I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the Mundaneum, but if you haven’t, I suggest you do. It will be reopening in June 2015. Inside, you can find out all about the work of two Belgians, two visionaries, who, in their time, came up with the ancestor of Google... By inventing Universal Decimal Classification and the Universal Bibliographical Repertory, Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine developed an ingenious system to gather together all the knowledge of the world.
Actions concrètes pour les Montois
But why am I telling you about this? Well, you must have heard about the arrival of Google and its Data Center in Saint-Ghislain?The arrival of the American giant filled a fair few column inches. But did you know that the Mundaneum has become one of the company’s partners, and lots of projects have been carried out here?After sponsoring the Renaissance 2.0 exhibition in the archive centre in 2013, Google invested in lots of different projects to promote access to the Internet and information technology for everybody. A FabLab at the University of Mons, a social network for young soloists via the Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia, Wifi at the Manège, 3D tools for tours of Saint-Ghislain Abbey, a treasure hunt to rediscover the origins of Sainte-Waudru Collegiate Church... The Mons region is now a benchmark for the digital world. The blog, discusses all the latest initiatives.
Take a look at all the things you can do with the latest technology
One project in particular caught my eye, and I think you might be interested too. It’s the Google Cultural Institute
Google has created a huge platform to help archive centres and museums around the world to publish and raise the profile of their archives and collections. 700 archive centres from all four corners of the world publish their work on it. There are online exhibitions, museum collections from all over the globe, and even international heritage sites to explore via street view.
All the treasures of the world are just on the other side of your screen...
Le Mundaneum en première ligne
Three archive centres in Belgium are playing an active role in the project, and theMundaneum is one of them. In practical terms, from the comfort of your own home, you can browse the collections of the Mundaneum in just a few clicks of the mouse button!Every three months, Mons’ archive centre publishes a new exhibition. Feminism in Belgium, the Belgian media during the First World War, the origins of the Internet... An unbelievable number of documents that few had access to before are now available for everybody. Thanks to these new tools, the vision of Otlet and La Fontaine, who were committed to sharing the knowledge of the world with as many people as possible, has never been closer to reality.
Ladies and gentlemen, history fans and culture vultures, you know what you have to do digital archives
All that’s left for me to say is enjoy the experience!