Access to tools

"Access to tools" was a slogan on the cover of the Whole Earth Catalog, a collection of DIY books and tools, mostly focused on fundamental needs. From the first edition:

Function

The WHOLE EARTH CATALOG functions as an evaluation and access device. With it, the user should know better what is worth getting and where and how to do the getting.

An item is listed in the CATALOG if it is deemed:

  1. Useful as a tool,
  2. Relevant to independent education,
  3. High quality or low cost,
  4. Not already common knowledge,
  5. Easily available by mail.

CATALOG listings are continually revised according to the experience and suggestions of CATALOG users and staff.

Purpose

We are as gods and might as well get good at it. So far, remotely done power and glory—as via government, big business, formal education, church—has succeeded to the point where gross defects obscure actual gains. In response to this dilemma and to these gains a realm of intimate, personal power is developing—power of the individual to conduct his own education, find his own inspiration, shape his own environment, and share his adventure with whoever is interested. Tools that aid this process are sought and promoted by the WHOLE EARTH CATALOG.

The first catalog was divided 7 categories:

  • Understanding Whole Systems
  • Shelter and Land Use
  • Industry and Craft
  • Communications
  • Community
  • Nomadics
  • Learning

Resources