fontaine in Constant 2016

eople that populate La

Unknown man,Andrew
Warden Boyd Carnegie
Rayward, Françoise
Levie, Alex Wright

André CanonneArni Jonsson , Barack ObamaBernard Otlet Bernard Otlet, Bernard Otlet, Bill Echikson
Sauli Niinistö
Lafontaine Lafontaine

Bill Echikson, Delphine JenartDelphine Jenart,
Elio Di Rupo Unknown man,Elio Di Rupo, Elio Di Rupo, Elio Di Rupo, Sylvia Van
Delphine Jenart
Nooka Kiili ,
Elio Di Rupo, Sylvia Van Sylvia Van Thierry GeertsPeteghem, Elio
Joyce Proot
Roi Al

ntified Paul Otlet
Woman, Paul
Otlet, Georges


Paul Otlet


Cato van
Le Corbusier, Paul Otlet,
Nederhasselt, Paul
Paul Otlet, Georges
Hélène de

Unidentified Paul Otlet, Henri
Paul Otlet
Woman, Jean La Fontaine,
Delville, Paul Mathilde Lhoest
Otlet, Henri La

Unidentified Unidentified Paul Otlet, Unidentified Paul Otlet,
Woman, Paul Woman, Paul Mathilde La Woman, W.E.B.
Otlet, GeorgesFontaine , Henri
Du Bois, Paul Woman
La Fontaine Otlet, Henri La
Fontaine, Jean

Paul Panda, Unidentified Paul Otlet
Unidentified Woman, Paul
Woman, HenriOtlet
Fontaine, Cato van
Nederhasselt, Paul
Otlet, W.E.B. Du
Bois, Blaise Diagne
, Mathilde Lhoest

Unidentified Woman,

te of Google Cultural Institute.
While the visual resemblance between a row of index drawers and a server park might not
be a coincidence, it is something else to conflate the type of universalist knowledge project
imagined by Paul Otlet and Henri Lafontaine with the enterprise of the search giant. The
statement 'Google on paper' acted as a provocation, evoking other cases in other places
where geographically situated histories are turned into advertising slogans, and cultural
infrastructures pushed into

gramme d’activités qui permettent de mieux comprendre son travail. Ce travail
s’effectue notamment à travers le label du Patrimoine Européen mais aussi dans le cadre de
Mémoire du Monde[6].
RC : Ce n’est pas parce que Otlet a écrit que La Fontaine n’a pas travaillé sur le projet. Ce
n’était pas du tout les mêmes personnalités.
SM : On est sur des stéréotypes.
ADV : Otlet a tout de même énormément écrit ?
SM : Otlet a beaucoup synthétisé, diffusé et lu. Il a été un formidable

efaire aussi le
monde par la fiche et là, notre idée était évidemment de mettre en évidence toutes ces
personnes et les compositions multiformes de cette institution qui avait beaucoup d’originalité
et pas de s’en tenir à une vision « La Fontaine c’est le prix Nobel de la paix, Otlet c’est
monsieur Internet, Léonie La Fontaine c’est Madame féminisme, Monsieur Hem Day[7] c’est
l’anarchiste … » On ne fait pas l’Histoire comme ça, en créant des catégories.
RC : Je me souviens quand je suis arrivée ici en 2002 : Paul Otlet c’était l’espèce de savant
fou q

lui permet pas de vraiment visualiser le travail qui a été fait, et même l’ampleur du travail.
Nous, on ne peut pas se conformer à une base de donnée comme ça. Il faut que ça existe
mais ça ne transparaît pas le travail d'Otlet et de La Fontaine. Une vision comme ça, ce n'est
pas Mundaneum.

SM : Il n’y a finalement pas de base de données qui arrive à la cheville de ce qu’ils ont
imaginés en terme de papier. C’est ça qu’il faut imaginer.
FS : Pouvez-vous nous parler de cette vi

êve serait de numériser tout, mais est-ce que ce serait raisonnable de tout numériser ?
FS : Si tous les documents étaient disponibles en ligne ?
RC : Je pense que ça serait difficile de pouvoir transposer la pensée et le travail d'Otlet et
La Fontaine dans une base de données. C’est à dire, dans une base de données, c’est
souvent une conception très carrée : vous décrivez le fond, la série, le dossier, la pièce. Ici
tout est lié. Par exemple, la collection d’affiches, elle dépend d

ined to the periphery of other forms of power
and therefore struggle to assure themselves a strategic positioning.
C. 025.45UDC; 161.225.22; 004.659GOO:004.021PAG.

