Cataloging the world: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age

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Brussels - Google offices
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The Mundaneum is honored to invite you to the lecture « Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age » by Brooklyn-based author Alex Wright. A professor of interaction design and contributor to The New York Times, he wrote the third biography to date of the co-founder of the Mundaneum. He replaces Otlet’s visionary ideas on the timeline of the pioneers of information management.

“Otlet's life achievement was the construction of the Mundaneum – a mechanical collective brain that would house and disseminate everything ever committed to paper,” Cataloging The World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age, Oxford University Press, June 2014 (back cover).

Some of Alex Wright’s previous writing:
Glut: Mastering Information through the Ages, National Academies Press, July 2007
“The Web Time Forgot,” The New York Times, June 2008

Introduction by Professor Emeritus Boyd Rayward (University of Illinois, USA – University of New South Wales, Australia), biographer of Paul Otlet.

! Booking is requested

“Wright’s book revisits Otlet’s story in the light of the ‘data deluge,’ which started in the late nineteenth century and continues to this day. He argues that Otlet discovered a way of thinking about information and its organization that ‘opened the door to an alternative stream of thought, one undergirding our present-day information age.’”
 “Books to watch out for: June,” The New Yorker

“According to a new book, titled Cataloging the World, a little-known Belgian entrepreneur named Paul Otlet envisioned a world wide web well before the computer (and the actual World Wide Web) was invented.”
This Man Imagined the Internet in 1895,” The Huffington Post

“Wright makes a persuasive case that Otlet – a largely forgotten figure today – deserves to be ranked among the inventors of the internet.”
Philip Ball, “Forgotten Prophet of the Internet,” Nature

Read our Storify on the worldwide acclaim of Alex Wright’s book
Discover the online lecture The Platonic Network by Alex Wright for the Google Cultural Institute "Art Talks"
Read the invitation


In partnership with Google, Universiteit Gent, Le Vif l’Express, Belspo and AWT



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