Ideographies of Knowledge/Session 6
A symposium unfolding from the intention to reflect upon the legacy of Paul Otlet and his work from the perspective of today's knowledge archives.
Saturday, 3 October 2015
Mundaneum, Rue de Nimy 76, Mons, Belgium
"Once one read; today one refers to, checks through, skims." – Paul Otlet, 1903
Session 6. Information Agency – The Magic of Representation
16:00 – 16:45 H
The power of abstraction is to shape reality. Structures and configurations presented in documents and collections act upon their readers and users. It's a kind of magic.
Moderated by Femke Snelting.
Video by Stefan Piat.
Matthew Fuller – R.B. Byles, Pitman's Practical Primers of Business: The Card Index System, Its Principles, Uses, Operation, and Component Parts, London, 1919
This short manual for the use of the index card system as it was first being introduced is a model of rhetoric in favour of efficiency, and of the early use of the term “system” in business literature. It provides a means of understanding how a particular media technology implicates and develops a form of informational abstraction similar to a relational database, and a form of labour around information.
Robert M Ochshorn – Books without Covers
Explorations of using physical books and cards to navigate a digital archive.
Variants: Skid Row History Museum, Americanah cards, Video Binder.
Nikita Mazurov – A page from a newspaper containing two articles--"Mountain with bizarre history now is just a huge storage bin"; "Man ousted from nook above state library ceiling"--appearing cheek by jowl in The Prescott Courier, November 29 1991
A CIA operative, Walter Burke, once said "I could've saved her, but the information was more important. The information was more important than she was. More important than I was. It's what we do" (The Recruit, 2003). Does it make sense to conceptualize of the archive in relation to the human (be it anti-human or post-human), or is the archive a move towards, simply, nonhumanism?
Marcell Mars – Logan & Jessica
A tool for friends to help each other by sharing their access to the router with an IP address sitting in the "right" country.
Tomislav Medak – Shelf
A structure of storage, ordering and displaying that provides material affordance both to the comprehension of totality and the serendipity of discovery has been rendered obsolete. The digital collections have moved scales of how text is parsed and understood from book to collection, from flipping pages to querying databases. And yet the shelf has staged a return in the shape of an awkward symbolic representation of the library collection in the interfaces of numerous applications, arguably expressing a persisting interrelation between the order and ingenuity, structure and contingency in the affairs of science and letters.