Tuesday, January 17, 2006

World Brain

1. about 70 years ago H.G. Wells in his book World Brain (1938)
envisioned a 'World Encyclopedia' in which multidisciplinary research information of a global nature would be gathered together and made available for the immediate use of anyone in the world.

In those days nobody could have taken him seriously but the late advancements in search engines technology raise afresh the question of the feasibility of this vision.

2. Fifty years ago Eugene Garfield invented "citation analysis" (1955) as a step in the fulfillment of H.G. Wells' World Brain vision and commented (1981) that
computer technology of our own day is beginning to make such a concept feasible.

3. Five years ago Google founders, Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page, wrote a paper about the need to make Google. They cited Garfield's work . It seems that Google (with other search engines) is another step in the fulfillment of this vision. Eric Magnuson ,for example, gave one of his Blog postings the following title: Google creating the world brain.

4. Nowadays the Web 2.0 microcontent revolution seems to be another step in the fulfillment of this World Brain vision. Gooogle users get macro-content pages (very quickly) with much more information than they need. Microcontent search engines are going to supply the exact amount of needed information and to organize it much more efficiently. H.G. Wells vision was to build a good world brain, not a jabberer.

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