Pursue your dream--and never accept a proven solution! This is ... Paul Otlet
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Pursue your dream--and never accept a proven solution! This is ... Paul Otlet

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Paul Otlet—pronounced /ɒtˈleɪ/—is one of several people who has been considered the father of Information modern Science; a field he himself called ‘documentation.’

Paul Otlet—pronounced /ɒtˈleɪ/—is one of several people who has been considered the father of Information modern Science; a field he himself called ‘documentation.’

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Pursue your dream--and never accept a proven solution! This is ... Paul Otlet Pursue your dream--and never accept a proven solution! This is ... Paul Otlet Presentation Transcript

  • This is
  • Paul Otlet Image credit: flickr.com/marcwathieu/4421630189
  • collectHe wanted to and organize Image copyright: Unknown
  • World’s theKnowledge
  • Formally stated: “Paul Otlet—pronounced /ɒtˈleɪ/—is one ofseveral people who has been considered the father of InformationmodernSciencea field he himself called documentation.” This and the following citations: wikipedia.org
  • So what?
  • Born on August 23,1868 inBrussels, Belgium, as the oldest child to Image credit: flickr.com/george_eastman_house/4420695962 Disclaimer: This is not Paul Otlet!
  • a wealthy businessman who made his fortune sellingTramsaround the world Image credit: flickr.com/statelibraryofnsw/2964804829
  • His mother died atage 24 when Otlet was three
  • His father kept him out of school, he had—as a child—few friends, and he soon developed a love of reading and Image credit: flickr.com/cornelluniversitylibrary/3610752603
  • Books Image credit: flickr.com/benchilada/2466968689
  • Books—the accepted and proven storage medium for the World’s Knowledge Image credit: flickr.com/candiedwomanire/1651870
  • in 1892
  • An accepted solution.But really an adequatestorage medium?
  • Think about it!
  • How could you possibly find a book you needed?
  • There are a few physical instances of the book
  • in libraries
  • somewhere onthis planet Image credit: flickr.com/gadl/3907891398
  • To complicate thingsfurther
  • “Books are an inadequate way to store information, because the arrangement of facts contained within them is an arbitrary decision on the part of the authors, making individual facts difficult to locate” Image credit: flickr.com/horiavarlan/4263326117
  • “A better storage system”, Otlet wrote in his first essay in 1892,“would be cards containing individual ‘chunks’ of information” Image credit: flickr.com/deano/2865863332
  • Those chunks wouldallow “all themanipulations ofclassification andcontinuousinterfiling”
  • Inter-what?
  • interfiling Image credit: flickr.com/amattox/3207213522
  • A Web
  • Cut.
  • Already in1891, Otlet had met Henri La Fontaine Image credit: flickr.com/peacepalacelibrary/3095591442
  • He quit his job as alawyer and the twomen founded theUniversalBibliographicRepertory— Image credit: Unknown Disclaimer: This was not Paul’s and Henri’s garage!
  • a collection of index cards that, by the end of 1895, had grown to 400,000 entries; later it would reach a height of over 15 million
  • With capital from the Belgium Society of Social and Political Sciences, a fee-based search service, and LaFontaine’s Nobel Peace Price winnings, the startup endured until it hit the ceiling of World War I Image credit: flickr.com/nlscotland/3011962527
  • After 1919, the two menrestarted, relaunched, and rebranded the Repertory World twice as the Palace and theMundaneum,continuing on government funding, hiring staff, accumulating 15 million index cards, drowning in paper, of course
  • experimentingwith new mediaas well Image credit: flickr.com/mburpee/2589663547
  • but being forced to close theshop when Belgiumgovernment cut off fundingin 1934—
  • World War II shutteredwhat was left.
  • Otlet died in 1944,fading into oblivion
  • long before Vannevar Bush, DouglasEngelbart, Ted Nelson, and Larry & Sergeywould enter the scene.
  • Sad story?
  • Well.Lessons to be learned:
  • 1
  • Quit your job as a lawyer!
  • 2
  • Pursue your dream!
  • 3
  • And never accept aproven solution.
  • Wanna read more? felgner.ch