The Information Big Bang

The growth of information is mind numbing even to information professionals. Last year, in 2002 alone, the size of new information in print, film, magnetic, and optical storage media amounted to about 5 exabytes OR the equivalent of the information contained in half a million new libraries the size of the Library of Congress print collections OR the equivalent of all words ever spoken by human beings.

This is the conclusion of the faculty and students at at the School of Information Management and Systems at the University of California at Berkeley in How much information 2003?, a fascinating report released on October 27, 2003.

The study attempts to estimate how much new information is created each year. New stored information has grown about 30% a year between 1999 and 2002.

Only a small portion of the total is published to the web with the telephone and email accounting for much larger information flows. The surface web (fixed web pages) is about 167 terabytes in size or about 17 Library of Congress print collections. That's a phenomonal amount of information, but your favorite search engine only scratches the surface of available information. BrightPlantet estimates that the deep web (the database driven websites that create web pages on demand) is 400 to 450 times larger or between 66,800 and 91,850 terabytes.

As of June 23, 2003, Phil Wolff of estimates that there are 2.4 to 2.9 million active web logs. Lest the heads of you bloggers swell too much, the size of this "active blogosphere" is only about 81 GB or the amount that you might fit on your personal computer's hard drive.

Read the: 2003 study | 2000 study

Posted by Ray Matthews on October 30, 2003 at 12:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | Send this story to a friend!