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Friday, March 13 • 12:30pm - 1:30pm
The Secret History of Hypertext

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In 1934, a little-known Belgian bibliographer named Paul Otlet described something very much like the Internet, sketching out plans for a network of "electric telescopes" connecting people to a vast collection of documents, images, and audio-visual material. He dubbed the whole thing the Mundaneum, describing it as a "réseau mondial" - a worldwide web.
Why should anyone care about the failed schemes of a long-dead Belgian bibliographer? Otlet's work matters today not just as a kind of historical curio, but because he envisioned a radically different kind of network: one driven not by corporate profit and personal vanity, but by a utopian vision of intellectual progress, social egalitarianism, and even spiritual liberation.
This presentation will delve deep into Otlet's alternative vision of a global network, in search of useful lessons that could reshape our understanding of what the Internet could yet become.

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Speakers
avatar for Alex Wright

Alex Wright

Director of Research, Etsy
Alex Wright is the Director of Research at Etsy and the author of Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age (one of the New Yorker's "Books to Watch Out For" in 2014). He also teaches courses in user research and design history at the School of Visual Arts' MFA program in Interaction Design.


Friday March 13, 2015 12:30pm - 1:30pm
JW Marriott Salon 3 110 E 2nd St

Attendees (3)

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