Replacing Worldcat with a GitHub Repo
In October of 2020, the "Free-Programming-Books" repo on GitHub processed over 1,300 pull requests, expanding its coverage to over 3,770 free books, 1,254 free courses, and 822 other resources in a total of 35 spoken languages. The repo, managed by the Free Ebook Foundation, received contributions (additions, deletions, corrections and other improvements) from 338 individual around the world.
What would it take to use GitHub-style workflow for the maintenance of a larger database? Could we do something similar for all free ebooks (the openly-licensed-ebook-database behind Unglue.it will reach 100,000 volumes in 2021)? What are the limits to git-based crowd-sourced database maintenance? Can we foresee a day when the big library knowledgebases - like Worldcat with 500M records - are replaced by something like free-programming books?
In this talk, I introduce a few concepts that help us think about these questions, in an attempt to imagine the coming age of "git-cats".