Literature/1992/Buckland

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Buckland, Michael (1992). "Emanuel Goldberg, Electronic Document Retrieval, and Vannevar Bush's Memex." Journal of the American Society for Information Science, vol. 43, no. 4 (May 1992), pp. 284-294.

Abstract[edit]

Vannevar Bush's famous paper "As We May Think" (1945) described an imaginary information retrieval machine, the Memex. The Memex is usually viewed, unhistorically, in relation to subsequent developments using digital computers. This paper attempts to reconstruct the little-known background of information retrieval in and before 1939 when "As We May Think" was originally written. The Memex was based on Bush's work during 1938-1940 developing an improved photoelectric microfilm selector, an electronic retrieval technology pioneered by Emanuel Goldberg of Zeiss Ikon, Dresden, in the 1920s. Visionary statements by Paul Otlet (1934) and Walter Schuermeyer (1935) and the development of electronic document retrieval technology before Bush are examined.

Excerpts[edit]

  • Visionary statements by Paul Otlet (1934) and Walter Schuermeyer (1935) and the development of electronic document retrieval technology before Bush are examined.
  • Neumann complained that Vannevar Bush's account of the Rapid Selector in Life did not mention Goldberg "the true inventor, who had actually built and demonstrated such a machine years before." (Neumann, 1957, v).
  • Fairthorne (1958) ... was critical of Bush's ideas, commented that "few of his suggestions were original," and also mentioned Goldberg's prior work.
  • As Fairthorne observed, Bush's paper was timely and "opened people's eyes and purses."
  • Can we draw any conclusions concerning the sociology or scholarship of information science from the striking contrast between the constant acclaim of Bush and the continuing comparative oblivion of Goldberg?

Wikimedia[edit]

w: Emanuel Goldberg
w: Paul Otlet
  • Otlet's writings have sometimes been called prescient of the current World Wide Web. His vision of a great network of knowledge was centered on documents and included the notions of hyperlinks, search engines, remote access, and social networks -- although these notions were described by different names.
w: Vannevar Bush
  • As We May Think predicted (to some extent) many kinds of technology invented after its publication, including hypertext, personal computers, the Internet, the World Wide Web, speech recognition, and online encyclopedias such as Wikipedia: "Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready-made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified." @ w: As We May Think
w: H. G. Wells
  • In 1936, before the Royal Institution, Wells called for the compilation of a constantly growing and changing World Encyclopedia, to be reviewed by outstanding authorities and made accessible to every human being. In 1938, he published a collection of essays on the future organisation of knowledge and education, World Brain, including the essay, "The Idea of a Permanent World Encyclopaedia."
  • q: World Brain#Danny P. Wallace (2007)
    • "World Brain = World Wide Web" (essay title)
  • q: World Brain#W. Boyd Rayward (2008) cf. 1975/Rayward
    • "The march of the modern and the reconstitution of the world's knowledge apparatus: H.G. Wells, encyclopedism, and the world brain" (essay title)

Chronology[edit]

Reviews[edit]

Comments[edit]

  • Tall librarians may be fully inspired only by Otlet (1934) Traité de Documentation without reading it, while digitall librarians may be so inspired only by Bush (1945) without respecting it. Nevertheless, both parties indeed, including Otlet and Bush themselves, may have been so inspired only by Wells (1938) only without acknowledging it. Such may be the behavior of academic pseudoscientific paradigms in Kuhn's (1962) sense. --  KYPark [T] 09:35, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
  • The author is making such a point that Bush is posterior to Goldberg technologically and to Otlet ideologically, suggesting his likely academic misconduct by making reference to neither. Then the author should better have added Wells (1938) as another likely, if not more likely, powerful source of inspiration. His doing no good to Wells may be doing no good to his authority, which Wells took so seriously for successful World Encyclopedia, and which Wikipedia may suffer. Perhaps no authority without avoiding invested interests, say, tall or digitall librarianship. --  KYPark [T] 09:35, 7 July 2011 (UTC)


Notes[edit]

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Gradient-optical-illusion.svg
The shade of the bar looks invariant in isolation but variant in context, in (favor of) sharp contrast with the color gradient background, hence an innate illusion we have to reasonably interpret and overcome as well as the mirage. Such variance appearing seasonably from context to context may not only be the case with our vision but worldview in general in practice indeed, whether a priori or a posteriori. Perhaps no worldview from nowhere, without any point of view or prejudice at all!

Ogden & Richards (1923) said, "All experience ... is either enjoyed or interpreted ... or both, and very little of it escapes some degree of interpretation."

H. G. Wells (1938) said, "The human individual is born now to live in a society for which his fundamental instincts are altogether inadequate."