by Jack Kessler, firstname.lastname@example.org
May 15, 2013 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on May 15, 2013 -- and, a little later, on http://fyifrance.blogspot.com/, and at Facebook-Jack Kessler's Notes
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: email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
I have corresponded with several of you about this newest Internet phenomenon, after my mentions of the possibilities for libraries and booksellers, in previous postings here. This month, then, a few librarian-ly and other Pinterest real examples -- on the theory that, "if it's new it must be interesting" -- that last maybe not-always, but always-on-the-Internet --
Histories -- the first, the Great Books which so influenced me and my generation -- the second, the idea that such "texts" no longer arrive solely in "books", as long ago too they never did -- both of the above two Pinterest "boards" are photo-essays, implying / inferring / suggesting rather than instructing, as images so often accomplish this task better than do written texts.
Événements -- ours being an information-overloaded world, "the news" becomes a much-abused term, we need to notice things but too many of them at once produce a whiteness, a blurring and a canceling-out, in which nothing gets understood. In this case a dramatic mountaineering news-story...
Commercial marketers and politicians understand this point, about the "fog" of reported "news": there is a semiotics in a "text" better-understood in an image than in-print, for many purposes, as Barthes and McLuhan and many others have pointed out. So when we go hunting for "the news" -- from elsewhere to France, or from France to elsewhere, or to or from other places equally-distant and "foreign" -- better than Rupert Murdoch we might instead use images, nowadays, for attention and immediacy and comprehension. It's why news sites themselves increasingly show pictures: photos, videos -- "a picture is worth a thousand words".
Exhibits -- what libraries do not love, and benefit greatly from, exhibitions? The BnF, throughout its very long history, has accomplished many of its aims through the high quality exhibitions it has provided to Paris -- and now to the entire globe, through Gallica and other excellent BnF offerings online.
Globalization though is about global outreach, not sitting inside the shop waiting for the customer to walk in, which never worked for any retailer, or any library, and now does not work for the Web either: if the users now are on Facebook, 1 billion, and Pinterest, 48.7 million & growing fast, then that is where the library and the bookseller must be.
Advocacy -- any form of outreach, any controversy, requires contact -- librarians for millennia have known that "access" is as important as "information". The un-used collection is the proverbial, "tree that fell unheard in the forest": that tree didn't fall, that library collection doesn't exist... even if it is "online", down in the Internet ocean dark-fiber-depths, or up floating in some Internet "cloud" somewhere... Pinterest is about "access", as Facebook is, as all other Web portals and services are too.
For oneone recent example, the reason political pollsters increasingly lose track of "the youth vote", in so many polities, is that nowadays the kids are busy on videogame chatboards, "texting" -- MMORPGs, Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games... -- it's why the youth-vote surprised Obama and all the others, last time around -- old-fashioned landline telephony no longer is used even for information much less communication, the only voter old-fashioned Gallup reaches on the fone now is Grandpa.
So when libraries learn what an MMORPG is, and how to use that for "access", then they'll be up-to-date... not "ahead", yet, as there always will be something new, like Pinterest is now, but pinning & texting & tweeting at least are 21st century, as the voicemail-tag of current opinion-pollsters' non-mobile telephony is more just 20th c., and even 19th.
La belle France -- its attractions, libraries, book-sellers, events, regions, history, art, personnalités, la francophonie, occasionally its problems -- all of this and more, in pictures... "'Of what use is a book without pictures?', asked Alice."
Libraries -- what a library might accomplish, using Pinterest... I began here with a few snapshots of some pretty little libraries in France: a library is a cultural institution -- not, or not "just", a book collection -- and architecture forever has been an indicator, a reflection at least, of the contents and activities and values it houses.
Even just facades: from the colonnades of Phidias and Palladio, to Potemkin's villages and Robert Venturi's "duck", the shapes of architecture's public "face" have shown us at least what we are said to value, if not always the reality behind and beneath as in Potemkin's case.
Thence these photos on Pinterest: there is such variety, in these library facades in France, that it seems hard to generalize -- yet there seems to be a "French" quality to them all, to these American eyes anyway, as I am sure there would be an "American" quality to the eyes of someone French in an image-array of small "Carnegie library" facades from the US. These can be useful introductions, to the understanding of and appreciation for libraries in either place.
So that is one function, of an online resource such as Pinterest. If there are others -- if libraries use Pinterest to mount exhibits, advertise, provide library service, if booksellers use it to sell books, if advocacy there helps save some imperiled Timbuktu collection, then so much the better.
-- always remembering the old Internet economies-of-scale adage, that, "48.7 million users can't be wrong..."
Pinterest is photographs, images, collections of same which its members post online, on their favorite topics, whatever those might be -- these often-vast collections of imagery can have very strange and often-wonderful effects on perception, as any book-lover knows -- page after page of beautiful photographs of rivers, for example,
of "other animals" -- not cats & dogs but the wild-ones... maybe a few dogs... --
Like all sites nowadays Pinterest advertises that it is in the "Social Media" biz -- there are ways there to "meet 'n greet", "network", "share" -- and with 48.7 million users there is enormous opportunity for the "leverage" which marketers and investors always love.
But the Pinterest point is more its phenomenal photographs: it is more than just a photo-site, of which there are many, Pinterest simply and easily transforms images into a medium, online, clearly demonstrates the use of that for communication -- once you have waded through hundreds of "trees" there, or "other animals", you will have better understandings of both than you ever would from pages of printed text. Pinterest is about the power of the image.
A few news notes:
> "The Pinterest app for iPhone was last updated in March 2013, and the iPad app was launched August 2011. Pinterest Mobile, launched September 2011, is a version of the website for non-iPhone users.
> "In December 2011, the site became one of the top 10 largest social network services, according to Hitwise data, with 11 million total visits per week. The next month, it drove more referral traffic to retailers than LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google+. The same month, the company was named the best new startup of 2011 by TechCrunch...
> "In January 2012, comScore reported the site had 11.7 million unique users, making it the fastest site in history to break through the 10 million unique visitor mark. Pinterest's wide reach helped it achieve an average of 11 million visits each week in December 2011... According to Experian Hitwise, the site became the third largest social network in the United States in March 2012, behind Facebook and Twitter...
> "comScore recorded a unique users moving average growth of 85% from mid-January to mid-February  and a 17% growth from mid-February to mid-March. In August 2012, Pinterest overtook competing micro-blogging site Tumblr for the first time in terms of unique monthly visitors, clocking in at just under 25 million.
> "In February 2013, Reuters and ComScore stated that Pinterest had 48.7 million users..."
Jack Kessler, email@example.com
FYI France (sm)(tm) e-journal ISSN 1071-5916 * | FYI France (sm)(tm) is a monthly electronic | journal published since 1992 as a small-scale, | personal experiment, in the creation of large- | scale "information overload", by Jack Kessler. / \ Any material written by me which appears in ----- FYI France may be copied and used by anyone for // \\ any good purpose, so long as, a) they give me --------- credit and show my email address, and, b) it // \\ isn't going to make them money: if it is going to make them money, they must get my permission in advance, and share some of the money which they get with me. Use of material written by others requires their permission. FYI France archives may be found at http://listserv.uh.edu/archives/pacs-l.html (PACS-L archive), or http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/Collections/FYIFrance/ or http://www.fyifrance.com -- also now at http://www.facebook.com ("Jack Kessler" My Notes), and at http://fyifrance.blogspot.com/. Suggestions, reactions, criticisms, praise, and poison-pen letters all gratefully received at firstname.lastname@example.org . Copyright 1992- , by Jack Kessler, all rights reserved except as indicated above.
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