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Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age (Anglais) Relié – 10 juillet 2014

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

The index is excellent, of a quality rarely seen nowadays (Library & Information History, J.H. Bowman)

Meticulously researched. (Philip Ball, Nature)

A remarkable read in its entirety, not only in illuminating history but in extracting from it a beacon for the future. (Brain Pickings)

An excellent study of a Belgian, Paul Otlet, who in the late nineteenth century began 'a vast intellectual enterprise that attempted to organize and code everything ever published' ... Relevant of course to the origins of the web, Wikipedia, and current sites such as Vox.com. (Marginal Revolution)

a great introduction to Paul Otlet's life ... [Wright] provides a thorough overview of its historical context and how it relates to our Internet Age. (Nigel Watson, Magonia)

Présentation de l'éditeur

In 1934, a Belgian entrepreneur named Paul Otlet sketched out plans for a worldwide network of computers--or "electric telescopes," as he called them -- that would allow people anywhere in the world to search and browse through millions of books, newspapers, photographs, films and sound recordings, all linked together in what he termed a réseau mondial: a "worldwide web." Today, Otlet and his visionary proto-Internet have been all but forgotten, thanks to a series of historical misfortunes -- not least of which involved the Nazis marching into Brussels and destroying most of his life's work. In the years since Otlet's death, however, the world has witnessed the emergence of a global network that has proved him right about the possibilities -- and the perils -- of networked information. In Cataloging the World, Alex Wright brings to light the forgotten genius of Paul Otlet, an introverted librarian who harbored a bookworm's dream to organize all the world's information. Recognizing the limitations of traditional libraries and archives, Otlet began to imagine a radically new way of organizing information, and undertook his life's great work: a universal bibliography of all the world's published knowledge that ultimately totaled more than 12 million individual entries. That effort eventually evolved into the Mundaneum, a vast "city of knowledge" that opened its doors to the public in 1921 to widespread attention. Like many ambitious dreams, however, Otlet's eventually faltered, a victim to technological constraints and political upheaval in Europe on the eve of World War II. Wright tells not just the story of a failed entrepreneur, but the story of a powerful idea -- the dream of universal knowledge -- that has captivated humankind since before the great Library at Alexandria. Cataloging the World explores this story through the prism of today's digital age, considering the intellectual challenge and tantalizing vision of Otlet's digital universe that in some ways seems far more sophisticated than the Web as we know it today.

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Amazon.com: 8 commentaires
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A fantastic read about a man that was the steampunk analog ... 29 septembre 2014
Par Zannah Noe - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
A fantastic read about a man that was the steampunk analog Google before there were computers. Paul Otlet's story as told by Alex Wright is riveting. The author pulls you in with a Nazi raid on Otlet's work. I thought to myself, "Where could it go from here?" Well the story goes from continent to continent, famous characters from the arts, politics and scientists. It perfectly illustrates how one man's obsession can influence the world...even if his ideas were way ahead of his time. There is a sadness to the man's life but also a prevailing sweetness of the allegiance to his work. His understanding that all things are connected and should be accessible to all of mankind is illustrated by the sheer influence his obsession has had. His work involved some of the greatest architects, like Corbusier, writers, world leaders and artists. How a book about the history of library science can be this interesting, is a testament to wild passionate imagination of Paul Otlet and the writing skill of this author. Truly couldn't put the book down.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Before Google: Kicking off the Information Age 20 juin 2014
Par Mark Graham - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
The desire to organize information seems innate, especially when you consider what lengths people have gone to do it. Alex Wright uncovers the life of one man who was passionate about capturing the world's knowledge in Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age.

Wright portrats Otlet as a librarian with a simple goal: to expand our use of the card catalog. His hope was that he could connect his home in Belgium to the rest of the world; however, his endeavor encompassed much more than this. This book also explores his creation of a Mundaneum, which was meant to hold everything that had ever been printed. His invention would allow "everyone from his armchair to contemplate creation" with images and text "projected on an individual screen." His dreams were big and so close to what has come to be. Unfortunately, he lost his greatest achievement to the Nazis in 1940 and died just four years later.

Cataloging the World is well-researched without feeling dry. Wright's style is easy to read and engaging, and his overarching idea about humanity's quest for wisdom is most intriguing. Compared to his first book, Glut: Mastering Information through the Ages, I find this one superior. With so little known about Otlet, this is an excellent resource that explores his character and shares the history of collecting knowledge.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A stunning portrait 7 juin 2014
Par Lawrence M. Hinman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Wright's <i>Changing the World</i> is a fascinating portrait of Paul Otlet, an information scientist (and man of letters and public intellectual) who was not only in the 1930s able to foresee the future and anticipate both the World Wide Web and Google search as well as add some additional elements that we haven't yet brought into the mainstream of information sharing, but he was able to actually build much of this with the elements that he had available at the time--index cards, microfiche, and the like. He was, like Google, concerned with the organization of the world's knowledge. In contrast to Google, he was deeply concerned about world peace, and his universal organization of knowledge (BTW, the Library of Congress system of classification is basically a spin-off of otlet's) was an integral part of a much larger vision of world piece--a vision that he shared with La Fontaine (who won the Nobel Peace Prize), Le Corbusier and others. He envisioned his palace of knowledge as part of a League of Nations, devoted to world peace. Wright tells the story of Otlet and his vision with compelling prose and insightful analysis and in the process gives Otlet his proper place in the development of knowledge. A terrific read.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Fascinating and compelling 10 mai 2014
Par Pearl - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Kindle version is already available. Fascinating story of social scientist Otlet's attempt to gather all the world's information in one place. Well-written and compelling narrative brings Otlet, his world, and his struggles to life.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Encompassing history 2 juillet 2014
Par Margaret L. Rorison - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Through Paul Otlet's story, Alex Wright brilliantly presents a history of the collection and storage of information since the library of Ashurbanipal even to the present. Otlet's passion, creative abilities and methods led him to become a forerunner of the Internet.
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