Monday, June 8, 2009

The Information Future's Past

Recently, Paul Otlet has gotten some press as a forgotten information future pioneer (from 1934, no less), however, I just discovered that he actually wasn't that forgotten. Going through some articles I had used in my dissertation, I discovered Otlet referenced in a 1994 JASIS article by Donald Case, who is referencing a 1992 article by Buckland. 

Case also references a 1964 article in The Atlantic by Martin Greenberger that you simply must read. And, even better The Atlantic has made it available online. How smart is that? (Very.) A snippet, and remember, this is 1964:
The range of application of the information utility extends well beyond the few possibilities that have been sketched. It includes medical-information systems for hospitals and clinics, centralized traffic control for cities and highways, catalogue shopping from a convenience terminal at home, automatic libraries linked to home and office, integrated management-control systems for companies and factories, teaching consoles in the classroom, research consoles in the laboratory, design consoles in the engineering firm, editing consoles in the publishing office, computerized communities.
Wow! Spot-on. Awesome. Apparently this piece did indeed influence later information society embodiments.