FYI France

File 3: Ejournal and archive

by Jack Kessler,

January 15, 2015 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on January 15, 2015.

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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:

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. Please email suggestions for improvements to me at




l'Institut du Monde Arabe


A reprise -- for anyone unfamiliar with this remarkable resource in Paris, on which I've reported before, here is a bit of the latest -- well worth a journey, if only for its remarkable architecture, and it has a very good library, too, now en-travaux and improving, and also now offering very interesting online "digital library" resources -- [the following excerpts tr. JK] --

"The Arab World Institute (in French: Institut du Monde Arabe, abbreviated "IMA") is an organization founded in Paris in 1980 by 18 Arab countries, with France, to research and disseminate information about the Arab world and its cultural and spiritual values. The Institute also promotes cooperation and exchanges between France and the Arab nations, particularly in the areas of science and technology, contributing to the understanding between the Arab world and Europe...

"The IMA is located... on rue des Fossés Saint Bernard in the 5th arrondissement of Paris... It was constructed from 1981 to 1987 and has floor space of 181,850 square feet (16,894 m2). Architecture-Studio, together with Jean Nouvel, won the 1981 design competition with a highly original plan for a difficult site that, over the years, has proven to be a successful design solution...

"...the southwest facade is an uncompromisingly rectangular glass-clad curtain wall. It faces a large square public space that opens toward the Ile de la Cité and Notre Dame. Visible behind the glass wall, a metallic screen unfolds with moving geometric motifs. The motifs are actually 240 photo-sensitive motor-controlled apertures, or shutters, which act as a sophisticated brise-soleil that automatically opens and closes to control the amount of light and heat entering the building from the sun. The mechanism creates interior spaces with filtered light, an effect often used in Islamic architecture with its climate-oriented strategies. The innovative use of technology and success of the building's design catapulted Nouvel to fame and is one of the cultural reference points of Paris... The building houses a museum, library, auditorium, restaurant, and offices..."

-- and for good images, references, and more detail, see the Wikipedia version in French --



  • La Bibliothèque

    "The library of the Institut du Monde Arabe (bibliothèque de l'Institut du monde arabe / BIMA) presents, from its encyclopedic and multilingual collections, the culture and the civilization of the Arab World. The library thus supports one of the objectives of the IMA: to develop and deepen in France the study, the knowledge, and the understanding of the Arab World, of its language, of its civilization, and of its efforts to develop. Focussed deliberately on the contemporary period, the BIMA equally assembles sources of classical Arab culture. It thus satisfies the needs of both specialists and of the larger public. Access is open, free-of-charge, and requires no formal registration. The consultation of documents takes place on the premises, loans are not possible.

    "There also is a Médiathèque for young people, devoted to youth to age 12. There is an animation space with a bi-weekly story-hour, also a resource-center about youth literature for professionals -- students, librarians, documentarists, and médiateurs of The Book -- thanks to its collection of many thousands of books for children in French, in Arabic, and bilingual. On its website the library suggests thematic bibliographies for scholars, glimpses of youth literature works, and documentary resources." [tr. JK]


  • La Bibliothèque Numérique -- [the "IMA Digital Library"... ]

    "Conscious of the importance of The Digital in the diffusion of knowledge, the Bibliothèque de l'Institut du Monde Arabe has begun an ambitious project of digital recon of its collections, in partnership with the Grande Bibliothèque d'Alexandrie in Egypt.

    "An initial selection of titles is composed of works outside of copyright. This selection covers domains as diverse as philosophy, linguistics, literature, history, travel literature, and art. The following search engine is available and will accept inquiries in both the Arabic and Latin alphabets -- [the following tr. JK]

    "Working to establish bridges between Arab and European cultures, the Institut du Monde Arabe energetically pursues its mission which envisages the introduction and digital diffusion of Arab cultures to Europeans. Thus the partnership between the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the Institut du Monde Arabe has created a digital library of more than 1166 works and 19 periodicals titles, all in the public domain and available to students, researchers, and Internet-users throughout the entire world.

    "To provide access to the knowledge of all, and bridge the cultural gap among nations, the preservation of the rich collection of the library of the Institut du Monde Arabe has been undertaken to serve future generations; and this through the expertise of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in digitization. The collection has been digitized and mounted online with a user-friendly interface providing navigation tools and other necessary facilities for research.

    [And here this remarkable effort presents a fascinating pilot-collection as follows:

    Books about,

      Art - 70
      General subjects 48
      History and geography -- 439
      Linguistics -- 119
      Literature -- 199
      Philosophy -- 21
      Religion -- 179
      Applied Sciences, Medicine, Technology -- 37
      Exact Sciences, Natural Sciences -- 21
      Social Sciences -- 39

    -- so, for example,

      Notes sur les philosophes arabes connus des latins au Moyen age

      Lecture approfondie:
      Volume 1 (80 Pages) [link to the text -- JK]
      Volume 2 (80 Pages) [link to the text -- JK]
      Date de publication: 1922-1923
      Langue: Français
      Ville: Beyrouth (61)
      Livre: Philosophie (21)
      Editeur: Impr. catholique
      Nombre de Volumes: 2
      Auteur: BOUYGES, P. M
      - Philosophie arabe (18)
      - philosophe (1)
      - traduction (3)
      - manuscrit ibn rusd (1)
      Propriétaire: IMA

    -- or, for another example,

      Recueil de questions proposées a une société de savants, qui par ordre de Sa Majesté danoise font le voyage de l'Arabie

      Lecture approfondie: Cliquez ici... [link to the text -- JK]
      Date de publication: 1774
      Langue: Englais
      Ville: Inconnu
      Livre: Histoire et géographie (439)
      Editeur: Chez S.J. Baalde
      Nombre de Volumes: 1
      - Michaelis, Johann David
      - Mérian, Jean-Bernard
      - Peninsule arabique (9)
      - Arabie (1)

    -- alors, soit... -- catalogue + bibliothèque --


  • References: on the IMA, both the architectural project and the institution --

    • Georges Fessy, Jean Nouvel et Hubert Tonka, Institut du monde arabe : Une architecture de Jean Nouvel, Gilbert Lezénés, Pierre Soria, Architecture studio, Seyssel, Champ Vallon, coll. « État d'architecture », 1988, 69 p. (ISBN 2-87673-003-0) ; 2e éd. : Paris, Demi-cercle, coll. « États des lieux », 1989 (ISBN 2-907757-03-2) ; 3e Éd. : Paris, Demi-cercle, coll. « Un lieu / un architecte », 1995 (ISBN 2-907757-54-7)

    • Patrice Goulet, Institut du monde arabe, Paris, Institut du monde arabe, 2001, 46 p. (ISBN 2-84306-079-6)

    • Institut du monde arabe, Institut du monde arabe : Vingt ans d'activités, 1980-2000, Paris, Institut du monde arabe, 2002, 436 p. (ISBN 2-84306-094-X)

    • Hugo Lacroix (préf. Dominique Baudis), L'Institut du monde arabe, Paris, La Différence, cooo. « Architectures », 2007, 138 p. (ISBN 978-2-7291-1720-7)

    • Philippe Cardinal, L'Institut du monde arabe, Paris, Nouvelles éd. Scala, coll. « L'Esprit du lieu », 2012, 63 p. (ISBN 978-2-35988-078-6)


    Jack Kessler,



    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.
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