3.00 FYI France: Ejournal and archive

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

October 15, 2006 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, 2006.

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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. And you can pay via PayPal, on the FYI France homepage:


Please email suggestions for improvements to me at kessler@well.sf.ca.us




Internet & digital library history -- BIBLIO-FR


Documents just installed online may be useful to anyone interested in the early history of the Internet for, a) the library profession in France, b) France generally, c) anyone anywhere outside of the Internet's very Anglo-American origins...

The first is a memo, composed by Hervé Le Crosnier in 1998, recalling the earliest years of BIBLIO-FR, the French librarians' econference -- still operating in 2006, only now with 14,000+ subscribers, up from the original 35... The second is Hervé's original minutes of the 1993 meeting which founded BIBLIO-FR.

It was a different Internet world, back then: a digital world already but one of ASCII-only, and "acceptable use policies", and "no public access", and "no commercial use" -- a photo of Hervé's own "Terminal VAX-VMS, telnet and ftp using a 9600bps modem and a VT220 screen", from the era, accompanies the article.

BIBLIO-FR's continuing survival and robust health offers proof that the Internet can "scale up" to international and multilingual applications; but it's been a long and rocky road...

Excerpts from Hervé's account:



Other econference Moderators will smile knowingly... Le Crosnier devoted years to refining this Moderator role, succeeded since 2000 by BIBLIO-FR's very able current Moderator, Sara Aubry...


Editor's Note:

The Internet needs to know its own history, as do its critics. In today's debates, over "Googlization" and "anti-Terrorism measures" and "Chinese and other government restrictions", we all need to understand how all of this began, in order to understand where it is now and where it may be headed.

There is a track record, here: one not without blemishes, and one already old enough to exhibit clear directions stemming from its very origins. If we don't understand all of this -- if we don't at least make the attempt to understand it -- we are flying blind... as some critics now say that we are...

So some study of "the early days", by those now on the cutting / bleeding edge of where digital information currently is headed, may help. Before we plunge forward further, then, with --

-- it might be good to go back to first principles, and recall why we started out with "digital information" in the first place. Not that goals and techniques do not and should not change... but at least we ought to know what they are, and remember what they were, and pause to consider why those changes may have occurred.

BIBLIO-FR -- http://listes.cru.fr/sympa/info/biblio-fr -- has been since its 1993 establishment, and continues to be, the best single place to investigate and appreciate the role of librarians in France online. In addition, though, BIBLIO-FR dramatically illustrates two more general subjects: the introduction of the Internet into France, and the scaling-up of the Internet to international and trans-national applications in a non-anglophone world. In all three arenas the path has not been smooth, although it has been immensely useful and productive: via BIBLIO-FR -- its invaluable online archive as well as its ongoing discussions -- any researcher anywhere can come to appreciate the details of why, over time, this has been so.

Of course for BIBLIO-FR's archive you have to be able to read French... But that is one central point of scaling-up: if the international and trans-national customers do not use English, then the Internet has to learn the languages the customers prefer, not the other way around...


Jack Kessler, kessler@well.com






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Last update: July 16, 2008