Paul Otlet , Belgian librarian born in 1868, was a visionary in the field of knowledge organization. Otlet was a man ahead of his time, whose vision of a “World Wide Web of Knowledge” and his work at the Mundaneum laid the foundation for the development of techniques and technologies used in information management today.
The Mundaneum was conceived as a universal library and documentation center that would collect and organize all human knowledge into a classified system. Otlet envisioned an interconnected system of physical, interconnected files and records that would allow people to access and share information quickly and efficiently.
Although the technologies needed to realize his vision did not exist at the time, he laid the groundwork for future technological developments. The Mundaneum’s approach to knowledge organization could be considered as a form of precursor to the ideas behind the augmented reading .
The Mundaneum and augmented reading share the vision of using technology and knowledge organization to enhance the experience of accessing information and enrich the comprehension of texts. In this sense, a certain conceptual affinity between them can be appreciated.
Although the Mundaneum could not be kept in operation due to various circumstances, its legacy was significant. Otlet together with Henri La Fontaine laid the foundations for large-scale knowledge organization, and their work influenced the development of modern libraries and bibliographic classification techniques. In addition, his vision of a global knowledge network and his focus on the accessibility and dissemination of information have been an inspiration for the evolution of the Internet and the democratization of access to information today.
It is important to note that Paul Otlet is considered one of the pioneers in the field of library science and knowledge organization, and his legacy continues to influence these areas to this day.