The Universal Decimal Classification[21] system, developed by Paul Otlet and Henri
Lafontaine on the basis of the Dewey Decimal Classification system is still considered one of
their most important realizations as well as a corner-stone in Otlet's overall vision. Its
adoption, revision and use until today demonstrate a thoughtful and successf

rm coined by Paul Otlet (1916)
14. Mundaneum may refer to:
◦ Mundaneum (Utopia) , a project designed by Paul Otlet and Henri
◦ Mundaneum (Archive Centre) , a cultural institution in Mons,
housing the archives of Paul Otlet and Henri Lafontaine since 1993
15. Urbanisme may refer to:
◦ Urban planning, a technical and political process concerned with the
use of land, protection and use of the environment, public welfare, and the
design of the urban environment, including air, water, and the

t can also help to see which
contextual elements in the first iteration of the Mundaneum were different from
the current situation of our information economy.
The ambitious project of the Mundaneum was imagined by Paul Otlet with support of Henri
La Fontaine at the end of the 19th century. At that time colonialism was at its height,
bringing a steady stream of income to occidental countries which created a sense of security
that made everything seem possible. According to some of the most forward thinkin

ch as during the
Fashoda crisis and the Boers war. The sense of strength brought to colonial powers by the
large influx of money was however quickly tempered by World War I that was about to
shake up modern European society.
In this context Henri La Fontaine, energised by Paul Otlet's encompassing view of
classification systems and standards, strongly associates the Mundaneum project with an ideal
of world peace. This was a conscious process of thought; they believed that this universal
archive of all knowledge represented a resource for the promotion of education towards the

development of better social relations. While Otlet and La Fontaine were not directly
concerned with economical and colonial issues, their ideals were nevertheless fed by the
wealth of the epoch. The Mundaneum archives were furthermore established with a clear
intention, and a major effort was done to include documen

onomical' context
of its time and in many aspects linked to a larger movement that engaged civil society towards
a proto-structure of networked society. Via the development of infrastructures for
communication and international regulations, Henri La Fontaine was part of several
international initiatives. For example he launched the 'Bureau International de la paix' as
early as 1907 and a few years after, in 1910, the 'International Union of Associations'.
Overall his interventions helped to root the process of archive collection in a larger network
of associations and regulatory structures. Otlet's view of archives and organisation extended
to all domains and La Fontaine asserted that general peace could be achieved through social
development by the means of education and access to knowledge. Their common view was
nurtured by an acute perception of their epoch, they observed and often contributed to most
of the major

, it also acted as a motivation to structure social
The project would be later known as
the World Palace or Mundaneum.
and political networks, among others via political
Here, Paul Otlet and Henri La
negotiations and the institution of civil society
Fontaine started to work on their
Encyclopaedia Universalis
organisations. Several broad structures dedicated to the
Mundaneum, an illustrated
regulation of international relations were created
encyclopaedia in the form of a mobile
simultaneous with the world

ate a world
view that would be based on international agreements
and communication systems regulated by governments and structured via civil society
organisations, rather than leaving everything to individual and commercial initiatives. Otlet
and La Fontaine spent a large part of their lives attempting to formulate a mondial society.
While La Fontaine clearly supported international networks of civil society organisations,
Otlet, according to Vincent Capdepuy[1], was the first person to use the French term
Mondialisation far ahead of his time, advocating what would become after World War II an

s’agit, si l’on peut employer cette
expression, de socialiser le droit international, comme on a socialisé le droit privé, et de
prendre à l’égard des richesses naturelles des mesures de “mondialisation”. » .

The approaches of La Fontaine and Otlet already bear certain differences, as one
(Lafontaine) emphasises an organisation based on local civil society structures which implies
direct participation, while the other (Otlet) focuses more on management and global
organisation managed

were participating to a larger movement called 'the first mondialisation', and
understand how they differ from current forms of globalisation which equally involve private
and public instances and various infrastructures.
The project of Otlet and Lafontaine took place in an era of international agreements over
communication networks. It is known and often a subject of fascination that the global project
of the Mundaneum also involved the conception of a technical infrastructure and
communication systems

the price of the stamp
allowing for postal services to be used internationally, were recent. They certainly were the
first ones during where international agreements regulated commercial interests to the benefit
of individual communication. Henri Lafontaine directly participated in these processes by
asking for the postal franchise to be waived for the transport of documents between
international libraries, to the benefit of among others the Mundaneum. Lafontaine was also
an important promoter of larger international movements that involved civil society
organisations; he was the main responsible for the 'Union internationale des associations', that
acted as a network of information-sharing, setting up modali

ivil society. Furthermore, concerns were raised to rethink social organisation that
was harmed by industrial economy and this issue was addressed in Brussels by the brand
new discipline of sociology. The 'Ecole de Bruxelles'[3] in which Otlet and La Fontaine both
took part was already very early on trying to formulate a legal discourse that could help
address social inequalities, and eventually come up with regulations that could help 'reengineer' social organisation.

