Existing and Knowing. Between Seeking Information and Seeking Attention

Hyperdocumentation: a strong word, a hyperbole that seems to characterize a paradox. The dominant discourses evoke more data, the Big Data fantasy, cloud computing issues, artificial intelligence, algorithmic processing, information flow and the outstanding successes of disinformation. Documents seem to have disappeared, to be neglected or even to be the symbol of a bygone past. Therefore, claiming to study hyperdocumentation may seem like a provocation. However, the purpose of this book is to show that the current documentary context constitutes an additional stage in a human construction that took place over several centuries or even millennia and that has been accelerating since the end of the 19th century.

The concept of hyperdocumentation comes from the Belgian lawyer, bibliographer, father of documentation and visionary Paul Otlet (1868–1944) who gave us its characteristics in 1934 in the Traité de Documentation (Otlet 1934). The concept is notably linked to the concept of hyperintelligence, which proves to be just as complex in Otlet’s work, because it refers to other representations of the evolution of humanity.

The aim of this book is therefore to show how this concept can be fully operational by demonstrating that documents have not disappeared and that documentary contexts remain present and have, on the contrary, grown in size and complexity.

Indeed, the evolution of documentary ...

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