SESSION 2: 13.30 – 15.30. Friday, March 26
This paper discusses an unfinished project of Paul Otlet (1868-1944) for the creation of his Encyclopedia Universalis Mundaneum, an encyclopedia in visual form that made part of a larger global knowledge infrastructure to update information mechanically and manually “beyond the index card box”. Although Otlet’s architecture of the Universal Decimal Classification system allows for linking top down classifications with socially-constructed information spaces, it will be argued that Otlet’s encyclopedia cannot be read simply as a Wikipedia avant-la-lettre. However, despite differences with Wikipedia, the hypothesis will be put forward that the instruments and protocols envisioned by Otlet to enhance collaborative knowledge production, can still be relevant for current conceptualizations of “scientific authority” in data sharing and annotation in Web 2.0 applications. The latter will be illustrated by analyzing protocols for enriching the digital Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.