The man who started building the Web — in 1934

In 1934, Otlet sketched out plans for a global network of computers (or “electric telescopes,” as he called them) that would allow people to search and browse through millions of interlinked documents, images, audio and video files. He described how people would use the devices to send messages to one another, share files and even congregate in online social networks. He called the whole thing a “réseau,” which might be translated as “network” — or arguably, “web.”

The Web Time Forgot, by Alex Wright

(via lunch over IP)

4 Comments leave a comment below

  1. Perhaps if they tried to create some kind of mock up of what it could have looked like/of the ideas, they would be able to add more attraction. It does sound interesting but I doubt in the current state I would like to look at some reference cards.

  2. Lovely blog… i love it.

  3. Really interesting story. Thanks for that. Sometimes I wonder about this thing we call the web.

    It trips me out that my job (as a designer) is to add to and a create new parts of this growing electronic thing, that if it was unplugged, not much would change as far as human life goes except the speed of sharing information. Do we really need all this information? Heh.

  4. An excellent description of Otlet’s work and ideas is provided in Alex Wright’s book Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages