The Library of Babel

[Tlön] [The Library of HTML] [What?]
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Get the skinny on this Library, or just dive right in:

Make your decisions, if any:
book off
shelf of
bookshelf, and open it to page of 410.

Then enter the Library:

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So what's this Library of Babel?

This is a simulation of the Universe, which others call the Library, as described by the narrator of Borges' "La Biblioteca de Babel" ".

This universe is a limitless collection of hexagonal galleries, each of which contains bookshelves on four walls, having five shelves each of thirty-two books apiece. Each book has 410 pages of forty lines which are some eighty characters in length.

Each volume in the Library also displays characters on its spine, which bear no necessary relation to its contents.

What does this simulation allow me to do?

In its simplest form, to peruse the contents of a single hexagon, leafing through the pages of the various books to be found there. Your motives for so doing are your own. They may include your search for predictions of the future, insights into your own psyche, ornaughty limericks which haven't ever been heard by your hard-to-impress coworkers.

If you find something appropriate, I suggest you bookmark it. That bookmark will continue to work in the future (if I can help it).

What can't I do (yet)?

You cannot be certain that you won't find an identical copy of a book. If you do find such a duplicate, please let me know.

There is no reasonable way to wander into other hexagons -- only the particular randomly selected one you enter from this page. The only way currently is to alter the URL to include the right magical hexagon index.

There is much more to be said about this Library, and about the assumptions and limitations of the current simulation. Since a much better version of the appropriate discussion is already written down in the Library, though, I'll quit while I'm ahead.

Enjoy walking a mile in a Librarian's shoes. Or a thousand miles. Now, take the first step...

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Back to the Library.

Copyright © 1998 Todd O. Dampier, whom you might send e-mail.
Last modified: Sat Jul 3 21:09:47 PDT 1999