Paul Otlet

This initiative is in honor of Paul Otlet, Belgian scientist, author, entrepreneur, lawyer and peace activist. Paul Otlet was a visionary who wanted to classify the world in a way that is accessible to everyone. He created the Universal Decimal Classification, a worldwide standard for indexing cards for library systems in the 20th Century. Together with Belgian senator Henri La Fontaine (who won the Nobel Peace Price in 1913), he founded the Union of International Associations in 1907, which is still located in Brussels today and has over 7000 international organizations as members. They had a vision of a World City: a utopian place where scientists, international organizations and other visionaries could live and work together. This project was almost realized on the left bank of Antwerp in 1933, under the architecture of Le Corbusier, but the declining economy and the advent of the Second World War blocked these plans. Paul Otlet is seen as one of the precursors of the World Wide Web and its access through search engines as Google. His heritage is cherished by the Mundaneum in Mons, which reopens during Mons, Cultural Capital of Europe, 2015. The Otlet Salons wants to continue this idealistic gathering and dissemination of information in a contemporary context. Even in a world where knowledge is at our fingertips, one needs to be connected in order to share and receive information. We want to bring down barriers between institutions and organizations by bringing together key individuals in their respective networks to share knowledge and spread it again in their own environment.


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