School of Information
Previously School of Library & Information Studies
Emanuel Goldberg, 1881-1970:
Pioneer of Information Science.
Emanuel Goldberg (Portrait)
was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1881,
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
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.
Goldberg in workshop, 1943).
He died in Tel Aviv in 1970.
In 1931 he demonstrated in Dresden, London and Paris a
which combined photocell,
and microfilm for document retrieval.
His paper on it was apparently last cited in 1938.
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
(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. Selected reading:
** New **
- Die Goldberg-Papiere. Documentary film about Goldberg
by Leif Allendorf.
- Explanatory model of Goldberg's search engine ("Statistical Machine")
at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences Report; Photos.
- Aleksandr Molochan. Russian translation
of "Emanuel Goldberg, 1881-1970: Ein Lebensbild". 2013.
- Biography: Emanuel Goldberg and his Knowledge Machine: Information, Invention, and
Political Forces, by Michael Buckland. (Libraries Unlimited, 2006). See
- German edition entitled:
Vom Mikrofilm zur Wissensmaschine: Emanuel Goldberg zwischen Medientechnik
und Politik. Avinus Verlag, Berlin, 2010. ISBN 978-3-86938-015-5.
- Video of Ars Electronica Festival 2013 lecture on Goldberg.
- The Robert-Luther-Stiftung Emanuel
- Leif Allendorf video: Emanuel Goldberg oder Die Suchmaschine von
- 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.
- M. Buckland. The Kinamo movie camera. Zeiss Historica: Journal of the Zeiss
Historica Society 30, no. 1 (Spring 2009): 5-10.
- Wikipedia entry at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emanuel_Goldberg.
- 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.
- M. Buckland. Histories,
Heritages, and the Past: The Case of
Emanuel Goldberg. (CHF Conference, 2002).
- M. Buckland.
Emanuel Goldberg, 1881-1970: Ein Lebensbild.
- 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:
- 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 (1995): 17-19.
- M. Buckland. Zeiss Ikon's "Statistical Machine".
Zeiss Historica 17 (1995): 6-7.
- For the Zeiss companies see the Zeiss Historica Society website
or to Michael Buckland's