Emanuel Goldberg and His Knowledge Machine: Information, Invention, and Political Forces

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This book tells the story of Emanuel Goldberg, a chemist, inventor, and industrialist who contributed to almost every aspect of imaging technology in the first half of the 20th century. Despite his accomplishments, history has not been kind to Goldberg, a name all but erased from the annals of information science. An incredible story emerges as Michael Buckland unearths forgotten documents and rogue citations to show that, contrary to public opinion, Goldberg created the first desktop search engine, developed microdot technology, and designed the famous Contax 35 mm camera. A fascinating and illuminating tribute to a great mind and a crucial period in the history of information science and technology.

An incredible story emerges as Buckland unearths forgotten documents and rogue citations to make the case that it was Goldberg, not Vannevar Bush, who created the first desktop search engine. Goldberg, not Professor Zapp (a figment of J. Edgar Hoover's imagination), who developed microdot technology. Goldberg, not Heinz Kueppenbender, who designed the famous Contax 35 mm camera. Buckland firmly yet engagingly gives credit where credit is due, in the process shedding light on the circumstances that led to Goldberg's obscurity. The result is an illuminating tribute to a great mind, and a fascinating investigation of a crucial period in the history of information science and technology.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[P]rovides a detailed history of the development of the film industry in Germany and in Europe as it pertains to photography, cinema, and microfilm. In particular, it covers much of the history of Zeiss Ikon, which Goldberg helped to found and where he worked until forced to flee Nazi Germany. The book provides a detailed picture of the major figures in the industry and extensive discussion of how many film technologies were developed and how they function. With more than 100 pages of reference sources listed, it is an invaluable resource on the history of film technology. It is an easy read and is impressively researched."



"More than a tribute or a history of a technology, this book is perhaps best read as a cultural history of sorts: the life story of a man and the technologies he helped to create and how both were profoundly shaped by the political and social forces of the time. The lesson implicit in Buckland's revealing narrative is that the man himself can be understood only in the context in which he was forgotten-and it is a story well worth remembering."


Libraries & the Cultural Record

"[P]rofessor Buckland's enormous achievement in bringing to light the career of a great scientist who, like many of his German and foreign colleagues, fell victim to the nationalistic madness that virtually destroyed German culture and science between 1933 and 1945. Emanuel Goldberg has at last received the understanding and recognition that his inventive genius deserved but were not possible in his lifetime. Recommended for the libraries of schools of library and information science, for schools with graduate programs in photographic technology, and for all scholars and students of the history of library technology."


College & Research Libraries

"The story of Emanuel Goldberg offers insights into ways of handling documentary information, and still more insights into the tragic effects that social and political developments can have on our lives. We can now honour him as he deserves. And thank Michael Buckland for making this possible."


Journal of Librarianship and Information Science

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Product Details

Meet the Author

MICHAEL BUCKLAND is Emeritus Professor, School of Information Management and Systems, and Co-Director of the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative, at the University of California, Berkeley. He has degrees in History from Oxford and Librarianship from Sheffield University. He has been Dean of the School of Library and Information Studies at Berkeley and President of the American Society for Information Science. Previous books include Library Services in Theory and Context (1983) and Information and Information Systems (Praeger, 1991).

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Table of Contents

1 Origins 1
2 University studies 9
3 Berlin 21
4 Sophie Posniak 29
5 Graphics 37
6 The Goldberg wedge 53
7 The Great War 69
8 Ica and the Kinamo 81
9 The Goldberg condition 99
10 Microdots 105
11 Zeiss Ikon and the Contax 119
12 Television 133
13 The 1931 Congress 141
14 The statistical machine 147
15 Ludwig, Killinger, and Mutschmann 165
16 Paris 179
17 Palestine 189
18 Military needs 207
19 The microfilm rapid selector 217
20 Finale 229
21 After Goldberg 237
22 Goldberg in retrospect 249
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