Der Niederländer Charles van den Heuvel beschreibt die Wurzeln des Social Web bei Paul Otlet in einem Aufsatz, der auch als Pre-Publication zur Verfügung steht:
"Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web in research from a Historical Perspective. The designs of Paul Otlet (1868-1944) for telecommuniication and machine readable documentation to organize research and society" Knowledge Organization, 36 (4) 214-226
Aus dem Abstract:
Tim Berners-Lee described in Weaving the Web his future vision of the World Wide Web in two parts. In the first one, nowadays called Web 2.0, people collaborate and enrich data together in a shared information space. … Most historical studies of World Wide Web begin with the American roots of the Internet in ARPANET or follow a historiographical line of post war information revolutionaries, from Vannevar Bush to Tim Berners-Lee. This paper follows an alternative line. At the end of the nineteenth and in the first decades of the twentieth century various European scholars, like Patrick Geddes, Paul Otlet, Otto Neurath, Wilhelm Ostwald explored the organisation, enrichment and dissemination of knowledge on a global level to come to a peaceful, universal society. We focus on Paul Otlet (1868-1944) who developed a knowledge infrastructure to update information mechanically and manually in collaboratories of scholars. … the relevance of Otlet’s knowledge infrastructure will be assessed for Web 2.0 and Semantic Web applications for research. The hypothesis will be put forward that the instruments and protocols envisioned by Otlet to enhance collaborative knowledge production, can still be relevant for current conceptualizations of ’scientific authority‘ in data sharing and annotation in Web 2.0 applications and the modeling of the Semantic Web.
Der im Abstract erwähnte Wilhelm Ostwald schrieb schon 1908 in englischer Übersetzung von 1911 über das "Netz":
„No matter how limited the circle of his knowledge, it is a part of the great net, and therefore possesses the quality by virtue of which the other parts readily join it as soon as they reach the consciousness and knowledge of the individual. The man who thus enters the realm of science acquires advantages which may be compared to those of a telephone in his residence. If he wishes to, he may be connected with every body else, though he will make extremely limited use of his privilege, since he will try to reach only those with whom he has personal relations. But once such relations have been established, the possibility of telephone communication is simultaneously and automatically established. Similarly, every bit of knowledge that the individual appropriates will prove to be a regular part of the central organization, the entire extent of which he can never cover, though each individual part has been made accessible to him, provided he wants to take cognizance of it.“
(Ostwald, W. (1911) Natural philosophy. Translated by Thomas Seltzer, with the author’s special revision for the American edition. London : Williams and Norgate, pp. 7f)