Faculty Alex Wright recently published his second book, Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age, due out in June from Oxford University Press.
Paul Otlet was a Belgian bibliographer and entrepreneur who, in 1934, described something very much like the World Wide Web. Otlet was more than just a technological visionary, however. He saw his global network—the Mundaneum—as part of a utopian plan to accelerate social progress, unify the world’s governments, and ultimately foster a great spiritual awakening.
Publishers Weekly review reads:
“In this enlightening profile, Wright revives and contextualizes the now largely forgotten work of “visionary information theorist” Paul Otlet… Wright is certain that ‘Otlet’s vision for an international knowledge network… points toward a more purposeful vision of what the global network could yet become,’ and his biography could help set that in motion.”