3.00 FYI France: Ejournal and archive

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

October 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 October 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


InfoScience research in France -- "The Document"


A chance to read some of the latest thinking in France on "the document / the electronic document", and to participate in online discussions of same...

The STIC / Sciences et Technologies de l'Information division, of the CNRS / Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, has established a research group on "The Document". And, just published, a synthesis of the collective work of 50 researchers: and they are hoping to get some international discussion of this going online now, via a new email list --


The links:

-- all of the above being nimble thinking, of a "French" approach perhaps usefully compared, and contrasted, to approaches to the same "document" & "documentation" topic(s) which have appeared elsewhere...


* A Note *

As formats and uses of digital technology change, and develop, it does seem useful to try at least to establish a common understanding.

This week my local "video rental" shop switches all of its stock from VHS to DVD: to the delight of some, and the very great distress of others...

And, last week, the US state in which I happen to live elected, as Governor, a candidate who made use nearly exclusively of what his managers call "the entertainment media", in persuading the voters to elect him: no position "papers", no real "debates", no traceable in-depth discussions of issues on "news" programs, or in public appearances...

So, using just one of the many meanings of the term, per the above paper, how do we "document" what is happening to us?

If our old formats -- "old" by at most a few years, nowadays -- suddenly no longer work, are many of us in fact left without access? In the sheer rapidity of the information revolution, are we creating "documents" which in fact increasingly do not "document"?... because they cannot, having been replaced so recently by new technologies which no longer can reach them?

All of us possess "documents", now, stored on tapes or vinyl records or 5 1/4 inch or 3 1/2 inch floppy disks, or in old software and other formats, which no longer are able to serve the anthropological functional definitions -- also the intellectual and the social -- apparently offered in the above paper. Is there a problem developing, then? In our urge to "document", are we in fact losing our "documents"? The tree that fell unheard in the forest, did it fall?

And how are we "documenting" our anthropological and intellectual and social interactions, if "the entertainment media" now is doing that job? The interactive and cooperative and research and archival functions, of previous generations of media which have been charged with recording our "politics", seem less important, in "entertainment". The ephemera of the latest rock video or movie star gossip seem ill-suited for conveying, much less archiving, our deepest political thoughts. And yet Governor Schwarzenegger's managers now proudly proclaim their very effective use of "the entertainment media", to circumvent more traditional "document" formats and approaches, and better reach the voters and win the election...

So if there truly is an underlying significance to "document" and to the process of "documentation", let it reveal itself quickly, then. Before the newest information processes transfer our politics to "entertainment" formats, and our records to yet another vastly-improved medium which renders all our others useless, let us understand a little better the general direction in which all of this "documentation" is headed.

Jack Kessler, kessler@well.com





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Last update: December 15, 2003