3.00 FYI France: Enewsletter and archive

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

Apr 15, 1993 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on April 15, 1993. This particular issue originally was distributed in two parts, as indicated below.
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Versions of the following have appeared online regularly, since 1992, as a feature of the FYI France enewsletter, ISSN 1071-5916, which is distributed for free via email every month except August. Enewsletter subscriptions may be obtained via email request to: kessler@well.sf.ca.us .

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From: Jack Kessler 
Subject: e-PUBLISHING, online, interactive, fulltext -- an example/a model? Par

April 15, 1993

	FYIFrance: e-PUBLISHING, online, interactive, fulltext -- an 
example / a 	model? Part 1/2.

by:	Jack Kessler

We live in strange times: the Grateful Dead are singing the national
anthem in ballparks, and the best-seller on bookstands in Mainland,
"Communist", puritanical China is _Madonna_. So, perhaps to test your
credulity a little further:

The idea that mainstream commercial print publishers -- Hachette,
Random House, Springer, Elsevier -- will eventually, soon, publish and
distribute their material online is hinted at, strongly asserted, and
vehemently denied very often on the nets.

Actions speak better than words. Rather than preach the possibility of
commercial online publishing let me show you a real-life,
already-existing, example of how it might be done: this from the French
Minitel -- a little service called "3615 Lisie`re", which any of you
can access inexpensively online, read through and use, and then
consider in the context of its possible future use as a model by the
world's publishing giants.

Disclaimer. I'm not personally in favor of this latter use, nor am I
opposed: I'm a little awed by its possibilities and problems -- as a
librarian I'm more than a little excited (they'll never be able to find
ANYTHING without us) -- and it doesn't seem smart, anyway, to try to
stop a flood by holding up your hand. Here it is, then -- online,
interactive, fulltext, "commercial", electronic-publishing:

Now available (since 1991) on Minitel  --

(all the following comes with "alpha-mosaique" designs, a sophisticated
menu system, downloading / printing capacity, and color, all of which
it already has -- and high-resolution imaging, perhaps even moving
images, and hypertext, which is what's coming)

  3615 LISIERE          

(This is a private service available now to anyone, anywhere, who has
Minitel software, Minitel-emulator software with a V23 modem, or a
Minitel: in US/Can. fone 212-399-0080 or 914-694-6266 for free telecom
diskettes. To get what follows, you won't have to go to a bookstore, or
check stock, or order from a book catalog.)
 Tarif TTC       F/min  serveur  te'le'com
 0.12 F           1.27     0.88     0.39
 a` la connexion                         

(The price to the reader, dialing from France -- currently nearly the
same if dialing from North America -- is US.24 per minute, or US 14.40
per hour, The large publisher -- or the service bureau, in the case of
groups of small publishers -- gets US.16 per minute, or US 9.60 gross
per hour. This isn't bad for either, when you consider that
often-unread books cost users much more than US 9.60, and that
publishers thus might be paid something small, but many times, over
many years, for each "usage" of a single portion of a given text.)
 -Expression litte'raire par Minitel     
 (essai, nouvelle, poe'sie, etc): pos-   
 sibilite' d'e'crire et de lire les       
 textes de'pose's.      
 -Abonnement a` la revue Lisie`re qui     
 diffuse une se'lection des textes       
 saisis par Minitel.      
 -Re'action des lecteurs.                
 RESPONSABLE DU SERVICE                 
 M. Daniel Bouillot                     
 Editions Lisie`re                       
 Impasse des Bourales                   
 74410 Saint-Jorioz                     
 50 95 38 30         

(Interactive publishing! Publisher Bouillot's idea is to combine 1) the
need of the individual writer for contact with a public with 2) the
need of the general public for something of interest which they may
grasp simply and quickly. The electronic medium serves the dual purpose
superbly: 1) a bbs for posting and discussing new works, and 2) a
printed review for distributing selected texts.)

1 L I R E  
4 ECHOS     
7 La Revue  
8 Message 

(Users may, 1) read text, and write their reactions to the authors,  2)
write text, 3) read LISIERE news, 4) read "messages to the editor", 5)
read an AI-driven "aphorisms generator" tied to their own names, an
idea taken from French poet Queneau's "Oulipo", 6) read general
information about LISIERE, 7) subscribe to the printed literary review,
or 8) write a message to the editor.)


("Another idea about writing:...Your own.") (translations by jk and
  Que ton vers soit la bonne aventure   
     e'parse au vent crispe' du matin.    
  Bienvenue a` vos textes et regards  

("Welcome to your texts, and best wishes...")   

        QU'EST-CE QUE LISIERE ?         

