Paul Otlet On The Internet (A Century Early)

Paul Otlet (1868-1944) was trained as a lawyer, but gave it up to begin a life-long fascination with what we today call information science.

In 1895, he and Henri La Fontaine (who later won the Nobel Peace Prize) started a collection of index cards, each of which cataloged distinct facts. In 1896, when the collection had reached 400,000 entries, Otlet set up a fee-based service to answer search queries by mail. Some scholars refer to this as an "analog search engine."

Otlet's vision soon outpaced the technology available at the time. Take a look at this remarkable video, which presents some of Otlet's ideas in his 1934 essay Traité de documentation.


(Paul Otlet video)

Science fiction authors were not far behind in popularizing this kind of idea. In 1946, Murray Leinster wrote about an amazing interconnected network in his story A Logic Named Joe:

You know the Logics set-up. You got a Logic in your house. I looks like a vision-receiver used to, only it's got keys instead of dials and you punch the keys for what you wanna get. It's hooked in to the Tank, which has the carson Circuit all fixed up with relays. Say you punch "Station SNAFU" on your Logic. Relays in the Tank take over an' whatever vision program SNAFU is telecastin' comes on your logic's screen. Or you punch "Sally Hancock's Phone" an' the screen blinks an' sputters an' you're hooked up with the Logic in her house an' if someone answers you got a vision-phone connection. But besides that, if you punch for the weather forecast or who won today's race at Hialea or who was mistress of the White House durin' Garfield's administration or what is PDQ and R sellin' for today, that comes on the screen too.
(Read more about the Carson circuit)

Thanks to Moira for pointing this video out.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/28/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )

Related News Stories - (" Computer ")

Razer Project Valerie Laptop Unfurls
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently...' - William Gibson, 1986.

Google Home Continues Implementation Of Pohl's Joymaker
'It is a transponder connecting you with the central computing facilities of the city in which you reside on a shared-time, self-programming basis.' - Frederik Pohl, 1966.

New Startup 'Improbable' To Model Our World
'A machine able literally to contain the Universe Itself...' - Stanislaw Lem, 1965.

Tricking Cells Into Making Silicon Chips
'Fabricated by genetically engineered metal affinity bacteria...' - Marvel, 1984.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Matrix Sentinel Ancestor, The Pipe Inspector Robot From Krakow
Watch out, Keanu!

Auto-Focus Smart Glasses Have Liquid Lenses
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension by an enclosing force field within a viewing tube...'

Robotic Physician Assistant Has Steady 'Hands'
'You turned the screws below and the prongs moved... with caliper slowness, minuteness and precision.'

Roboy 3DPrinted Humanoid Robot
'A robot child that would be reared within the bosom of a human family...'

Robird Flapping Wing Drones Keep Airports Safe
'Mitch heard a rasping, flacketing buzz, like a big insect...'

3D Printed Fashion - Plastirobes And Transdresses
'... dial a new fashion every day!'

Robotic Lawn Mower Powered By Sun, Arduino
'The mower reached the edge of the lawn, clucked to itself like a contented hen...'

Google Perfects 'Blade Runner-style' Photo Details
'Pull back... stop... enhance 57-19...'

Pokerbot Libratus Learns To Lie (Bluff)
'Lying's a vital part of your psychological defense system - you're naked without it!'

Otto Autonomous Robot Trucks Run Into... Legal Snag
'They were automatic trucks such as are used for making deliveries...'

Tiny Drones With Sticky Feet Pollinate Flowers Now
'The Scarab rubbed its hind legs together...'

ThreeForm 3D Scans And Digitally Simulates Customer Fashion
'...A miracle of misapplied engineering caused his own face to appear on the illustrated figures dressed in trooper red.'

CloudFisher - Moroccan Fog Farmers Harvest Moisture From The Air
'That moisture trickles down...'

Piaggio Gita Personal Robot Porter
'Carry his bag... and follow him faithfully...'

Ardu McDuino, Bagpipe Robot
'Rollo sat at the keyboard, prim, inhuman, rigid, twin lenses focused...'

Not Quite Self-Replicating Robots, Franka Emika
'... it shares with mankind the ability to propagate.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.