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Robert Darnton and Nicholas Carr have opposing views on today’s “universal libraries” meeting the needs of our current society. Darnton argues that the Internet can provide a online library that is accessible to everyone. Carr believes that the online archives being designed are flawed with technical and legal issues and will therefore remain rudimentary. They both seem to agree with the basic notion that a universal online public library can eliminate access restrictions and make more information available that is not possible with standard public library. Anyone with access to the internet or a smartphone the ability to examine millions of books and documents, in an exact replica. The vision behind an online digital library are the endless possibilities that look past geography and the ability to make information available for all wealth brackets. Carr debates that the legal, commercial, and political issues within the publishing industry are the only major problems with constructing a universal library. Darnton suggests that the Internet can provide a democratic medium of information, available to all. Both authors agree with the vision of a universal online public library but do not offer any viable solutions or alternatives to the problems that current archives are facing, such as Google Books and the Digital Public Library of America. The universal library cannot prevail due to copyright and access restrictions. Darnton advocates Google’s attempt to create a free online database. The company digitized hundreds of texts, which resulted in a monstrous copyright infringement lawsuit against Google. Carr believes this case set a legal precedent that could affect the legality of a digital library for years to come. Instead of... ... middle of paper ... ...ility and access to use a computer to access and understand knowledge. Neither Darnton or Carr answer the question of how the universal public library can be carried out beyond the realms of the internet. To create a free universal library, the creation of an online database is not enough to ensure unlimited knowledge to the masses. Darnton and Carr believe that copyright restrictions are the biggest obstacle in the way of the online database. Though copyright laws need to change for the universal library to prevail, there are many factors in place. To be democratic, there has to be free, open access to knowledge all over the world. One must look beyond Darnton and Carr’s arguments to understand what is the true meaning of a democratic, free universal public library. Is it possible to create it to bridge the wealth gap and go beyond an archive for the privileged?

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