I’m a bit late posting this, but after all the discussion of the Semantic Web and RDF, I wanted to call attention to one the stranger pioneers of linked data. Those of you who took Dr. Pattuelli’s LIS653 class, as well as many others, will probably be familiar with the name Paul Otlet, who envisioned a world library, the Mundaneum–with all the world’s data summarized on index cards. Here are two articles with wonderful period photos that explain the project:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/17/science/17mund.html?pagewanted=all

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/technology/google-to-announce-venture-with-belgian-museum.html

I actually spent a few days in Mons (Belgium) last summer looking through the Paul Otlet and Mundaneum archives. Unfortunately, the museum itself has not yet found a viable way to display the surviving card catalogs and artifacts; it is, however, mounting exhibitions this fall about early knowledge organization efforts, and another exhibition in 2015 when it becomes one of the European Union’s “Cultural Cities.”

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