Fritz Kutter Fonds


Historical facts of documentation

“Knowledge is useful, but there is that much knowledge, that the specific need is hidden by the abundance of other knowledge, as long as we are unable to find access to that knowledge. Documentation teaches us how to recover what you have been searching for.”

Every knowledge base and every library consist of an accumulation of files. Therefore, the first approach of organization is a one-dimensional order. To retrieve a specific document you must understand the classification rules of the files. With increasing amount of files the number of rules must increase. This led to the use of keywords and registers.

In this area Fritz Kutter became a pioneer. In 1928, his register of literature for the brewery industry was the first register of this kind. The idea is described in the prologue of his book “5 x W: Wissen: wo- wie – wer- was”, Knowledge: where – how- who – what.

“In 1926 when I was a young chemist at the research lab of the Swiss brewery association, researching and analyzing the basic materials for brewing, I decided to summarize the publications of the specialists in the brewing industry. Just like the “Chemische Zentralblatt” I figured the references would serve every professional. Instead of printing these reviews in journals, which was common at that time, I decided to publish them on cards. They were the foundation of the register, which was growing continuously. In 1928, the first 16 cards appeared in a brewing journal. Every since it was issued on a monthly basis(until 1975).”

The immense effort of creating these cards is hardly imaginable. Especially the electronic data processing is offering means which were not accessible in those days. Without their basic work linked searches would not have as quickly evolved.

“Documentation became one of my hobbies, which forced me to broaden my general education.”

Today, information technology grows into every field of life.

Fritz Kutter

Fritz Kutter 1902-1985

1920 – 1924 Chemistry studies at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH)

1926 Thesis “Die Prüfung der Milchsäure”

1928 Publication of the melting point index

1934 – 1948 CEO of the Swiss Brewery “Falken”

1935 Co-founder of the Swiss organisation for documentation

1936 – 1973 Development of the industrial documentation

1940 – 1973 Editor ab 1949 Engineering company for the beverage industry and construction projects

1951 Author of “Koordinierte Klassifikation” (437 pages)

1952 – 1960 Courses about industrial documentation

1964 Author of “5xW : Wissen wo-wie-wer-was” (94 pages)

1975 Foundation of the Fritz Kutter Fund at the ETH Zürich

Regulations for the Fritz Kutter Fonds

(dated 24 November 2015)
The Executive Board of ETH Zurich, based on Art. 5 para. 1 and 2 of the Federal Act on the Federal Institutes of Technology of October 4, 1991 (SR414.110) and Art. 45 para. 3 of the financial regulations of ETH Zurich of September 28, 2005 (RSETHZ 245), decrees that

Art.1 Purpose

(1) A special fund exists at ETH Zurich under the name “Fritz Kutter Fund”, which is the result of a donation made in 1975 with the substantial assistance of Dr Fritz Kutter (1902-1985); according to the deed of donation, cash prizes are to be awarded from the assets and their income per regulations to be issued by the Executive Board of ETH Zurich in recognition of valuable work in the field of practice-oriented informatics.

(2) Eligible for the award are graduates of a Swiss college or university who, preferably in their final thesis (Master’s, Bachelor’s, Diploma, Licentiate, or Doctoral thesis), propose a practical solution in the field of information processing or describe a useful implementation of information technology findings in a business environment.

Art. 2 Proposal for the awarding of prizes

Professors and lecturers at Swiss colleges or universities may submit to the Rector of ETH Zurich for the attention of the fund’s board of trustees by the end of the spring semester (the deadline for submission is set by the board of trustees), substantiated proposals for the awarding of prizes to those graduates whose work was submitted less than one year from the date of the proposal. The submission must be in electronic form. It must be accompanied by a letter from the supervising professor containing all the necessary information about the thesis and the author and at the same time confirming that the thesis has not been submitted for another prize.

Art. 3 Board of trustees

(1) A special board of trustees shall decide on the use of the fund’s capital and income.

(2) It shall select the prizewinner from among the nominees, provided the work is of high scientific quality, determine the amount of the cash prizes and decide on other uses of the fund’s assets. 

(3) The board of trustees shall be composed of at least three members as follows, of whom no more than two-thirds shall belong to a college or university:

a) Ex officio, it shall include the Rector of ETH Zurich or a person designated by them/her/him;

b)It shall also include a member of the Dr Fritz Kutter family or a person designated by them;

c) These two members determine the number of other members, elect further members, and appoint them, as a rule, for a four-year term of office; re-election is permitted.

(4) The fund’s board of trustees is self-constituting. It shall meet at the invitation of its chairperson, but at least once a year. It may adopt its own rules of procedure and call in experts to advise it.

Art. 4 Presentation of prizes

The prizes shall be awarded at an appropriate academic ceremony.

Art. 5 Fund management

(1) The Accounting Department of ETH Zurich shall manage the fund assets. The Internal Audit of the ETH Domain shall exercise financial supervision.

(2) Awards shall be paid out by the Accounting Department of ETH Zurich.

(3) The fund may receive donations with the same or a similar purpose at any time. Unused interest shall be added to the capital.

Art. 6 Dissolution of the fund

If no prizes have been awarded for five years, the fund shall be dissolved, and the remaining capital shall be transferred to ETH Zurich for free disposal.

Art. 7 Final provisions

(1) These regulations shall enter into force on 1 January 2016.

(2) The regulations of 16 September 1987 are repealed.

Zurich, 24 November 2015

On behalf of the school management

The President: Guzzela
The Secretary-General: Bretscher