By: Ryan Hedrick
This past October, Indiana University Information and Library Science Professor Ron Day delivered a keynote talk at an international symposium examining the contributions of key figures of Cosmopolitanism during the early 20th century.
The conference “Instruments for Peace? Albert Kahn, Henri Bergson and the Legacy of Belle Époque Cosmopolitanism,” took place on Oct. 25, 2022, at the Albert Kahn Museum in Paris, France.
Day kicked off the first section of the day-long conference with his keynote talk, “The idea of the global archive from Albert Kahn and Paul Otlet to Wikipedia and Google. A critical overview.” In his talk Day discussed the Archives of the Planet, an effort at an expansive photographic collection of human culture. The project was initiated by French philanthropist, Albert Kahn.
“I did a talk on the man who founded the Archives of the Planet, which was, at the time, a major attempt to have a universal collection of photographs of the cultures of the world,” Day said.
In his talk, Day said he focused on the general idea and history of universal archives and libraries. He specifically noted that the Archive of the Planet serves as an amazing example of a universal collection and compared it to other similar efforts from across history, such as the Mundaneum in Brussels. Day even drew parallels between these early archival examples and modern knowledge practices being used today across the internet and different scientific fields.
While he was unable to attend the conference in person and had to give his talk virtually, Day said he always enjoys participating in international events like this and felt like his talk was well received by those who attended.