3.00 FYI France: Ejournal and archive

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

March 15, 2007 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, 2007.

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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




Digital libraries: St. Denis


A remarkable new site about St. Denis, in French and with Sign Language access, demonstrates digital library accomplishments.

St. Denis the town, the traditions, the history and archeology and site and architecture, all come vividly to life now at,


The website offers bright visuals, including old prints and photos, and wonderful maps, also pedagogical / scholarly resources, and a superbly-logical plan. The single subway trip from central Paris, out to see the one old building where Suger worked and where the kings were crowned, now gets superseded: there is far more to St. Denis than just that.

The links are the key: for example at the "students" site,

additional online materials are offered, tailored to student projects -- a display of "Sarcophages mérovingiens", a column capital depicting "Arrestation de saint Denis et de ses compagnons par un soldat romain", and so on -- all with links back to the site's further detail, and contact information including email for the St. Denis Unité d'archéologie de la ville. Also a great variety of links to other resources, at:

One "digital library" point being that this may be how students are going to learn, going forward... also how "library" patrons, previously interviewed and provided their first pathfinders at the reference desk, are going to gain initial introductions to their topics in an online digital library world...


Perhaps the good design of an elaborate online "exhibit", such as this Saint-Denis website offers, is the key to future online library reference, then. Maybe the New Model is: Google finds it for the user -- the exhibit then hooks the user in, engages her interest, stimulates her imagination and makes her want to know more -- and finally it guides her to other places, still online, where she can ask her own questions and begin her own research.

The user may not want to know, in other words, simply what the site serves to her about "Saint-Denis, une ville au Moyen Age" -- she may want to know about medieval road construction, say, and for that the site itself may be insufficient. But that is why the external links are the key: so long as the site offers her those it can propel a user onward, the way any good library does.


This site presents images, text, maps, timelines, links:

-- St. Denis "the history" --

-- St. Denis "the people" --

-- St. Denis "daily life and work" --

-- tasks of a modern urban archaeologist -- it ain't all roses --


But most of all the site presents lots of very interesting links: for instance to the wonderful series of which this St. Denis website is merely a part, where the user can find much more like it, which may pique her newfound archaeological interests too --


And as for "multilingual access", with which all digital libraries nowadays are grappling, well, this St. Denis site offers Sign Language!: if you haven't ever you really have to see this -- I suppose other online Sign Language implementations exist, on sites like this one, but I myself haven't seen any yet.

Also remarkable, then, that major languages such as French would be adding Sign Language even before they add Chinese or English or anything else: unimagineable, back in the 1950s-60s Era of Dominant Languages -- an indication of new linguistic pathways and possibilities, in an inter-networked and Globalizing world.


Jack Kessler, kessler@well.com






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M. Eiffel

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W3 site maintained at http://www.fyifrance.com
Document maintained by: Jack Kessler, kessler@well.sf.ca.us
Last update: March 15, 2007