Timeline of Computer History


Mockup of a “Mondothèque,” or home multimedia workstation to be connected to a universal library

“World Brains”

Belgian Paul Otlet has a modest goal: collect, organize, and share all the world’s knowledge. Otlet had co-created a massive “search engine” starting in the early 1900s. His Mundaneum now combines enhanced card catalogs with sixteen million entries, photos, documents, microfilm, and more. He is working on integrating telegraphy and multiple media, from sound recordings to television. In the 1930s British writer H.G. Wells and American scientist Vannevar Bush are advancing similar goals—Wells with his “World Brain” writings and Bush with the Memex, a sort of microfilm-based Web browser. These approaches to organizing information differ. But all share key features of today’s Web, including automated cross-references – which we call hyperlinks.