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Exit ArchiveArchive for June 17th, 2008
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An article on The New York Times‘ site tells of a Belgian named Paul Otlet who, back in the ’30s, conceived of a network of “electric telescopes” that would allow people to connect, browse vast libraries of information, collaborate, join social networks, and other very modern-sounding stuff.

Otlet’s ideas were too vast to be realized in his own time, and the Nazis, of course, destroyed a lot of his work, but much of what he was thinking is present in our current Internet. The article says that Otlet would most likely have been overwhelmed at the Internet’s lack of organization and its “dumbness.” But you have to imagine he would be pleased as all get-out were he to watch me post this tidbit that anyone with the right device would be able to read, leading them to the original article about his ideas outlining this all over 80 years ago.