by Jack Kessler, email@example.com
3.00 FYI France: Enewsletter and archive
The FYI France Home Page
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: firstname.lastname@example.org .
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 -- $35 until January 1, 1997 -- 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. Please email suggestions for improvements to me at email@example.com .
From: Jack Kessler
Subject: news sources -- French libraries and networking (15 Mar 94) March 15, 1994 FYI France: news sources -- French libraries and networking by: Jack Kessler firstname.lastname@example.org Many of you have asked about the easiest means of keeping up with French library and networking news. The following are a few useful sources and recent references. Reading them is perhaps the easiest way to get and stay up to date with the French, at least in libraries and networking: 1) Recent French library history. A succinct and complete history of French library affairs in this century may be had courtesy of a remarkable review, of the latest volume in the opus magnum series on the subject: The series is the magisterial _Histoire des bibliothe`ques franc,aises_, edited by Martine Poulain, and the volume in question is entitled _Les bibliothe`ques au XXe sie`cle, 1914-1990_ (Paris : Eds.du Cercle de la librairie, Promodis, 1992) 793 p., ill., ISBN 2-7654-0510-7, and expensive, although excellent. The reviewer, Emmanuel Wallon, renders the invaluable service of making the daunting prospect of wading into the opus magnum considerably less daunting. He provides a thoughtful consideration of the merits of the book, but also an excellent summary of the book's contents, in a mere (about) 4000 word magazine article. Wallon presents his own thoughts, as well as those of others, on several of the major issues of modern French librarianship: the place of librarians in modern society ("to protect or to serve?"), the famous "French backwardness" ("le retard franc,ais") in libraries and librarianship, the shift this century from "Instruction" to "Culture", the "impact of the new media". I am not aware of any other single - stop source for a quick survey of recent French library history as good as this review. It may be found in: _BBF / Bulletin des Bibliothe`ques de France_, t.38, n.4, p.72, ISSN 0006-2006. 2) Normalization, standardization, how will we ever pull all of this together? A complete view of standards and the standardization process from the French side of the debates. Interesting reading for devotees of Z39.50, and for anyone who thought that the standardization process is getting any easier or less important. An entire issue of _BBF_, edited by the president of the Conseil Supe'rieure des Bibliothe`ques, Michel Melot, is devoted to this topic. He has included articles by academics, technicians, and practicing librarians. His own piece considers the changes wrought by electronic media generally in the standardization process. Others address the institutional structure of the process, specifics of the "electronic information market", standards from the OSI and EDI points of view, standards problems arising from a lack of adequate indexing, and controversies over standards in library statistics, language translation, document conservation and preservation, and imaging. Tables are included throughout which are useful for navigating the institutional alphabet soup of standardization -- who is doing what to whom -- and list particular standards of interest in particular areas. To American readers, the issue can provide a useful reminder that there is a great deal of ground still to be covered before standards which are taken for granted in the US will be accepted overseas, in addition to vice versa. The issue is: _BBF / Bulletin des Bibliothe`ques de France_, t.38, n.4, p.72, ISSN 0006-2006, entitled "Normalisation". 3) The _BBF_, the _Bulletin des Bibliothe`ques de France_, must be mentioned separately, both because it is among the best French library and information networking news sources and because it may be increasingly hard to find, in these days of serials budget slashing and general "diminishing library expectations". _BBF_ is produced by the French national library school, in Lyon. It has a large (A4), glossy format, with many photos and charts and a certain amount of useful and interesting (to a foreigner) French library advertising. Articles are written by a vast range of professors at the school, practicing librarians in the field, researchers, policy makers, and technicians. The tone is serious -- engaging but specific -- it is written by professionals for professionals, so no one is wasting anyone's time here. Past issues have been devoted to "Libraries of Art", "The Grand Libraries: Alexandria, Paris, London...", "Libraries and Schools", "Cataloging", "OPACs", "The cost of information". Every issue carries, in addition to the announced article series, standard features such as book reviews, announcements, and short pieces on library and networking news items. All issues now carry, in their initial pages, article abstracts in French, English and German. (I understand that there are plans to add Italian and Spanish to this.) Articles are indexed in PASCAL and LISA. There is no easier way to introduce a student, or a librarian about to take off for France, to the French library world than to show them _BBF_. Request it; read it; if your local librarians are thinking of dropping it from their budgets, stop them (or donate a subscription?). It isn't cheap. Foreign subscriptions now cost 450 francs per year for six issues: at 5.8 that is US $ 78. These may be obtained from: Re'gisseur de recettes des ventes de publications de l'ENSSIB, Ecole nationale supe'rieure des sciences de l'information et des bibliothe`ques (ENSSIB - BBF), 17 - 21 boulevard du 11 Novembre 1918, 69623 Villeurbanne cedex, France, telephone (16) 126.96.36.199. ISSN is 0006-2006. But it's worth it: how else will libraries stay up to date with an "information" world than by continuing to receive foreigners' "information"? 