Reading list

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Cross-readings. Not a bibliography.

Paul Otlet

  • Paul Otlet, L’afrique aux noirs, Bruxelles: Ferdinand Larcier, 1888.
  • Paul Otlet, L’Éducation et les Instituts du Palais Mondial (Mundaneum). Bruxelles: Union des Associations Internationales, 1926.
  • Otlet, Paul, Traité de documentation, Bruxelles, Mundaneum, Palais Mondial, 1934.
  • Paul Otlet, Monde: essai d'universalisme - Connaissance du Monde, Sentiment du Monde, Action organisee et Plan du Monde, Bruxelles: Editiones Mundeum 1935.
  • Paul Otlet, Plan belgique; essai d'un plan général, économique, social, culturel. Plan d'urbanisation national. Liaison avec le plan mondial. Conditions. Problèmes. Solutions. Réformes, Bruxelles: Éditiones Mundaneum, 1935.

Re-reading Otlet

Fathers of the internet

Constructing a posthumous pre-history of contemporary networking technologies.

  • Christophe Lejeune Ce que l’annuaire fait à Internet
  • Paul Dourish, Genevieve Bell Divining a Digital Future
  • John Johnston The Allure of Machinic Life: Cybernetics, Artificial Life, and the New AI A Bradford Book
  • Charles van den heuvel Building society, constructing knowledge, weaving the web
  • Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler, Ora Lassila The Semantic Web
  • Wright, Alex, Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age, Oxford University Press, 2014.

Classifying the world

  • ShinJoung Yeo, James R. Jacobs Diversity matters? Rethinking diversity in libraries
  • Thomas Hapke Wilhelm Ostwald's Combinatorics as a Link between In-formation and Form
  • Nancy Cartwright, Jordi Cat, Lola Fleck, Thomas E. Uebel Otto Neurath: Philosophy Between Science and Politics Cambridge University Press
  • John Brown, Paul Duguid The Social Life of Information Harvard Business Press
  • Nathan Ensmenger The Computer Boys Take Over: Computers, Programmers, and the Politics of Technical Expertise MIT Press
  • Siva Vaidhyanathan The Anarchist in the Library: How the Clash Between Freedom and Control Is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System Basic Books
  • Markus Krajewski, Peter Krapp Paper Machines: About Cards & Catalogs, 1548-1929 The MIT Press
  • Eric de Groller A Study of general categories applicable to classification and coding in documentation; Documentation and terminology of science; 1962
  • Paul Otlet, L’afrique aux noirs, Bruxelles: Ferdinand Larcier, 1888.
  • Marlene Manoff, "Theories of the archive from across the disciplines," in portal: Libraries and the Academy, Vol. 4, No. 1 (2004), pp. 9–25.
  • Charles van den Heuvel, W. Boyd Rayward, Facing Interfaces: Paul Otlet's Visualizations of Data Integration. Journal of the American society for information science and technology (2011)

Don't be evil

Standing on the hands of Internet giants

  • Rene Koenig, Miriam Rasch Society of the Query (Reader)
  • William Miller Living With Google Routledge
  • Matthew Fuller, Andrew Goffey Evil Media MIT
  • Ray Kurzweil The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence Penguin
  • Lawrence Page, Sergey Brin The Anatomy of a Search Engine
  • Steve Levy In The Plex Simon & Schuster
  • Dan Schiller, ShinJoung Yeo Powered By Google: Widening Access and Tightening Corporate Control
  • ShinJoung Yeo Geopolitics of search: Google vs. China?
  • Matteo Pasquinelli Google's PageRank Algorithm: A diagram of the cognitive capitalism and the rentier of the common intellect
  • Invisible Committee Fuck Off Coogle
  • Dave Eggers The Circle Knopf
  • Ippolita Epistemology, ontology and others logoi in digital times
  • Matteo Pasquinelli Google’s PageRank Algorithm: A Diagram of the Cognitive Capitalism and the Rentier of the Common Intellect
  • Ken Auletta Googled: The end of the world as we know it
  • Joris van Hoboken Search Engine Freedom: On the Implications of the Right to Freedom of Expression for the Legal Governance of Web Search Engines Kluwer Law International
  • Siva Vaidhyanathan The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry) University of California Press
  • Wendy Hui Kyong Chun Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics The MIT Press

Embedded hierarchies

  • Otlet, Paul, Traité de documentation, Bruxelles, Mundaneum, Palais Mondial, 1934. (for alphabet hierarchy, see page 71)
  • Paul Otlet, L’afrique aux noirs, Bruxelles: Ferdinand Larcier, 1888.
  • Judy Wajcman, Feminism Confronts Technology, University Park, Pa: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1991.

Mons 2015

  • Delphine Masset, Manon Letouche Mons 2015, une culture locale et participative ?

Mega urban planning

Writings on how Otlet's knowledge site was successively imagined and visualized on grand architectural scales.

