“Forgotten Forefather: Paul Otlet”

In, “Forgotten Forefather: Paul Otlet, Alex Wright (2003) discusses Otlet’s idea of a “universal subject classification system” as well as his creation of the Universal Decimal Classification, which is a faceted classification system. One thing that stood out to me was Otlet’s emphasis on the connections and relationships between documents. This concept of “networked documents” or as Otlet described it, links, makes me think about linked open data (Wright, 2003). As Wright (2003) notes, an application like Google connects documents together and, therefore, forms a relationship. Despite the sophisticated algorithms, these relationships are unknown to the end user. But, with linked open data, all users can contribute to the process of the formation of relationships between data and be a part of the data’s history.

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