Alexander von Humboldt's Idea of Interconnectedness and its Relationship to Interdisciplinarity and Communication
Alexander von Humboldt, a German scientist and explorer of the 19th century, viewed the natural world holistically and described the harmony of nature among the diversity of the physical world as a conjoining between all physical disciplines. He noted in his diary: “Everything is interconnectedness.”
The main feature of Humboldt’s pioneering work was later named “Humboldtian science”, meaning the accurate study of interconnected real phenomena in order to find a definite law and a dynamic cause.
Following Humboldt's idea of nature, an Internet edition of his works must preserve the author’s original intention, retain an awareness of all relevant works, and still adhere to the requirements of scholarly edition.
At the present time, however, the highly unconventional form of his publications has undermined the awareness and a comprehensive study of Humboldt’s works.
Digital libraries should supply dynamic links to sources, maps, images, graphs and relevant texts. New forms of interaction and synthesis between humanistic texts and scientific observation need to be created.
Information technology is the only way to do justice to the broad range of visions, descriptions and the idea of nature of Humboldt’s legacy. It finally leads to virtual research environments as an adequate concept to redesign our digital archives, not only for Humboldt’s documents, but for all interconnected data.