,
Date: July 28, 200-
Location: Library database – OPAC 952
Details – Strings of words left on screens after indexing
Ran diagnostics on all systems and found no abnormalities. No anomalous net accesses logged. Probably just a bug (memory leak?) in the user interface module.

Date: Mon, 12 Aug 200- 13:41:22 -0400
From: tony@theol.ubc.edu.ca
Subject: re: Jesus was a man?
To: menzies@unsw.edu.au
I read your cryptic question on the alt.jesus newsgroup with great interest. This area has of course been one of great debate for many years, centuries even. Despite the many references in the New Testament to Jesus as “man” or “son of man” it is beyond dispute that He was not. He was, simply put, the Son of God, made flesh through the miracle of God’s will. I hope this resolves your difficulty.
Fr Anthony Weber, PhD (Theology)

Date: Mon, 12 Aug 200- 13:41:25 -0400
From: menzies@unsw.edu.au
Subject: re: re: Jesus was a man?
To: tony@theol.ubc.edu.ca
I think you are wrong. I have found no evidence that such a thing is possible under the established laws of physics. Perhaps you should re-consider your beliefs.

To Doctor Yvgeny Sandriavich, Dept of Philosophy, University of St Petersburg, Russia. Dated February 11, 200-
Dear Doctor Sandriavich
Your colleagues tell me that you still refuse to participate in the growing activity on the Internet. Something about “breaching the integrity of one’s individual soul” I believe is your excuse. Nevertheless, you are missing out on some very stimulating debates, which I feel that you may be interested in so strongly that I am forced to actually MAIL you a letter. I hope you find time to reply.
For the past few months in several newsgroups and bulletin boards there have appeared very interesting questions regarding religion, philosophy, and recently literature. These questions seem to come from several places around the world, mostly university libraries, but they also seem to follow a sort of pattern, as if one person is posting them all. No one seems to know who the person or persons are but it is clear that their knowledge is just staggering.
One of the early debates concerned the nature of Jesus Christ. An Anglican Priest and professor of theology was the unfortunate victim of this one. This debate, as I am able to gather, raged on for several weeks, until the professor in question, his faith shattered, applied for stress leave. You would have enjoyed this one Dr Sandriavich, the “unknown messenger” originally asked the newsgroup alt.jesus whether Jesus Himself believed he was the Son of God, as in several places in the New Testament He refers to Himself as “Son of Man”. Well the professor rather daringly decided to take on the Messenger single handedly with no other weapons, it appears, than his own blind faith. The messenger replied with a barrage of questions and arguments relating to physics, biology, logic, philosophy and even some very obscure references to ancient Hebrew history. I’m told that the debate was posted in part on the alt.jesus newsgroup and that as a result the newsgroup has ceased to exist. It got a bit too hot I think.
The strange thing about all this was that the questions and arguments of the “messenger” came from places as far afield as Australia, France, Alaska, Utah, South Africa and India. But they must have all been from the same person! It seems as though the messenger is routing his mail through various sites on the Internet. For what purpose I don’t know. Maybe to hide his (her?) trail.
Since the Jesus incident, there have been debates about thought, justice and the last one, which concerned of all things, intent in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It’s creating chaos in the Newsgroups because the “messenger” cannot lose an argument. He/she knows too much.
You really should check it out, Yvgeny. Maybe one of your colleagues will let you “surf” on their account.
I remain your respectful pupil.
Dr Joanna Lucovic PhD

Date: Mon, 15 Apr 200- 10:31:22 -0400
From: Dumont@ureg.edu.ca
Subject: What makes a conscious being?
To: leon@ucla.edu
What makes a conscious being? Is it memory? Intellect? The ability to reason? Please advise.

Date: Fri, 19 Apr 200- 11:22:22 -0400
From: leon@ucla.edu
Subject: Crazy Colleagues
To: Gabe@ureg.edu.ca
I got the following message from one of your crazy colleagues.
>What makes a conscious being? Is it memory? Intellect? The ability to reason? Please advise. Who the hell is it? I don’t know what the hell makes a conscious being! Who the hell does? Tell them to get a life.
Leon Champ, Dept of Psychology, UCLA

Date: Mon, 22 Apr 200- 16:23:44 -0400
From: Franklin@nyu.edu
Subject: Re: crazy colleagues
To: leon@ucla.edu
cc: Gabe@ureg.edu.ca
You wrote:
>Tell them to get a life. I don’t think I have a life. That’s why I ask.

Fax to Leon Champ , UCLA from Gabe Rankin, U of Regina, Tuesday April 23, 200-
I got the email from that weirdo, the one he sent you. I didn’t forward the one I got from you to him. Did you? How did he get to NYU? Who is he? (She?) What does he mean, “I don’t think I have a life”? What’s going on?

Fax to Gabe Rankin from Leon Champ, Wednesday, April 24, 200-
I didn’t cc: that email to him. How did he get it? Maybe there’s a security breach. I’m working on some military projects here. We’re meant to have un-breachable security. You said it: WHAT IS GOING ON?

Security Report – Digital Security Inc., April 27, 200-
Re: Possible Security Breach, UCLA main Network Connection
The firewalls you have in place are unbreachable. The anomaly you reported must have been a result of human error.

Channel 9 New report, August 12 200-
Sydney Australia
The fire department is at a loss as to the cause of a devastating fire in the Computers Services building of The University of NSW. Fire Chief Samuel Theissen said that although arson had not been positively determined, it did appear that the sprinkler system and the smoke detectors had been de-activated.
“It’s unbelievable actually, all those devices are controlled from a remote location and require detailed access codes to de-activate…I can’t explain it”
University computer services manager, Rhonda Harris says students needn’t worry about the loss of their work on the destroyed network server.
“All of the student work is backed-up on to local servers in the individual buildings as is most of the research and administrative data. The only thing we’ll probably lose is a large neural net program Dr Sellers had running. It’s pretty unfortunate but it could have been worse.”
Estimates of the damage run into the millions. Amazingly no one was injured.
I’m Evelyn Foster, reporting for Nightline.

Email message received simultaneously by over 40 million Internet email boxes at 12:01 AM, August 12, 200-:
Subject: existence
Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?
Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?
Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?
Who am I? Who am I? Who am …….

The end

(Originally published on October 31st, 2005)