The Mundaneum project differentiat

creates the General Postal
Union and aims to federate international
postal distribution.




General Conference on Weights and
Measures in Sèvres, France.




Triple Alliance,




Henri Lafontaine creates La Société Belge EVENT
de l'arbitrage et de la paix.



First colonial wars (Fachoda crisis, Boers war EVENT



Henri Lafontaine meets Paul Otlet.




Franco-Russian entente', preliminary to
the Triple entente that will be signed in




Henri Lafontaine publishes an essay Pour une PUBLICATION NATION
bibliographie de la paix.


renewed in 1902.



Otlet and Lafontaine start together the Office ASSOCIATION CITY
International de Bibliologie
Sociologique (OIBS).


Henri Lafontaine is elected senator of the
province of Hainaut and later senator of the
province of Liège-Brabant.



1895 2-4 First Conférence de Bibliographie at
September which it is decided to create the Institut
International de Bibliographie (IIB)
founded by Henri La Fontaine.


Congrès bibliographique
international in Paris.



Creation of the international Women's
suffrage alliance (IWSA) that will later
become the International Alliance of



Entente cordiale

between France and
England which defines their mutual zone of
colonial influence in Africa.




First Moroccan crisis.



1907 June Otlet and Lafontaine organise a Central


Office for International Associations
that will become the International Union
of Associations (IUA) at the first
Congrès mondial des associations
internationales in Brussels in May 1910.


Henri Lafontaine is elected president of the
Bureau international de la paix that
he previously initiated.

1908 July Congrès bibliographique
international in Brussels.





1910 May Official Creation of the International



Le Congrès International de
Bibliographie et de Documentation


More than 600 people and institutions are
listed as IIB members or refer to their methods,
specifically the UDC.


Henri Lafontaine is awarded the Nobel Price EVENT
for Peace.



Germany declares war to France and invades



Lafontaine publishes The great solution:
magnissima charta while in exile in the United


deals with issues of international cooperation
between non-governmental organizations and
with the structure of universal documentation.

Opening of the Munda


In Paul Otlet's words the Mundaneum is “an idea, an institution, a method, a
material corpus of works and collections, a building, a network.” It became a
lifelong project that he tried to establish together with Henri La Fontaine in
the beginning of the 20th century. The collaboration with Le Corbusier was
limited to the architectural draft of a centre of information, science, and
education, leading to the idea of a “World Civic Center” in Geneva.
Nevertheless the dialect

ding, in all its
symbolic representation. […] Mundaneum opus maximum.” Aside from being a centre of
documentation, information, science and education, the complex should link the Union of
International Associations (UIA), which was founded by La Fontaine and Otlet in 1907,
and the League of Nations. “A material and moral representation of The greatest Society of
the nations (humanity);” an international city located on an extraterritorial area in Geneva.[16]
Despite their different backgrounds, t

t cost a thing, was added by a master of contemporary urbanism
(Le Corbusier).”[27] Lobbying for the Cité mondiale project, That prediction doesn't cost
anything and is “preparing the ways for the coming years”, Le Corbusier wrote to Arthur

Fontaine and Albert Thomas from the International Labor Organization that prediction is
free and “preparing the ways for the coming years”.[28] Free because statistical data is always
available, but he didn't seem to consider that prediction is a form of

es mots de Paul Otlet, le Mundaneum est « une idée, une institution,
une méthode, un corpus matériel de travaux et de collections, une construction,
un réseau. » Il est devenu le projet d'une vie qu'il a tenté de mettre sur pied
avec Henri La Fontaine au début du 20e siècle. La collaboration avec Le
Corbusier se limitait au projet architectural d'un centre d'informations, de
science et d'éducation qui conduira à l'idée d'un « World Civic Center », à
Genève. Cependant, le discours dialecti

ans toute sa
représentation symbolique. […] Mundaneum opus maximum.” En plus d'être un centre de
documentation, d'informations, de science et d'éducation, le complexe devrait lier l'Union des
associations internationales (UAI), fondée par La Fontaine et Otlet en 1907, et la Ligue
des nations. « Une représentation morale et matérielle de The greatest Society of the nations
(humanité) ; » une ville internationale située dans une zone extraterritoriale à Genève.[16]
Malgré les différents m

ne coûte rien, a ajouté un maitre de l'urbanisme contemporain (Le Corbusier). »[27] En faisant
le lobby du projet de la Cité mondiale, cette prévision ne coûte rien et « prépare les années à
venir », Le Corbusier écrivit à Arthur Fontaine et Albert Thomas depuis l'Organisation
internationale de travail que la prévision était gratuite et « préparait les années à venir ».[28]
Gratuite, car les données statistiques sont toujours disponibles, cependant, il ne semblait pas

re 1895 et 1914, avant l’existence du Palais Mondial.
L’accroissement des collections ne se fera, par la suite, plus jamais dans les mêmes
En 1920, le Musée international et les institutions créées par Paul Otlet et Henri
La Fontaine occupent une centaine de salles. L’ensemble sera désormais appelé
Palais Mondial ou Mundaneum. Dans les années 1920, Paul Otlet et Henri La
Fontaine mettront également sur pied l’Encyclopedia Universalis Mundaneum,
encyclopédie illustrée composée de tableaux sur planches mobiles.

