International organisation and dissemination of knowledge : Selected essays of Paul Otlet

Translated and edited with an introduction by W. Boyd Rayword (1990) – “We must bring together a collection of machines which simultaneously or sequentially can perform the following operations: (1) The transformation of sound into writing; (2) The reproduction of this writing in as many copies as are useful; (3) The creation of documents in such a way that each item of information has its own identity and, in its relationships with those items comprising any collection, can be retrieved as necessary; (4) A Classification number assigned to each item of information; the perforation of documents correlated with these numbers; (5) Automatic classification and filing of documents; (6) Automatic retrieval of documents for consultation and presented either direct to the enquirer or via machine enabling written additions to be made to them; (7) Mechanical manipulation at will of all the listed items of information in order to obtain new combinations of facts, new relationships of ideas, and new operations carried out with the help of numbers. The technology fulfilling these seven requirements would indeed be a mechanical, collective brain.” (internet archive)

Comments are closed.