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1Wright, A.: Cataloging the world : Paul Otlet and the birth of the information age.
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2014. 360 S.
Abstract: In 1934, a Belgian entrepreneur named Paul Otlet sketched out plans for a worldwide network of computers-or "electric telescopes," as he called them - that would allow people anywhere in the world to search and browse through millions of books, newspapers, photographs, films and sound recordings, all linked together in what he termed a reseau mondial: a "worldwide web." Today, Otlet and his visionary proto-Internet have been all but forgotten, thanks to a series of historical misfortunes - not least of which involved the Nazis marching into Brussels and destroying most of his life's work. In the years since Otlet's death, however, the world has witnessed the emergence of a global network that has proved him right about the possibilities - and the perils - of networked information. In Cataloging the World, Alex Wright brings to light the forgotten genius of Paul Otlet, an introverted librarian who harbored a bookworm's dream to organize all the world's information. Recognizing the limitations of traditional libraries and archives, Otlet began to imagine a radically new way of organizing information, and undertook his life's great work: a universal bibliography of all the world's published knowledge that ultimately totaled more than 12 million individual entries. That effort eventually evolved into the Mundaneum, a vast "city of knowledge" that opened its doors to the public in 1921 to widespread attention. Like many ambitious dreams, however, Otlet's eventually faltered, a victim to technological constraints and political upheaval in Europe on the eve of World War II. Wright tells not just the story of a failed entrepreneur, but the story of a powerful idea - the dream of universal knowledge - that has captivated humankind since before the great Library at Alexandria. Cataloging the World explores this story through the prism of today's digital age, considering the intellectual challenge and tantalizing vision of Otlet's digital universe that in some ways seems far more sophisticated than the Web as we know it today. ; The dream of universal knowledge hardly started with the digital age. From the archives of Sumeria to the Library of Alexandria, humanity has long wrestled with information overload and management of intellectual output. Revived during the Renaissance and picking up pace in the Enlightenment, the dream grew and by the late nineteenth century was embraced by a number of visionaries who felt that at long last it was within their grasp. Among them, Paul Otlet stands out. A librarian by training, he worked at expanding the potential of the catalogue card -- the world's first information chip. From there followed universal libraries and reading rooms, connecting his native Belgium to the world -- by means of vast collections of cards that brought together everything that had ever been put to paper. Recognizing that the rapid acceleration of technology was transforming the world's intellectual landscape, Otlet devoted himself to creating a universal bibliography of all published knowledge. Ultimately totaling more than 12 million individual entries, it would evolve into the Mundaneum, a vast "city of knowledge" that opened its doors to the public in 1921. By 1934, Otlet had drawn up plans for 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 a réseau mondial: a worldwide web. It all seemed possible, almost until the moment when the Nazis marched into Brussels and carted it all away. In Cataloging the World, Alex Wright places Otlet in the long continuum of visionaries and pioneers who have dreamed of unifying the world's knowledge, from H.G. Wells and Melvil Dewey to Ted Nelson and Steve Jobs. And while history has passed Otlet by, Wright shows that his legacy persists in today's networked age, where Internet corporations like Google and Twitter play much the same role that Otlet envisioned for the Mundaneum -- as the gathering and distribution channels for the world's intellectual output. In this sense, Cataloging the World is more than just the story of a failed entrepreneur; it is an ongoing story of a powerful idea that has captivated humanity from time immemorial, and that continues to inspire many of us in today's digital age.
Inhalt: Introduction -- 1. The Libraries of Babel -- 2. The Dream of the Labyrinth -- 3. Belle Epoque -- 4. The Microphotic Book -- 5. The Index Museum -- 6. Castles in the Air -- 7. Hope, Lost and Found -- 8. Mundaneum -- 9. The Collective Brain -- 10. The Radiated Library -- 11. The Intergalactic Network -- 12. Entering the Steam -- Conclusion.
Themenfeld: Geschichte der Sacherschließung
LCSH: Otlet, Paul / 1868 / 1944 ; Mundaneum / History ; Bibliographers / Belgium / Biography ; Universal bibliography ; Documentation ; Classification / Books ; Information organization / History ; World Wide Web / History
RSWK: Otlet, Paul / Biographie ; Informations- und Dokumentationswissenschaft / Klassifikation / Katalogisierung / Geschichte 1900-1950
BK: 06.01 Geschichte des Informations- und Dokumentationswesens
RVK: AN 93200
2Acker, W. van: Architectural metaphors of knowledge : the Mundaneum designs of Maurice Heymans, Paul Otlet, and Le Corbusier.
In: Library trends. 61(2012) no.2, S.371-396.
Abstract: The author discusses the architectural plans of the Mundaneum made in the 1930s by the Belgian modernist architect Maurice Heymans in the footsteps of Le Corbusier and in collaboration with Paul Otlet. The Mundaneum was the utopian concept of a world center for the accumulation, organization, and dissemination of knowledge, invented by the visionary encyclopedist and internationalist Paul Otlet. In Heymans's architecture, a complex architectural metaphor is created for the Mundaneum, conveying its hidden meaning as a center of initiation into synthesized knowledge. In particular, this article deconstructs the metaphorical architectural complex designed by Heymans and focuses on how the architectural spaces as designed by Heymans are structured in analogy to schemes for the organization of knowledge made by Otlet. In three different designs of the Mundaneum, the analogy is studied between, on the one hand, the architectural structure (designed by Heymans) and, on the other hand, the structure of the cosmology, the book Monde, and the vision of knowledge dissemination as invented by Otlet. The article argues that the analogies between the organization of architectural space and knowledge, as expressed in the drawings of Heymans and Otlet, are elaborated by means of a mode of visual thinking that is parallel to and rooted in the art of memory and utopian imagination.
Inhalt: Beitrag in einem Themenheft: 'Information and Space: Analogies and Metaphors'.
Anmerkung: Vgl.: 10.1353/lib.2012.0036.
Themenfeld: Geschichte der Sacherschließung