This story from the NYT is probably being linked and emailed all over the place. All I have to add, which someone else must have said already, is that this is a Borges story come to life.
Also that it is massively cool, and that I miss 3x5 cards, which came into use in (I think) the 15th c. as temporary records scribbled on the backs of playing cards. Like other temporary measures, they worked surprisingly well and stuck in use. Anyway....
'In 1934, Otlet sketched out plans for a global network of computers (or “electric telescopes,” as he called them) that would allow people to search and browse through millions of interlinked documents, images, audio and video files. He described how people would use the devices to send messages to one another, share files and even congregate in online social networks. He called the whole thing a “réseau,” which might be translated as “network” — or arguably, “web.”' (NYT)
And 'reseau' can also be translated as fishnet, so the older meaning of 'web' - thing that is woven - is closer than it might seem.