In 1934, Otlet sketched out plans for a global network of computers (or “electric telescopes,” as he called them) that would allow people to search and browse through millions of interlinked documents, images, audio and video files. He described how people would use the devices to send messages to one another, share files and even congregate in online social networks. He called the whole thing a “réseau,” which might be translated as “network” — or arguably, “web.”
In Mons, Belgium, you can visit a museum dedicated to Otlet's dream institution, called the Mundaneum.
Otlet wanted to put all of the world's knowledge into the most practical and useful storage medium of the era: a 3 X 5 index card! Instead of the free-wheeling internet, we'd have a world dominated by trained library catalogers!
World peace would have ensued.
And since Otlet's dream never came about, what happened? The Nazis destroyed much of his work.