Mankind is at a turning point in its history. The mass of data acquired is astounding. We need new instruments to simplify it, to condense it, or intelligence will never be able to overcome the difficulties imposed upon it or achieve the progress that it foresees and to which it aspires. Paul Otlet, Treaties on Documentation, 1934
Before the advent of information technology and of the World Wide Web, a project synthesized at once the need to concentrate all human knowledge in a single, accessible place, and the capacity of providing an efficient system to remotely and effectively retrieve all of this information. This project was the Mundaneum.
Conceived by two Belgian jurists, Paul Otlet (1868-1944), father of modern documentation and indexing techniques, and Henri La Fontaine (1854-1943), Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1910, the Mundaneum is considered as a precursor of network-based knowledge systems and of the Internet itself.