Database of Dreams
The Lost Quest to Catalog Humanity
November 24, 2015
368 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Just a few years before the dawn of the digital age, Harvard psychologist Bert Kaplan set out to build the largest database of sociological information ever assembled. It was the mid-1950s, and social scientists were entranced by the human insights promised by Rorschach tests and other innovative scientific protocols. Kaplan, along with anthropologist A. I. Hallowell and a team of researchers, sought out a varied range of non-European subjects among remote and largely non-literate peoples around the globe. Recording their dreams, stories, and innermost thoughts in a vast database, Kaplan envisioned future researchers accessing the data through the cutting-edge Readex machine. Almost immediately, however, technological developments and the obsolescence of the theoretical framework rendered the project irrelevant, and eventually it was forgotten.
STEPHEN BURT, author of Belmont: Poems
ERROL MORRIS, director of The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara
The online version of Database of Dreams is made available under a Creative Commons license for use that is noncommercial. The terms of the license are set forth at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0. This free copy of the work is also made possible by the Arcadia, a UK grant-making fund whose mission is to protect endangered culture and nature and to further open access to scholarly and cultural materials.