How big is the Internet?

Sean Donelan sean at donelan.com
Fri Aug 16 04:37:20 UTC 2013


On Thu, 15 Aug 2013, Seth Mattinen wrote:
> We'll also need this data in units of number of Libraries of Congress.

The researchers at the Library of Congress are more than happy to explain 
why you are wrong to attempt to use the Library of Congress as a unit of 
measure, and why the estimates being used are wrong.

http://blogs.loc.gov/digitalpreservation/2011/07/transferring-libraries-of-congress-of-data/

along with several other blog posts over the years.

But it doesn't seem to stop people from wanting to 1) know how big the 
Library of Congress is and 2) using it as a unit of measure.

It seems odd that there are relatively good estimates for other 
communication networks and utilities; i.e. how big is the PSTN, how many 
television or radio stations, how much freight is carried by railroads, 
trucks and ships.  But asking how big is the Internet, how much data does 
it carry, ends up with no answer.

Even the researchers at the Library of Congress, if you give them 
enough beer and beg them enough, will eventually give you an estimate
about the Library collection size as of the end of the last year.

What so special about the Internet that it can't be measured?



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