“How Patents Became Documents, or Dreaming of Technoscientific Order, 1895-1937”

Eva Hemmungs Wirtén’s first article in the PASSIM-project: “How Patents Became Documents, or Dreaming of Technoscientific Order, 1895-1937” is now published in Journal of Documentation (2019) Vol 75 Issue 3, pp 577-592,. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-11-2018-0193

In it, and based on Paul Otlet’s 1937 image of the mountain range of documents to the left (where patents are one among seven types of informational inclines), she argues:

“Patents are indistinguishable from the
structures of the information age; indeed, they have helped build these structures in the first
place, producing their own administrative and expertise communities, straddling the
national and the international, becoming dependent on systems of classification, sorting and
ordering, as indeed, acting every bit as the social texts that they are.
Simply put, more research is warranted on the embeddedness – historical as well as
contemporary – of patents in informational systems. Such embeddedness has been
constitutive of the patent system for more than a century but still remains
under-researched.”

 

 

 

Laboratorium Mundaneum: Powerhouse of Documentation. [December 28, 1937] (Mons, Mundaneum EUM 8694©)
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