7The Hyperdocumentalists of Our Lives


I want all my papers, manuscripts, notes, documents, to be preserved after my death in their unity, those which served me to prepare the Palais Mondial and what must be between the International City and the intellectual synthesis in which I worked. What I have been able to realize and publish is only a small part of what I have conceived, projected, studied, imagined. I wish that this ensemble remains one as in my thought it is one, and even though I would have had the time to give it this intellectual and material unity (documentary) that I propose to give it, my friends honor my memory by realizing this will. This desire which is formulated only in the conviction that my life was one and that alive I could have increased still much the work of the P.M., dead I could by these manuscripts continue to work there. (Excerpt from Otlet’s will, addition 45, dated September 30, 1923, author’s translation)

Documentary production with personal or individual value implies thinking about its transmission. Otlet’s will, which he corrected throughout his life, especially after the announcement of the death of his son Jean during the First World War, is an interesting document for understanding the will of a man to ensure the transmission of a work that is difficult to fully distinguish from his life itself. The Mundaneum is thus an Otletaneum and probably the reciprocal is true, as the epitaph he chose proves: “Here lies Paul Otlet. He was ...

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