("What is 'Lisie`re'?")
           EDITIONS LISIERE             
         Impasse des Bourales           
          74410 SAINT-JORIOZ            
   Nul n'a force'ment matie`re a` roman    
   ou recueil, et l'on est pourtant     
   beaucoup a` vouloir dire ou e'crire.   
   Me'dias encombre's, et se'lection       
   draconienne reposant bien souvent    
   sur des crite`res de rentabilite',     
   nous ont trop fait ravaler nos mots  

("Everyone doesn't necessarily have enough material for a novel or a
collection, but everyone has the need to express one's own words. The
usual Media -- T.V., radio, newspapers... -- are deluged by proposals,
and they have to make draconian selections, too often according to
economic criteria.")
   Les Editions LISIERE proposent       
   sur Minitel un outil d'expression    
              OUVERT A TOUS             
   permettant d'e'crire et de lire       
   poe'sies, nouvelles, humeurs, etc.    
("LISIERE Publishing proposes, on Minitel, a tool of expression -- OPEN
TO ALL -- permitting the writing and reading of poems, novels, whimsy,
   Avant leur mise a` disposition au     
   public sur Minitel, ces textes sont  
   contro^le's par LISIERE pour ve'rifier  
   qu'ils respectent la le'gislation en  
   vigueur, et qu'ils sont d'une        
   lisibilite' et qualite' minimales.     
("Before being made available to the public on Minitel, these texts
have been checked by LISIERE to verify that they respect any
legislation in force, and that they are understandable and of a minimal
   Dans l'immense majorite' des cas,     
   ces textes sont tre`s vite rendus     
   disponibles a`la lecture du public   
   de LISIERE, et ils le resteront      
   pendant au moins un mois avant       
   d'e^tre archive's. Mais leur auteur    
   peut les supprimer a` son gre'.        
("In the immense majority of cases, these texts are made available to
the LISIERE public, and they stay on Minitel for one month before being
archived. Their authors may withdraw them at any time.")
   Les auteurs peuvent a` tout instant   
   connai^tre parmi les lecteurs         
   de leurs textes, ceux qui ont aime',  
   ainsi que prendre connaissance de    
   leurs re'actions au travers des       
   messages qui leur auront e'te'         
   personnellement adresse's.            
("The authors may learn of the reaction of their readers to their
texts, thanks to messages addressed personally to them.")
   Une revue, e'dite'e par LISIERE et     
   diffuse'e par abonnement, reproduit   
   une se'lection des textes du Minitel  
   (si leurs auteurs l'ont accepte').    
   Cette revue sert aussi a` mieux       
   faire connai^tre LISIERE et les       
   textes de ses auteurs.               
("A review, edited by LISIERE and distributed every two months by
subscription, reproduces a selection of the texts shown on the Minitel,
with the permission of their authors. This review also serves to
publicize LISIERE and the texts of these authors.")
   LISIERE a e'te' cre'e'e par des          
   passionne's de l'expression e'crite    
   qui veulent promouvoir l'e'criture    
   et montrer aussi que le Minitel      
   est un instrument d'expression       
   a` part entie`re, permettant de        
   pre'senter des textes courts,         
   qu'ils soient spontane's ou qu'ils    
   aient e'te' longuement travaille's.     
("LISIERE was created in 1991 by devotees of the written word, who wish
both to give again to the art of writing a natural place in everyday
life, and to show that the Minitel can be a full-service instrument of
expression, permitting the presentation of short texts, whether they
are spontaneous or the products of long effort.")

(next: fulltext French poetry publishing, online and interactive)

Jack Kessler


FYI France: e-PUBLISHING, online, interactive, fulltext,  -- an example
/ a model? Part 2/2.

(Part 1 suggested that, for better or for worse, traditional print
publishers, wishing to know how to publish fulltext online
commercially, may follow the model used by a relatively-new service on
the Minitel: "3615 LISIERE". Some examples of LISIERE's own
presentation follow. One can only hope that those of other publishers
will be as good.)

   Six millions de Minitel en France,   
   la possibilite' de lire, d'e'crire et  
   d'e^tre lu a` tout instant, font de    
   LISIERE un formidable outil          
   d'expression et de communication.    
("Six million Minitels in France, and the possibility of reading,
writing, and being read at the same instant, make  LISIERE a formidable
tool of expression and communication.")
   Nous espe'rons que vous appre'cierez.  
("We hope that you will like it.") 
   Se'lection d'un texte : Nx +ENVOI :  .
             Terminer : SOMMAIRE        
       Signature : ALCYON               
   1 Tu m'as montre'          Poesie    
   2 Rate' !?                 Nouvelle  
   3 ARCHIPEL                 Poesie    
   4 COURS TOUJOURS           Poesie    
   5 SOMMEIL                  Poesie    
   6 BEAUVAIS                 Humeur    
   7 MALIDOR (DEBUT)          Nouvelle  
   8 MALIDOR (SUITE)          Nouvelle  
   9 MALIDOR (FIN)            Nouvelle  
  10 QUAI DE NUIT             Poesie    
  11 SYLDONIA                 Nouvelle  
  12 L'AVIDE DE TOUT          Portrait  
  13 LUTTE A MORT             Poesie    
  14 NAZIAR                   Nouvelle  
  15 POTERIE                  Poesie    
  16 BaYang                   Nouvelle  
   Se'lection d'un texte : Nx +ENVOI :10.

