Professor Emeritus W. Boyd Rayward was recently interviewed in Mons, Belgium, at a meeting of scholars involved in the HyperOtlet research project. This multi and transdisciplinary project is focused on Le Traité de documentation, a major book in the history of information sciences that was written in 1934 by Paul Otlet, a Belgian lawyer, bibliographer, internationalist, and pacifist whose ideas foreshadowed current digital and other technologies such as the Internet, hypertext, and Wikipedia.
The goal of HyperOtlet is "to study the articulation between documentation technologies and modes of knowledge organization, presentation, and visualization." Collaborators on the project include the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Sciences d’Information et des Bibliothèques in Lyon; the laboratory, Médiations, Informations, Communications, Arts of the Université Bordeaux Montaigne; the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris; and The Mundaneum, the Archive Centre of the Wallonia-Brussels Fédération, in Mons. HyperOtlet is supported by the French Centre de Recherche Scientifique.
Rayward, a historian of information science and the scholar who brought attention to the life and work of Otlet, also serves as a member of the Scientific Committee of a symposium to mark the culmination of HyperOtlet. The symposium will be held in March 2021 in Paris.
Rayward is an emeritus professor in the iSchool at Illinois and the School of Information Systems, Technology and Management of the University of New South Wales. He earned a PhD from the University of Chicago and an MS in library science from the University of Illinois. During his career, he has held professorial and deanship positions; has served as editor for Library Quarterly, Library Trends, and special issues of several journals; and was awarded the 2004 American Society for Information Science and Technology Research Award.