A brief story of the information age, 20th and 21st Century - Alex Wright @ ECCIA

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20 euros / day

Alex Wright was one of (re)discoverers of Paul Otlet and the Mundaneum. He devoted several books and articles to the subject, such as “Cataloging the world: Paul Otlet and the birth of the information age.” During the European CCI Academy organised by Technocité (Mons), he will visit the Mundaneum once more for a talk followed by a workshop on the history of the Internet.

Alex Wright, UX Director of User Experience and Product Research at Etsy (formerly at the New York Times), is one of the largest specialists in the new history of information processing that began a century ago. If the history of technology teaches us anything, it is that the best technology does not always win. Today, the World Wide Web has become the dominant platform for transmitting knowledge across the globe. But in the years leading up to Tim Berners-Lee's world-changing invention, several pioneering information scientists were exploring a wide range of other concepts that resembled - and in some ways surpassed - the Web as we know it today. What lessons can we learn from these alternative technological visions?

Talk 10.00-12.00

In this presentation, Wright will explore the heritage of these almost-forgotten systems in search of promising ideas left by the historical wayside, focusing on the pioneering work of Paul Otlet, Vannevar Bush, and Doug Engelbart; forebears of the 1960s and 1970s like Ted Nelson, Andries van Dam, and the Xerox PARC team, and more recent forays such as Brown's Intermedia system. He will trace the heritage of these systems and the solutions they suggest to current Web quandaries, in hopes of finding clues to the future in the recent technological past hidden by the historical wayside

Talk in English, simultaneous translation to French.

Workshop 13.30-17.30

  • How to work on the history of internet and information with the public who do not know any of these?
  • What resources (web, books) can be used?
  • What differences are there between the European vision of the Internet and the American one?
  • How to understand Paul Otlet’s significance as forefather of our current society?

Come with your questions to find answers in a peer-to-peer session with Alex.


Booking & info via European CCI Academy