3.00 FYI France: Ejournal and archive

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

February 15, 2003 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on February 15, 2003.

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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


Digital Libraries in France -- a selection


Amid all the current France - bashing and US - bashing, it seems incumbent upon those of us who love both countries to search for common ground.

Among the latter are the cultural achievements of the French, which now are benefiting so greatly from good digital information work being conducted on both sides of the Atlantic. One result has been the wonderful resources of the latest French Digital Libraries -- a selection of which, all new or recently - expanded, follows here (each entry is preceded by *) --



And one general note: I cannot personally imagine, yet, how anyone is going to unify the bibliographic / meta - indexing / etc. description of all of this... Online I actively read several resources currently devoted to trying this, just for US etexts -- and they are a long way, still, from getting even that one done.

So how are we going to cope, I wonder, with this enormous and rapidly growing corpus of online etexts in French and of the French? Are the French in touch with the US indexing efforts? And the latter with the former? And are differences being discussed, and resolved? How about those accents aigus?...

And this is the tip of the iceberg, of course -- the French tip, which I am so fond of reiterating is my own personal entry point always to the much broader subject. The French, still -- current "Iraq War" France - bashing and US - bashing fun notwithstanding -- being most like "us" in the Anglo - American digital world.

As in geopolitics, if we can't get along with the French, in bibliographic and etext description, how are we going to cope with all of the Russian and Arabic and Chinese and other even more unfamiliar etext which increasingly is out there, in the enormous and expanding online digital information universe?

Because the customer doesn't care. The Voltaire reader does not want to be told that she must go here to find this text, or there to find that text -- or that the "undergraduate edition" is in the "undergraduate library", and that only the untouchable "first edition" is in the "rare books" library -- or that her "ebook reader" must be used for one text, while her "laptop" must be used for another -- or that one text handles accents aigus one way, while another requires something different...

The Voltaire reader just wants to read "Candide". She doesn't care what package it comes in, or who sold it to her, or how much work everybody has put into it. She has a test on it next week and simply needs to read and understand the words... And it really would be nice if she could get at all of the versions currently available to her online, if choices among them might be made, so that she can be the one to make them...

For this we are going to need bibliographic description of online etexts -- of all of them.


ps. I am experimenting here, once again, with accented characters -- for the many readers who patiently contact me requesting same, instead of my eccentric little personal protest against the rigidities of ASCII, "comme c,a". Anyone who experiences any sort of problem in reading the French accents shown here, however, is implored to contact me, again, at kessler@well.sf.ca.us, with some sort of description of the difficulty. And, I'll send you an un - accented or "comme c,a" version of this... This stuff still is not obvious, to me or to anyone else, and I continue to believe that it will not scale up to international / multi - lingual applications as well as its enthusiasts think it will.





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M. Eiffel

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Last update: April 18, 20ll