Alex Wright (New-York Times) & Boyd Rayward (Biographer of Paul Otlet, University of Illinois)

In the framework of the 30th anniversary of the official creation of the Internet,

In partnership with Google and the University of Ghent:

Lecture of Alex Wright, director "User Experience" at the New-York Times & Boyd Rayward, biographer of Paul Otlet (University of Illinois, USA)

“The Web That Wasn't:  The Forgotten Forebears of the Internet”

Over the past two decades, the World Wide Web has taken its place in the daily lives of millions of people who use it to search, share and publish information. The Web has by now assumed such a dominant cultural position that it may seem difficult to imagine alternatives. But in the years leading up to Tim Berners-Lee's world-changing invention, pioneering information scientists were exploring a wide range of concepts, systems and technologies that were designed to try to provide the kinds of information access that are today globally and instantly available through the Internet and World Wide Web. Some of these pioneers contributed directly to what was to follow. Some of their ideas remain as guidelines for developments still to come; others fell into oblivion and have had to be rediscovered and reassessed.

All of their work, however, is of the greatest interest historically in providing a range of contexts for assessing the extent of what has been achieved, the problems of what remains to be done and the nature of the increasingly complex information-based society within which we live.

These presentations will explore aspects of the work of such visionaries as Paul Otlet (founder of Mundaneum), Vannevar Bush, Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, Andy Van Dam, Wendy Hall and others who have contributed so much to setting the stage for the drama of today’s digitized networked world.

  • Alex Wright is the Director of User Experience at The New York Times and a lecturer in design history at the School of Visual Arts in New York City -
    + read "The web time forgot"in The New-York Times (June 2008)
    + see the interview of Alex Wright in the framework of the "Renaissance 2.0" exhibit
    + see the Al Wright webpage on the New-York World Science Festival 2012

  • Boyd Rayward, first biographer of Paul Otlet in 1974, is emeritus professor in the Universities of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia and Illlinois in the USA
    + see the Ben Lewis "Google and the world brain" documentary trailer premiered at Sundance festival 2013
    + see the interview of Boyd Rayward in the framework of the "Renaissance 2.0" exhibit
    + see the Boyd Rayward webpage


    Boyd Rayward / Alex Wright & "Glut: Mastering information through the age" / "Google and the world Brain" (Ben Lewis, Sundance Festival 2013):

Le mardi 12 mars 2013 à 19h30

La même conférence sera organisée à l'Université de Gand le mercredi 13 mars


The lecture will take place at the Universty of Ghent on March 13

English spoken
3 euros (students: 1 euro)