When it comes to information technology, you know all the big names—Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, Melvil Dewey. But what about Paul Otlet, the librarian who created a mechanical collective brain called the Mundaneum that would house and disseminate everything ever commited to paper? This “steampunk version of hypertext” was Otlet’s greatest vision, but its conception, and the man himself, often go overlooked.
Out now from Oxford University Press, Cataloging the World attempts to give Otlet his due. Author Alex Wright shows that the years since Otlet’s death have proven that his predictions about the possibilities, and perils, of networked information were right all along.
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