3.00 FYI France: Ejournal and archive

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

June 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 June 15, 2003.

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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
 

--oOo--
 

Announcement from the Ecole Nationale des Chartes

 

The Ecole Nationale des Chartes just posted the following to the Web, of interest to anyone who uses their excellent resources --

[This is the Paris school, founded in 1821, so valuable for its work on behalf of students of history, librarians, rare book aficionados, paleographers, fans of illuminated manuscripts: the art of interpreting the rare ancient document begins here --

-- the latest, from the Ecole:

-- and the other two new Ecole des Chartes online resources --

"And since May the catalog of the library of the Ecole has been accessible online at:

"And 'Theleme, Techniques pour l'historien en ligne : etudes, manuels, exercices' has been expanded during the last few weeks with the addition of a Guide to the Publication of Texts from the Modern Era (16th-18th c.),

"and a Guide to Indexing, both by Bernard Barbiche,

"and Olivier Guyotjeannin's bibliographies of medieval diplomacy and medieval diplomacy have been updated."

 

--oOo--

 

Note: The ideas that "text" might be a thing independent of its "support", and that the "document" might include things other than printing or the written word on paper, have been difficult to internalize: for the 20th century as they were for the 19th, when Victor Hugo had one of his characters proclaim "ceci tuera cela" -- and as they must have been for any prior era which has seen a "transition in media" of any sort.

Now, in the 21st century, the most recent transition appears to be complete. Digital media appear to be pervasive, the "texts" which they purvey inundate us daily, the "supports" which carry them have faded "transparently" into the woodwork, as predicted.

But there is a chaos, in all of this, rather than an order. We do not see through our information glass at all, some times, much less clearly. Our information overload inundation causes Congressional hearings, now, to deal with the "spam" which takes up over half of our email, and the "viruses" and "worms" which gnaw through our information systems.

And the information, or more accurately the undifferentiated "data", just keeps coming: our latest model cars carry more processing power in them than our office information machines of recent personal memory did... and our newest motorcycles offer GPS guidance systems...

Historical approaches help. The difficulty, these days, lies in finding schools which combine them with real working knowledge of the latest information systems techniques. The users know how to do this: the gum-chewing 14 - year - old who downloads her iPod Aguilera songs to her flipphone for sending to a friend's "mix" while she chats in realtime, oral or written, and incidentally finishes up a school multimedia presentation on her laptop, understands all this... Perhaps if we wait for her to grow up...

But in the meantime the rest of us could use a little enlightenment, or at least some shafts of insight, as to how Society has coped with previous "transitions in media". The Ecole des Chartes is, by virtue of its position alone, providing this: qua history institution devoted to "information", they know much about the handwritten and illuminated and printed "documents" of our past. And now they are "going digital", as well, nevertheless holding onto the best of the past as they do so...

Some hope, then, for continuity: a little chaos occasionally is a good thing -- "a little revolution, now and then", as Jefferson put it -- although perhaps not as much as we now have with digital information overload...

But it would be a shame and very expensive if, going forward, armed with our new iPods and flipphones and multimedia Infotainment tricks, we could not learn at least a bit from our past as well. The mess of digital media and output which we face now is not our first encounter with an Age of Incunabula, after all. Hopefully the Ecole des Chartes will help.

 

--oOo--

 

--hjlm--

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W3 site maintained at http://www.fyifrance.com
Document maintained by: Jack Kessler, kessler@well.sf.ca.us
Last update: August 25, 2003