  • Catherine Courtiau, "La cité internationale 1927-1931," in Transnational Associations, 5/1987: 255-266.
  • Giuliano Gresleri and Dario Matteoni. La Città Mondiale: Andersen, Hébrard, Otlet, Le Corbusier. Venezia: Marsilio, 1982.
  • Isabelle Rieusset-Lemarie, "P. Otlet's Mundaneum and the International Perspective in the History of Documentation and Information science," in Journal of the American Society for Information Science (1986-1998)48.4 (Apr 1997): 301-309.
  • Wouter Van Acker. "Architectural Metaphors of Knowledge: The Mundaneum Designs of Maurice Heymans, Paul Otlet, and Le Corbusier." Library Trends 61, no. 2 (2012): 371-396.
  • Van Acker, Wouter, Somsen, Geert, “A Tale of Two World Capitals – the Internationalisms of Pieter Eijkman and Paul Otlet”, in Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire/Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Filologie en Geschiedenis, Vol. 90, nr.4, 2012.
  • Anthony Vidler, “The Space of History: Modern Museums from Patrick Geddes to Le Corbusier,” in The Architecture of the Museum: Symbolic Structures, Urban Contexts, ed. Michaela Giebelhausen (Manchester; New York: Manchester University Press, 2003).
  • Volker Welter. Biopolis Patrick Geddes and the City of Life. Cambridge, Mass: MIT, 2003.
  • Alfred Willis, “The Exoteric and Esoteric Functions of Le Corbusier’s Mundaneum,” Modulus/University of Virginia School of Architecture Review 12, no. 21 (1980).


It includes both century-old sources and more recent ones on the parallel or entangled movements around the Mundaneum time.

  • Julie Carlier, "Moving beyond Boundaries: An Entangled History of Feminism in Belgium, 1890–1914," Ph.D. dissertation, Universiteit Gent, 2010. (esp. 439-458.)
  • Bambi Ceuppens, Congo made in Flanders?: koloniale Vlaamse visies op "blank" en "zwart" in Belgisch Congo. [Gent]: Academia Press, 2004.
  • Sandi E. Cooper, Patriotic pacifism waging war on war in Europe, 1815-1914. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
  • François Garas, Mes temples. Paris: Michalon, 1907.
  • Madeleine Herren, Hintertüren zur Macht: Internationalismus und modernisierungsorientierte Aussenpolitik in Belgien, der Schweiz und den USA 1865-1914. München: Oldenbourg, 2000.
  • Robert Hoozee and Mary Anne Stevens, Impressionism to Symbolism: The Belgian Avant-Garde 1880-1900, London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1994.
  • Elisée Reclus, Nouvelle géographie universelle; la terre et les hommes, Paris, Hachette et cie., 1876-94.
  • Alfred Willis, “The Exoteric and Esoteric Functions of Le Corbusier’s Mundaneum,” Modulus/University of Virginia School of Architecture Review 12, no. 21 (1980).


  • Theater Adhoc, The humor and tragedy of completeness, 2005
  • Françoise Levie Filmer Paul Otlet
  • Stéphanie Manfroid Les réalités d'une aventure documentaire
  • Jacques Hellemans Paul Otlet (1868-1944), fondateur du mouvement bibliogique international
  • Bernd Frohmann Discourse and Documentation: Some Implications for Pedagogy and Research
  • Richard P. Saller Patriarchy, Property and Death in the Roman Family Cambridge University Press
  • Tim Berners-Lee, Mark Fischetti Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web Paw Prints
  • Brett M. Frischmann Infrastructure: The Social Value of Shared Resources Oxford University Press
  • Ippolita The dark side of Google
  • Ian Wilson, Jean-Noel Jeanneney, Teresa Lavender Fagan Google and the Myth of Universal Knowledge: A View From Europe
  • Wouter Van Acker The Analogous Spaces of Paul Otlet (1868-1944)
  • Judge, Anthony, “Union of International Associations – Virtual Organization – Paul Otlet's 100-year Hypertext Conundrum?”, 2001.
  • Sánchez, Zurita, Manuel, Juan, El paradigma otletiano como base de un modelo para la organización y difusión del conocimiento científico, México, El Author, Tesina, Colegio de Bibliotecología, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, UNAM, 2001.
  • Wright, Alex, “Forgotten Forefather”, in Boxes & Arrows, 10 November 2003.
  • Ducheyne, Steffen, “Paul Otlet's Theory of Knowledge and Linguistic Objectivism”, in Knowledge Organization, no 32, 2005, pp. 110–116.
  • Wright, Alex, Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages, Washington D.C., Joseph Henry Press, 2007.
  • Heuvel, Charles van den, “Building Society, Constructing Knowledge, Weaving the Web”. in European Modernism and the Information Society – Informing the Present, Understanding the Past, Aldershot, 2008, pp. 127–153.
  • Wright, Alex, The Web Time Forgot, The New York Times, 17 June 2008.
  • Van Acker, Wouter, “Universalism as Utopia. A Historical Study of the Schemes and Schemas of Paul Otlet (1868-1944)”, Unpublished PhD Dissertation, University Press, Zelzate, 2011.
  • Popova, Maria, “The Birth of the Information Age: How Paul Otlet’s Vision for Cataloging and Connecting Humanity Shaped Our World”, Brain Pickings, 2014.
  • W. Boyd Rayward Paul Otlet, an encounter
  • Sylvie Fayet-Scribe, "Women Professionals in Documentation in France during the 1930s," Libraries & the Cultural Record Vol. 44, No. 2, Women Pioneers in the Information Sciences Part I, 1900-1950 (2009), pp. 201-219. (translated by Michael Buckland)