Monday 10 February 2014

Paul Otlet Lecture

Courtesy of  W. B. Rayward:

Prof. W. Boyd Rayward and Prof. Eugene Garfield have endowed a lectureship named for Paul Otlet Lecture at University of Illinois. The first lecture entitled "When Was the Age of Information?" will be delivered by Prof. Paul Duguid  from School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley) on 5. May 2014.

About the Otlet Lecture:
Paul Otlet (Photo: © Mundaneum)
Paul Otlet (1868-1944), a Belgian lawyer, bibliographer, internationalist, and pacifist, became concerned as a young man about the increasing volume and fragmentation of the literature of science and scholarship. With his colleague, Henri la Fontaine, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1913, he spent his life in building experimental “knowledge” institutions that he hoped might facilitate global access to information in a range of new formats. His analyses of what he called documentation, of multimedia substitutes for the book, of encyclopedias, museums and libraries led him to explore the possible use of the new technologies of his days such as x-rays, radio, telegraphy, cinema, sound recording and eventually television for disseminating information through a universal information network. And he proposed special organisational arrangements for the network’s management and use by means of what he called Mundaneums. He also envisaged the development of a range of new kinds of intellectual machines and instruments that, suggested by what was already available, would create new functionalities in information access and use. In these ideas we find foreshadowings of the digital and other technologies that have created such phenomena as the Internet, the World Wide Web, Google and even—and perhaps especially—Wikipedia, that are fundamental to what we now regard as a new kind of information society.

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