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Though both scientists, Paul Otlet and Vannevar Bush, were involved in astounding scientific investigations and developments that enhanced human life by easing the accessibility of information, it is Otlet’s works that formed the basis of the afterward inventions. The ‘Forgotten Forefather’, Paul Otlet, envisioned a machine that would enable individuals to explorer, read and document information obtained from a perfunctory database, which could be contacted via a telephone line. The documents could also be linked together, a connection he termed as ‘links’. Otlet referred to his entire venture as human knowledge web. On the other hand, Vannevar Bush’s article, ‘As We May Think’, highlights the coordination of the various American scientists’ activities in the relevance of science to warfare. Bush holds up an encouragement for scientists after the end of the war and proposes that science should focus on enhancing the accessibility to knowledge stores.
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Virtually, Bush argues that a fresh correlation between the amount of an individual’s knowledge and thinking should be considered and this enhanced his venture in the ‘Memex’. I find Bush’s proposal as fascinating since quite a number of ancient scientific inventions focused on improvement of man’s accessibility to information had been done. For instance, Otlet’s inventions in information architecture where he envisioned a mobile desk structured like a wheel and powered by a series of hinged spokes under moving facades, which would enhance the users’ accessibility to volumes of stored information. Furthermore, Otlet advanced the Dewey Decimal system to what is known as the Universal Decimal Classification since he had an urge to unravel the “sources, substance and conclusions” of the books (Otlet, 2003). Contrary, the argument of Bush that in the past most scientists focused on inventions that facilitated the physical supremacy of man rather than mind domination. Moreover, his conjecture about potential technology in a way, relates to retrieval and storage of information. Bush did not speculate that computers would hoard information digitally and convert characters into digits such as Unicode.
Ultimately, technology advancements influenced him to progress the ancient inventions, especially in the information field. It is quite ironic that the advancements of Bush in the field of information architecture is wildly renowned and acknowledged yet the creator of information structural design, Paul Otlet, is regarded as,’ Forgotten Forefather’. In addition, Bush’s proposal to scientists to focus more on individual’s information attainment is rather misplaced as he utilizes the already invented work in information science history, which he regarded as war-focused, to improve on the accessibility of information to people in the society.
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