4) The French librarians are online, as I never tire of assuring both French and non - French friends. Their BIBLIO-FR electronic conference now has over 400 subscribers, and I receive several good postings -- edited by the able Herve' Le Crosnier, so that each includes messages from several subscribers -- per week. Recently, postings have included descriptions and discussions of Gopher, announcements of many interesting French information sources online, an increasing number of usefully specific requests for information, with answers, and the perennial debate over whether, and how best, to represent French language diacriticals with or in spite of "american ascii". Subscriptions are via e-mail message to: email@example.com. 5) The Agence France Presse newsfeed also now may be obtained online, in numerous places. One place is on the WELL (voice 415-332-4335), in their "france" conference (topic #4, courtesy of Alex Liberman), or you could ask FROGNET (I'm not kidding), an interesting operation run from the French Embassy in Washington, DC, via e-mail to FROG@GUVAX.GEORGETOWN.EDU. 6) The Minitel, also, is a good French libraries and information networking news source: 10 million terminals and 17,000 services must know something; and it usually is best to ask French sources about France, and Minitel is French. Increasing numbers of those services are libraries and government ministries and interesting fulltext sources. Free diskettes for mac or pc connections to this inexpensive online French source (from US 7 cents per minute) are available from voice 1-800-MINITEL. 7) "Gopher Litte'rature" -- at the French Studies department of the University of Montreal -- is an online resource well worth watching. Their ambition is to construct a service for humanities computing in this thus - far humanities - unfriendly medium. Their gopher categories enticingly include: "Lumie`res - XVIIIe siecle/", "XIXe sie`cle/", "XXe sie`cle/", "Episte'mocritique/", "Epistolarite'/", "Revues/", "Instruments de recherche en ligne/", "Liste e'lectronique BALZAC-L/". These already are beginning to fill with resources. 8) For general background, finally, I will recommend two recent sources for answers to the question "Why are the French, continually, French?", in the information networking area. One is a lucid explanation of the origins of Minitel and of the rest of the current French fascination with "le high tech": Elie Cohen, _Le Colbertisme 'high tech': Economie des Te'le'com et du Grand Projet_ (Paris : Hachette, c.1992), ISBN 2-01-019343-1, Series Pluriel Enque^te. The other is one of a number of interesting small books by the much - discussed (in France) Pierre Le'vy, on the underlying social and philosophical significance of the "information revolution": _Les technologies de l'intelligence: L'avenir de la pense'e a` l'e`re informatique_ (Paris : Eds. La De'couverte, 1990) ISBN 2-02-013091-2, 2-7071-1664-4. (See also Le'vy's _La Machine Univers: Cre'ation, cognition et culture informatique_, 1992, _L'Ide'ographie dynamique: vers une imagination artificielle?_, 1991, and the wonderfully - entitled _De la programmation conside're'e comme un des beaux - arts_, 1992.) *** Thanks to all who wrote to explain to me that the term "titulaire" in French library bureaucratese entitles its holder to the equivalent of civil service tenure, hence the interest of the President of the new Bibliothe`que Nationale de France in its management. And remember: as of March, 1994, "le microchip" is "la puce", "le software" is "le logiciel, a "database" is "une banque de donne'es" (_with_ the accent) ... and an airbag, and perhaps a politician -- French or foreign -- is a "coussin gonflable de protection", officially. *** XXX FYI France (sm)(tm) e - newsletter ISSN 1071 - 5916 * | FYI France (sm)(tm) is a monthly electronic newsletter, | 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 e - mail --------- address and, b) it isn't going to make them money: if // \\ 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 are at http://infolib.berkeley.edu (search for FYIFrance), or via gopher to infolib.berkeley.edu 72 (path: 3. Electronic Journals (Library-Oriented)/ 6. FYIFrance/ , or http://www.univ-rennes1.fr/LISTESfirstname.lastname@example.org/ (BIBLIO-FR econference archive), or via telnet to a.cni.org , login brsuser (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 email@example.com . Copyright 1992- by Jack Kessler, all rights reserved.
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