(Selection of a text by "Alcyon". LISIERE now carries over 200 online
authors, and claims to have over 10,000 online readers. This is the
type of magic which one can achieve with online media.)

 Titre :QUAI DE NUIT                    
 Genre :Poesie      Par ALCYON          
La nuit, les wagons dorment             
                     au long des quais. 
Grosse chenille de me'tal                
                qui a rentre' ses pattes.
Les portes sont ferme'es,                
        le toit, doucement, se givre.   
La vie s'en est alle'e                   
      vers d'autres sie`ges              
             d'autres paysages          
                  d'autres tre'pidations.
 Page suivante   : SUITE                
 Page pr^Bc^Bdente :  RETOUR              

(Etc....commercial poetry publishing, fulltext and online. The real
magic for networked information, though, may be in the "interactive"
feature which LISIERE then offers:)

 Si vous aimez ce texte, tapez ENVOI    
 ...(sinon, tapez SOMMAIRE)...          
      Vous pouvez, si vous le           
      de'sirez, e'crire a` son auteur.     
     Ce message restera confidentiel,   
     mais, pour qu'il vous re'ponde,     
     vous devez avoir une signature.    
     Ecrire a` l'auteur, tapez E +ENVOI  

("If you like what you read, hit  and you can write a
confidential note to the author...remember to sign what you write so
the author can write back to you...")


What a revolution for the process of print publication!: instant
reaction by the public, interaction between author and public,
"bringing the performance to the people" as Julian Beck and Judith
Malina and their Living Theatre tried to say. Publisher / poet
Bouillot's own terms are "mutation", "evolution", "revelation",
"reciprocation": his greatest wish, he says, is that this new process
of "interactive" diffusion might break down the barrier between authors
and readers enough to encourage readers to become authors themselves. A
"lisie`re", in French, is the frontier between a forest and its

There are problems with online electronic fulltext. These range from
the practical to the metaphysical. Publisher Bouillot suggests a few:
1) online media are "cold" -- they can't, yet, do the "friendly" or at
least "personalized" designs of a poem by, say Apollinaire; 2) there
still are large economic problems facing commercial print publishers
who want to make the transition; 3) there remains a substantial
anti-technology sentiment, which considers the computer to be a tool
unsuited for literary expression; 4) online media, thus far, present
only short texts well (Bouillot is speaking of "real-time" use of
Minitel -- other nets' file transfer capacities might help here); 5)
page-formatting is severely restricted (Minitel allows only 14 lines
and 40 columns per page); 6) thus far, there is only a small,
occasional public -- LISIERE in fact has become a Community Information
Service for a group of authors and would-be authors which it itself has

The possibilities, though, seem to me to outweigh the problems. Most of
Bouillot's "practical" problems already are  being solved by
technology: file transfer software and protocols, better screens, etc.:
he himself is working with programming which, for example, will allow
readers to mark texts as "already read" or "unread", and he even is
experimenting with hypertext applications -- "Hyper-poe`me". The
sociological questions -- user-resistance and perceptions -- are being
overcome more and more every day: users who spent their childhoods with
their noses in videogames will be less resistant that those who spent
their childhoods with noses in books. The crucial question really is
the economic one: how can this work so as to incentivize / benefit
commercial publishers -- and this, too, seems solved by LISIERE's
example, with the very efficient Minitel "kiosk" billing system
provided, in this case, by France Telecom.

Then there's the question of whether all this "should" happen. Or is
there? It strikes me that while some of us sit around and debate
whether this -- online, commercial, fulltext e-publishing -- "should"
happen, it will, particularly for this last "economic" reason that the
publishers (and the telephone companies) will make a great deal of
money doing it. Copyright? Authors' objections are overcome by royalty
checks, and these would be forthcoming here, from the "kiosk" billing

The final questions as always are philosophical: what does this mean
for reading, for the traditional relationship between writer, reader,
and text? Change, certainly, perhaps for the worse -- I personally find
the tendency towards shorter and shorter texts worrisome -- but perhaps
for the better as well. There is something very promising in the idea,
suggested by LISIERE, that literature might become interactive.

(All of this is gone into in more detail, with more examples, in a
forthcoming article in the journal, _The Electronic Library_.)

ISSN 1071 - 5916



FYI France (sm)(tm) e - newsletter        ISSN 1071 - 5916

      |           FYI France (sm)(tm) is a monthly electronic newsletter,
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      |           experiment, in the creation of large - scale
      |           "information overload", by Jack Kessler. Any material
     / \          written by me which appears in FYI France may be
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  ---------       address and, b) it isn't going to make them money: if
 //       \\      if it is going to make them money, they must get my
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(PACS / PACS-L econference archive), or at  http://www.fyifrance.com .
Suggestions, reactions, criticisms, praise, and poison - pen letters       
all will be gratefully received at  kessler@well.sf.ca.us .

        Copyright 1992- by Jack Kessler, all rights reserved.    

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Last update: January 12, 1997.