Born in Brussels, Belgium, in 1868. He is considered the father of information management and documentation, and also the first contributor to the creation of the Science of Information.
Otlet worked with organizing structures of information that could be considered as the earliest precedent of the World Wide Web. He spent his entire life trying to conceive search engines that could establish hyper-connections between all existing information.
He dreamed of the creation of an infinite network of information that could contain and interconnect the whole body of human knowledge. This was the first artificial conception of a hyperlink model of infogathering – infosharing. He searched tirelessly for an answer to the problem of how to make the whole record of knowledge available to those who need it? It seems that Otlet’s design of info-organization has a strong relation with the hologram, akasha and aether models.
Co-founder of the Institut International de Bibliographie in 1895 that later became the International Federation for Documentation and Information. He and La Fontaine, also created the Union of International Associations still working in Brussels. Otlet was a humanitarian activist and many of his ideas were crucial in the formation of the League of Nations, later the International Institute for Intellectual Cooperation.
Along his years, he showed a deep and sincere concern to find a way to make information available for everyone who needed it, and was a true believer in the possibility of creating a “universal book”. He wrote various essays related to the organization of knowledge and these were compiled in two books: “The traite of documentation” in 1934, which had a central roll in the development of Information Science and “Monde: Essai d universalisme” in 1935.