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Cataloging the world: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age


At the turn of the 20th century, Paul Otlet and Henri la Fontaine started to dream of a different world: a world in which knowledge would be accessible to all as a path towards world peace. They created the Mundaneum in order to gather and disseminate knowledge.



In Cataloging the World, Alex Wright introduces us to a figure who stands out in the long line of thinkers and idealists who devoted themselves to the task. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, Paul Otlet, a librarian by training, worked at expanding the potential of the catalog card, the world’s first information chip. From there followed universal libraries and museums, connecting his native Belgium to the world by means of a vast intellectual enterprise that attempted to organize and code everything ever published. Forty years before the first personal computer and fifty years before the first browser, Otlet envisioned a network of “electric telescopes” that would allow people everywhere to search through books, newspapers, photographs, and recordings, all linked together in what he termed, in 1934, a réseau mondial–essentially, a worldwide web.

Details of the book:

Author: Alex Wright

Editor: Oxford University Press

Publication date : June 2014

Language: EN

Number of page: 360

Format: 21.08 x 3.05 x 14.48 cm

Poids0,480 kg


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