School of Information
  Previously School of Library & Information Studies

  Michael Buckland.

  Emanuel Goldberg, 1881-1970:
Pioneer of Information Science.

*New* Hungarian translation by Elana Pavlet, 2016.
*New* Емануел Голдберг, 1881-1970: Пионер на информатичката наука, Macedonian translation by Katerina Nestiv, 2016.
*New* Portuguese translation by Diana Gomes at, 2017.
*New* Эмануэль Гольдберг, 1881-1970 годы, Russian translation by Alex Marchenko, 2017.
    Emanuel Goldberg (Portrait) was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1881, a chemist, inventor, and industrialist who contributed to almost all aspects of imaging technology in the first half of the twentieth century: photographic sensitometry, reprographics, standardized film speeds, color printing (moiré effect), aerial photography, extreme microphotography (microdots), optics, camera design (the Contax), the important, early hand-held Kinamo movie camera, and early television technology. He received his doctorate from Wilhelm Ostwald's institute in Leipzig in 1906.
    The "Goldberg condition" is a design principle for photography and movie sound tracks.
    In 1933, when head of the world's largest camera firm, Zeiss Ikon in Dresden, Germany, he was kidnapped by Nazis and disappeared into oblivion. In fact, he went first to Paris and then to Tel Aviv, where he set up a precision instruments workshop, which became a major Israeli firm, El-Op. (Photo: Goldberg in workshop, 1943). He died in Tel Aviv in 1970.
    In 1931 he demonstrated in Dresden, London and Paris a "Statistical Machine" which combined photocell, circuitry, and microfilm to make a search engine to find and display stored documents. (Description). His paper on it appears to have remained uncited for fifty years. Vannevar Bush attempted to build a similar machine in 1938-1940, calling it a Microfilm Rapid Selector. Bush's fantasy on what such a machine might do, "As we may think", became famous. Goldberg and his machine were forgotten. (Article on Goldberg, Bush, and retrieval).
    Goldberg lived in distant worlds during exciting times: Czarist Russia; the Kingdom of Saxony; the Weimar Republic; Palestine under the Mandate. He did not reminisce much, even to his children; the records of his firms were destroyed by bombing (Dresden) and flood (Israel); his writings are often in obscure German publications; he burned most of his own papers. His successors (Nazis and communists) did not honor Jewish capitalists. Some contributions in Israel are still classified.
    Biography: Emanuel Goldberg and his knowledge machine: Information, invention, and political forces, by Michael Buckland. (Libraries Unlimited, 2006). Link.
Also: Additions, Corrections, and Reviews.
- German edition entitled: Vom Mikrofilm zur Wissensmaschine: Emanuel Goldberg zwischen Medientechnik und Politik. Avinus Verlag, Berlin, 2010. ISBN 978-3-86938-015-5. Link.   Book review.
Other resources:
** NEW ** Goldberg exhibit in Dresden opens March 10, 2017.
- The Goldberg Papers / Die Goldberg-Papiere. Documentary film about Goldberg by Leif Allendorf. Forthcoming. Trailer, 2015, in English and German.
** NEW ** The Goldberg Condition. Documentary film about Goldberg by Niels Chr. Bolbrinker & Kerstin Stutterheim, 2017, English and German with subtitles. Prospectus
- Explanatory model of Goldberg's search engine ("Statistical Machine") at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences Report; Photos.
- Video of Ars Electronica Festival 2013 lecture on Goldberg.
- The Robert-Luther-Stiftung Emanuel Goldberg Prize.
- M. Buckland. Zeiss in Dresden. Zeiss Historica: Journal of the Zeiss Historica Society 34, no. 1 (Spring 2012): 19-24.
- Leif Allendorf video: Emanuel Goldberg oder Die Suchmaschine von 1931, 2011.
- S. Gilgenkrantz. Grandeur et vicissitudes de deux grandes compagnies d'optique allemande. III. Zeiss Ikon et l'elimination d'Emanuel Goldberg. M/S : médecine/sciences : revue internationale des sciences biomédicales Vol 27, no 5 (mai 2011): 541-545.
- M. Buckland. Ivens, Goldberg and the Kinamo. The Ivens Magazine. European Foundation Joris Ivens, Nr 14-15 (July 2009): 16-20. pdf.
- M. Buckland. The Kinamo movie camera. Zeiss Historica: Journal of the Zeiss Historica Society 30, no. 1 (Spring 2009): 5-10.
- Wikipedia entry at
- Goldberg film program, Kino Arsenal, Berlin, March 9, 2009; also 11th Dresdner Schmalfilmtag, Dresden, Jan 23, 2010: Ralf Forster: The Kinamo Story, parts 1 and 2.
- M. Buckland, The Kinamo camera, Emanuel Goldberg, and Joris Ivens. Film History 20, no, 1 (2008): 49-58. Text.   Preprint.
- M. Buckland. Histories, Heritages, and the Past: The Case of Emanuel Goldberg. (CHF Conference, 2002).
- M. Buckland. Emanuel Goldberg, 1881-1970: Ein Lebensbild. (Auf deutsch). Russian translation by Aleksandr Molochan: Эмануэль Гольдберг, 1881-1970: История жизни.
- M. Buckland. Emanuel Goldberg, electronic document retrieval, and Vannevar Bush's Memex. Journal of the American Society for Information Science 43 (1992): 284-94.
- M. Buckland. On the cultural and intellectual context of European Documentation in the early twentieth century. Chapter 2, pp 44-57, in: European Modernism and the Information Society: informing the present, understanding the past, ed. W. Boyd Rayward. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2007. pdf.
- E. Goldberg. The retrieval problem in photography (1932). Translation & notes by M. Buckland. Journal of the American Society for Information Science 43 (1992): 295-298.
- M. Buckland. Zeiss Ikon and television: Fernseh AG. Zeiss Historica 17 (Autumn 1995): 17-19.Online, also html.
- M. Buckland. Zeiss Ikon's "Statistical Machine". Zeiss Historica 17 (Spring 1995): 6-7.Online, also html.
- For Zeiss history see the Zeiss Historica Society website For online publications see also

Go to History  or Selection, or to Michael Buckland's Home Page.