Before our very eyes an immense machinery for intellectual work is being constructed. This machinery will serve as a veritable mechanical and collective brain. A universal publication system condensing all of the fragmentary and individual data and kept constantly up to date must be assembled for each branch of the sciences and other activities. This network must link production centers, distributors, and users. Any person with data to be made known or propositions to present or defend will be able to do so. Or with a minimum of effort and a guarantee of quality safety will be able to obtain any information.Paul Otlet, writing in 1934.
Much more worth reading here. It's pretty fascinating stuff - he basically imagined the internet and hypertext before there was such a thing, and created his own fantastic data retrieval system involving over 17 million index cards.