Paul Otlet

From reading this article, I find Otlet’s idea of the possibilities of the scholar station and the “Universal Book” to be outstanding!  It is amazing to see how accurate and achievable these rough original ideas were, and even more amazing to learn how old the concepts for the ideas are.  Even Otlet’s idea of the electric telescope projected through a telephone line is like our internet today–first accessed through phone lines.  The real genius comes from Otlet’s recognition that bibliographies go no further than the individual book, instead of every book possible.  By creating a Universal Classification system, ideas from all sources will be able to be considered and acquired.  Despite seeing old card catalogs still present in some libraries today and knowing the prevalence of that system, I am also surprised to read how important the 3×5 index card was to this system, and how many Otlet organized for his project!


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