This is a short but interesting video describing excerpts from Paul Otlet’s “Tratado de Documentación”, the Book on the Book. This work seems to predict multimedia content distribution much in the way the Internet currently provides.
Paul Otlet also aimed to extract “substance” from books much like we strive to separate content from presentation on the Web, and then cross-link this substance with other contents and automatically provide enriched combinations in ways unforeseen by the original book authors. This vision is strikingly similar to Tim Berners-Lee’s late-1990s concept of the Semantic Web.
The video on Otlet fits really well with this ad from Nokia titled “The Essay”.