Coolest Unit of Measurement EVER: The LOC

Posted on 8th October 2008 by Ryan Somma in Geeking Out

To quote the textbook Information Science by David G. Luenberger, on the units of measurement for information:

A popular unit is the LOC, representing 20 terabytes, which is roughly the contents of the U.S. Library of Congress when converted to digital form. (Emphasis mine)

That’s right, America has a Library so #$%&ing grandios that Information Scientists refer to it as a unit of measurment!!! Take that rest of the world!


One Library of Congress = 20 Terabytes

One Library of Congress = 20 Terabytes
Credit: Me
(CC Licsenced, please reuse and redistribute)

And, as keepers of the greatest library on Earth, we must accept great responsibility and learn from the past:

History is full of people who out of fear, or ignorance, or lust for power have destroyed knowledge of immeasurable value which truly belongs to us all. We must not let it happen again.
– Carl Sagan, referring to the Library of Alexandria (formerly greatest library on Earth

Note: I’ve previously written about conceptualizing megabytes, terabytes, pentabytes, etc, and in my free CC-license book The Spiraling Web, characters share bootleg copies of the LOC online. (Did I mention this book is free (as in beer) and free (as in creative commons)?)


  1. Hmm… I’ll have to remember that one next time I’m playing Scattergories and the letter “L” comes up.

    It could be some time. I think I’ve been waiting about 15 years to work in “Cook’s Clean Center” for triple points.

    Comment by Vicky — October 9, 2008 @ 8:20 pm

  2. […] With all that knowledge just on its walls, it is no wonder the Library of Congress inspired a unit of measurement for information. […]

    Pingback by Need Nature Quotes? « TGAW — December 4, 2008 @ 9:02 am

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