One of the discussion points surrounding the mass digitization initiatives has been the prospect of services built over the full-text, which go beyond search.
Gregory Crane provided some intriguing thoughts from a digital library research and scholarly perspective in a recent D-Lib Magazine article: What do you do with a million books? He gives an example of how one can relate different works through analysis of their content, and while noting that this is in early stages of development, suggests that : “… the ability to decompose information into smaller, reusable chunks, to learn autonomously from a changing environment, and to accept explicit structured feedback from many human users in real time are fundamental characteristics that separate digital from print.”
Here is Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon.com:
Amazon continuously innovates the way it interacts with its customers, trying to deliver a better customer experience. From the beginning that has meant engaging our customers to participate in ways that was not as common as it is now. Whether it is about discovering products that you may be interested in or about being as informed as possible about choices, about expressing your opinions or providing relationships, there is always a continuous stream of innovations happening at Amazon to improve the ways that customers can get value out of our services. In many ways this is still day-one; Search-Inside-The-Book is not an endpoint, it is a beginning. For example we now use book content analysis to provide relationships (sips, stats, citations, etc.) between books that was not possible before. And the possibilities to do more are endless. [All Things Distributed]
Crane uses one of my favorite words: recombinant. Again, all that is solid melts into recombinant pieces.