Archive for December 18th, 2012

It must have been Autumn 1979: I was starting to work on my master thesis. The subject: the illustrated weekly periodicals in Belgium in the late 19th ¬†century. Since I was going to include a substantial quantitative analysis, I needed access to as many newspapers and weeklies as possible. I don’t recall how the name ‘Mundaneum’ reached me, but I eventually found the Mundaneum address in Brussels. So off I went, trudging along the Chauss√©e de Louvain (where the Mundaneum was supposed to be in those days) from the centre of Brussels, all the way into St-Stevens-Woluwe – without finding the Mundaneum. My unfamiliarity with the Brussels region did not prevent me from getting home by tram and train – but I was dissappointed for not finding what I had hoped to be a rich source of information…

A week ago, Wired explained what I should have known in 1979, in the article “Dec. 10, 1944: Web Visionary Passes Into Obscurity“. Today, Paul Otlet, founder of the Mundaneum, may be considered to be a founder of information science; but from what I know now, I don’t think finding his collection would have really helped me… I may still visit the “new” Mundaneum in Mons (Belgium), though, just to satisfy my curiosity – you never know what I might have missed 33 years ago ;-)


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