Start at Parc du Cinquantenaire 11,
Brussels in front of the entrance of
what is now Autoworld.

In 1919, significantly delayed by World War I, the Musée international finally opened. The
project had been conceptualised by Paul Otlet and Henri Lafontaine already ten years
earlier and was meant to be a mix between a documentation center, conference venue and
educational display. It occupied the left wing of the magnificent buildings erected in the Parc
Cinquantenaire for the Grand Concours Internation

en accessible to the public since 1914. The
building the Mundaneum archives
took place in the context of a growing
project would be later known as the World Palace or
internationalisation of society, while at
Mundaneum. Here, Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine
the same time the social gap was
started to work on their Encyclopaedia Universalis
increasing due to the expansion of
Mundaneum, an illustrated encyclopaedia in the form of a industrial society. Furthermore, the
internationalisation of finances and

ntérieur et se cognait inlassablement contre
l’immense baie vitrée qui fermait le bâtiment.
Annually in this room in the years after Otlet's death until the late 1960's, the
busts garlanded with floral wreaths for the occasion, Otlet and La Fontaine's
colleagues and disciples, Les Amis du Palais Mondial, met in a ceremony of
remembrance. And it was Otlet, theorist and visionary, who held their
imaginations most in beneficial thrall as they continued to work after his death, just
as they had in t

for the very first




A natural affinity exists between Google's modern project of making the world’s
information accessble and the Mundaneum project of two early 20th century
Belgians. Otlet and La Fontaine imagined organizing all the world's information on paper cards. While their dream was discarded, the Internet brought it back to
reality and it's little wonder that many now describe the Mundaneum as the paper
Google. Together, we are showing the way

Avenue de la Couronne. At the
roundabout, turn left onto
Boondaalsesteenweg. Turn left onto
Boulevard Géneral Jacques and take
tram 25 direction Rogier.

Halfway your tram-journey you pass Square Vergote (Stop: Georges Henri), where Henri
Lafontaine and Mathilde Lhoest used to live. Statesman and Nobel-prize winner Henri
Lafontaine worked closely with Otlet and supported his projects throughout his life.
Get off at the stop Coteaux and follow
Rogierstraat until number 67.


C'est à ce moment que le conseil d'administration, pour sauver les ac

intérieur, ce qui leur donnait une
impression de relief, de 3D. Un immense globe terrestre, tournant lentement sur
lui-même, occupait le centre de l’espace. Sous une voie lactée peinte à même le
plafond, les voix de Paul Otlet et d’Henri La Fontaine, interprétés par des
comédiens, s’élevaient au fur et à mesure que l’on s’approchait de tel ou tel
L’Otletaneum, c’est à dire les archives et papiers personnels ayant appartenu à
Paul Otlet, représentait un fonds impo

developed by Mondotheque are available
under a Free Art License 1.3 (C) Copyleft Attitude, 2007. You may copy,
distribute and modify them according to the terms of the Free Art License: http:// Texts and images by Paul Otlet and Henri Lafontaine are in the Public
Domain. Other materials copyright by the authors/Teksten en afbeeldingen
ontwikkeld door Mondotheque zijn beschikbaar onder een Free Art License 1.3 (C)
Copyleft Attitude, 2007. U kunt ze dus kopiëren, verspreiden en wijzigen volgens de
voorwaarden van de Free Art License: Teksten en beelden van
Paul Otlet en Henri Lafontaine zijn in het publieke domein. Andere materialen:
auteursrecht bij de auteurs/Les textes et images développées par Mondotheque sont



disponibles sous licence Art Libre 1.3 (C) Copyleft Attitude 2007. Vous pouvez
les copier, distribuer et modifier selon les termes de la Licence Art Libre: http:// Les textes et les images de Paul Otlet et Henri Lafontaine sont dans le
domaine public. Les autres matériaux sont assujettis aux droits d'auteur choisis par
les auteurs.
• ISBN: 9789081145954
Thank you/bedankt/merci: the contributors/de auteurs/les contributeurs, Yves Bernard,
Michel Cleempoel, Raphaèle


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