3.00 FYI France: Ejournal and archive

by Jack Kessler, kessler@well.sf.ca.us

March 15, 2000 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on March 15, 2000.

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3.00 FYI France: Ejournal and archive

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Versions of the following have appeared online regularly, since 1992, as a feature of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which is distributed for free via email every month except August. Ejournal subscriptions may be obtained via email request to: kessler@well.sf.ca.us

Here this file is one of a number made available -- hopefully attractively, all in one place, and relevant to libraries and online digital information work in France and Europe -- as part of FYI France (sm)(tm), an online service to which anyone can subscribe for 12 months by postal mailing a check for US $45, payable to Jack Kessler, to PO Box 460668, San Francisco, California, USA 94146 (site licenses also are available): please write your email address on the front of your check. Please email suggestions for improvements to me at kessler@well.sf.ca.us


FYI France -- two new "digital libraries"

A couple of interesting new "digital libraries" in France:

1) the "government action" model --

* La Petite Bibliothèque de France


Resources: etexts, author biographies, bibliographies, images, more... Aragon, Bataille, Bernanos, Breton, Chateaubriand, Descartes, Des Forêts, Giono, La Fontaine, La Rochefoucauld, Lévi - Strauss, Mallarmé, Malraux, Maupassant, Sarraute, Sévigné, Simon, Voltaire...

A wonderfully - useful first stop for anyone who just has learned French and wants to try the language out on its literature -- as well as for anyone with already - good French who would like to see that literature in its latest "support" incarnation...

Implications: an amazing example of what government really can do, very well, online --

The French Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, which houses the site, is one of the several official national governmental agencies devoted to presenting the image of France overseas.

So they show what's good. You can find a lot that is very good on the Foreign Ministry site, L'Espace Culturel,


grouped under Bibliothèque,

(this includes a fascinating Scriptorium de Toulouse -- L'atelier s'est... destiné à restaurer l'enseignement de la lettre dans le cadre de l'école des beaux - arts locale...)

and Musique,

(with an interesting timeline, une galerie de compositeurs, offering biographies and bibliographies and discographies and online soundbytes)

and Cinéma,

(not much online here, yet -- still nervous about Hollywood, I suppose...)

and Archéologie,

(very complete online "carnets" on various international sites, for example "Loma Alta" in Michoacan, Mexico, and "Les Ibères" -- Torre Cremada, La Picola, La Rábita -- in Spain)

and Ressources,

(includes a Guide Internet pour Débutants -- see how the French & non - English - speakers in general try to learn this digital / Internet stuff!...)

The site is well organized and attractively presented. Government in France does not always create what it offers, but it coordinates and packages what it does offer very well -- a service feature particularly important in this country known for private sector competition which debilitates, rather than strengthens, unless / until government steps in at some point -- and in an era of "the image is everything", particularly in the digital world, packaging does count for a lot.

And my perennial question for anyone wondering at how different this French "governmental" approach is from that used in the US: which will be more typical of the many other nations now in need of coordination and packaging of online information -- US commercial "free enterprise", or this French "governmental" approach?...


2) a "site for students" --

At the same time there is individual initiative under way online in France, in this case in a "student assistance" arena very typical, again, of many nations outside of the US:

* Bibelec.com -- Bibliothèque Electronique des Etudiants


a) Documents (545) -- major etext extracts considered useful for student - level studying / cramming in a variety of subjects; including, for example,

All wonderful reading -- fascinating for its lack of context, inadequate bibliographic citation, serendipitous selection -- and also for the insight which all of this provides into a "foreign" educational process, see below.

b) Nouveautés. The Bibelec site appears to be very active. A long list of "new additions" is presented. One might gain a substantial and increasing knowledge of at least the leading intellectual subjects -- if not their details -- current in France simply by keeping up with this list. Recently added, for example:

-- a lot going on.

c) Lectures. These appear to be longer texts by major authors -- as opposed to analysis of same by others, which appear as "Documents" (above). For example the "Lecture" here for "Arendt (Hannah), Le Système totalitaire" consists of the "Troisième partie de Les origines du Totalitarisme, 1951, traduction française 1972". Again, a great variety of some very interesting texts is offered:

d) Liens. And of course there are "links" -- in the case of this site, some very interesting leads on education - oriented resources in all of the site's aforementioned major subject areas, organized very well in a congenial "Yahoo" - like format.


* One overall reflection, on how "French" this "students'" site is:

There are major sections in every general bookstore in France, and many entire bookstores, which cater to "scholars" -- to university students, somewhat, but particularly to secondary school students under a very severe parental and societal gun to get into higher education... somehow...

Test - driven education systems train students to do well on the test: creativity, original thinking, independent research, random intellectual linkages -- none of these find much place in a 4 - hour, or 4 - day, nationally - supervised exam. Try as hard as reformers might to change this, the students inevitably end up cramming: whatever can be fit into the head is crammed in, to be spilled out onto the paper at exam time.

That this national - examination - centered system seems "foreign" to many in the US is precisely the point, here: for this is in fact the system used in education in most places -- more even in the UK than in the US, even more in France, far more still in other countries, and attaining legendary proportions in places like India and China and Japan.

In most places in the world, in other words, "education" is not the matter of "creativity, original thinking, independent research" which education at least advertises in the US, but more that of "passing The Exam", the task which students face in France. "Academic" libraries, and libraries in general in France long have been geared to this approach -- long have been inadequate for this reason, their critics say.

So, if the educational aim is different? As it is in most places?... So don't sniff at the "Cliff's Notes" / "Barnes & Noble Outline" nature of Bibelec.com -- here is a "student" digital library which can offer valuable insight into the process of being a "student" in the non - U.S. educational world.


* And yes, this Website is "in France": for reasons which forever will remain obscure to this particular Internaut, the DNS has illogically and statistically uselessly assigned a ".com" to this service, which "whois" says is physically located at "40 rue Notre Dame de Nazareth, Paris 75003" -- in Cyberspace it's "all the same", as the cynical song says, which is one of Cyberspace's emerging Big Problems.

So -- two new "digital libraries", in France, each with a very different twist on the usual...



FYI France (sm)(tm) e-journal                   ISSN 1071 - 5916

      |           FYI France (sm)(tm) is a monthly electronic
      |           journal published since 1992 as a small-scale,
      |           personal experiment, in the creation of large- 
      |           scale "information overload", by Jack Kessler. 
     / \          Any material written by me which appears in 
    -----         FYI France may be copied and used by anyone for 
   //   \\        any good purpose, so long as, a) they give me 
  ---------       credit and show my email address, and, b) it 
 //       \\      isn't going to make them money: if it is going 
		  to make them money, they must get my permission 
in advance, and share some of the money which they get with me. 
Use of material written by others requires their permission. 
FYI France archives may be found at http://infolib.berkeley.edu 
(search fyifrance), or http://www.cru.fr/listes/biblio-fr@cru.fr/
(BIBLIO-FR archive), or http://listserv.uh.edu/archives/pacs-l.html
(PACS-L archive) or http://www.fyifrance.com . Suggestions, 
reactions, criticisms, praise, and poison-pen letters all will be 
gratefully received at kessler@well.sf.ca.us .

        	Copyright 1992- , by Jack Kessler, 
	all rights reserved except as expressed above.


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Last update: March 15, 2000