We all know Al Gore invented the internet. Did you know Bush invented Google? Search Marketing Info has a fascinating history of search engines, chockablock full of useful information about both their history and the nuts and bolts of how they work. And according to them, back in 1945, Bush came up with the idea of a searchable database, and published it in the Atlantic Monthly.
No silly, not George Bush; Vannevar Bush:
Specialization becomes increasingly necessary for progress, and the effort to bridge between disciplines is correspondingly superficial.
The difficulty seems to be, not so much that we publish unduly in view of the extent and variety of present day interests, but rather that publication has been extended far beyond our present ability to make real use of the record. The summation of human experience is being expanded at a prodigious rate, and the means we use for threading through the consequent maze to the momentarily important item is the same as was used in the days of square-rigged ships.
A record, if it is to be useful to science, must be continuously extended, it must be stored, and above all it must be consulted.