by Jack Kessler, firstname.lastname@example.org
3.00 FYI France: Enewsletter and archive
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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: email@example.com .
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From kessler February 15 1996
Subject: FYIFrance -- Bibliothèque Nat.de France: latest facts & figures
FYIFrance: the Bibliothe`que Nat.de France: latest facts & figures The Tolbiac giant has been built, and the move from the rue Richelieu is under way, or such are the rumors from Paris. (Latest is that the books will move in the Fall.) I thought that most people here might be interested in seeing the latest official facts and figures which the French are disseminating about this enormous and risky event: (Most of what follows comes from two pamphlets distributed at the BNdF exhibit at the Library of Congress in December. The interlined comments are my own.) 1) The Collection "Today at Richelieu:" 10m books and pamphlets, including 150k rare books 350k periodicals 650k maps and plans 11m prints and photographs 170k volumes of manuscripts 570k coins, medallions, and antiques 2.1m music documents 1.1m audio and audio - visual items 1.045m performance arts posters, photos, ms., models "At the opening of Tolbiac:" [The following will be split between the new building at Tolbiac and the old sites on the rue Richelieu and at the Arsenal and the Ope'ra. Printed items -- including rare books and periodicals -- and audio - visual items are moving. Special collections -- maps, plans, prints, photographs, manuscripts, coins, medals and ancient objects, music, arts and performing arts -- are staying put.] 10m printed matter, 400k (later 800k) open access [Some revolution being wrought! The BN always has been courteous to me. But their jealous guarding of their collection has been legendary in the past. This commitment to "400k (later 800k) open access" may be the biggest change of the entire BNdF event.] [Much will depend, though, on what precisely "open access" means, going forward. All the brochure says, ominously, is, "While specialist research will retain priority, the Bibliothe`que nationale de France will offer genuine access to erudite reading to a larger public than at present." It sounds to me as though we are trying still to keep all the people happy all the time, here.] 350k periodicals: 32k French current, 8.5k foreign 76k microforms 950k microfiches 100k digitized texts [This is the famous figure. Various correspondents have clarified what I have posted here before about this target (see digitized images, below). It seems that the BNdF will have a leading digital presence in spite of all the budget problems which have worried them and many others. One can see the impressive beginnings of this digital effort already, online at: http://www.bnf.fr .] 28k multimedia documents 300k fixed digitized images [Not to be confused with the 100k digitized texts, above.] 905k audio documents 62k videos At the Bibliothe`que de l'Arsenal: 900k books and periodicals At the Bibliothe`que de l'Ope'ra: Paris Ope'ra stage set models, costumes, scores, programs 2) The Access [This is the biggest change:] "Consultation of documents" "Today" "The library is a research library only: it is open to researchers, academic staff or students who pursue research on documentation which cannot be found elsewhere. It also admits any person who looks for a document which is not available in other libraries. It is a library of last resort. "Tomorrow -- at Tolbiac" "The upper garden level will be open to any person above eighteen or holder of a baccalaureat. It will offer more than 1600 reading spaces, as well as an open access collection with up to 380,000 volumes... [I wonder how that previous "400k -> 800k" figure fits in here?] "...and 2,450 titles of periodicals. "The lower garden level allocated to researchers will contain 2000 workplaces from where they can consult the totality of the library, as well as an open collection of ultimately 420,000 volumes. "Tomorrow -- at Richelieu" "The very rich collections of the specialised departments of the Bibliothe`que nationale de France will be located at Richelieu. They will be reorganised and benefit from new storage spaces and larger reading rooms. ["Amen to that", I can hear someone say...] "Designated spaces will provide the exhibition galleries they deserve. The expansion of the electronic databases, which describe the documents and objects of these collections will be accelerated. They will be progressively more accessible in the library as well as from remote locations, thanks to the introduction of digitized pictures. [Herein lies a long digital tale, and perhaps a cautionary lesson going forward for librarians: print is going one way, digitization is going another in this setup -- the one to Tolbiac, the other to what may in fact become digitally the far more interesting site, at the old place on the Rue Richelieu. Where will the money go? What will become of all those old books containing all those old texts printed on all that acid paper? Listen to the enthusiasm of the continuing description, which is not of the place where they are going to be putting the books -- ] "A National Institute of History and Art will be created at rue de Richelieu and rue Vivienne in spaces adjacent to the specialised departments of the Bibliothe`que nationale de France. The Institute will constitute a centre for education, research and documentation based on the consolidated history of art collections, such as the Bibliothe`que de la Re'union des Muse'es nationaux, the Bibliothe`que d'Art et d'Archeologie Jacques Doucet and the Bibliothe`que de l'Ecole des Chartes. [This will be the realization of the great dream of a number of the more imaginative people in the digitization fields, both within and outside of France: a giant, or at least a unified, Bibliothe`que d'Art, where all the various raw materials which go into digitization may be assembled, examined, compared and contrasted and generally studied in proximity to one another. What a shame, though, that all of those old printed books will be going over to the other side of Paris... ] 3) Some other things "Services" * A catalogue accessible from remote locations... the French Union Catalogue (Le catalogue collectif de France containing 13 million entries) which is being produced at present... partnership agreements are signed with 54 municipal libraries and 31 university libraries. [The bibliothe`ques municipales are not public libraries in the standard American sense. They are research libraries more like the New York Public Library, and often are as hermetically sealed from the public as any research library or the BN itself. They possess some of the finest and oldest collections of books and incunabula and manuscripts in France.] * The possibility of booking seats and ordering documents from a distance... documents will be brought from the storage stacks... by automated transport on an 8 km long rail network with 150 distribution points. [Ouch! Impressive, but I hope it works, and I hope there are not any grinding or greasy gears around for things to drop into: old books have a bad record with machines, as various mechanical - shelving librarians and patrons can testify.] * Effective work stations: computer assisted workstations and audio - visual information points will provide access to digitized texts, pictures and sounds with the possibility of annotating and editing images and texts. [Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie has protested, "People call the French dinosaurs, but at least we are such _sympathetic_ dinosaurs..."] [Well, here is one dinosaur in the Tolbiac scheme. How can the BNdF pretend to be able to keep up with a digital world which already has progressed two steps beyond -- to laptops and, now, to a non - computer / "NC" Internet - access machine -- from the "the desktop computer" which was the standard when their PLAO / Poste de Lecteur Assiste' par Ordinateur was conceived?] [What software _versions_ will these scholars' workstations run? What version of Netscape, and will it offer Java and 3-D? How will they handle users' diskettes and downloading and viruses -- not to mention peanut butter and chewing gum and penmarks - on - screens -- and if they won't, how will they "stand - alone" in the now very networked and non - "stand - alone" digital world? What will the BNdF do with all its old PLAOs, when the users start trooping in with laptops then palmtops then little smartcards for reaching their Internet accounts?] [Sounds like top - down French Colbertisme, to me: I fear that the Jurassic Park at Tolbiac may be lurking in their work station section.] * Cultural and commercial services: [Tolbiac will have] an exhibition centre of 1400 m2, a conference centre with a 350 seat lecture theatre, a 200 seat lecture hall and six seminars rooms with 50 seats each, as well as shops, cafes and restaurants. "Associated Institutions" [Apparently 16 other libraries which will be engaging in cooperative collection development -- specialization -- with the BNdF. I wonder how much travelling one will have / get to do to engage in research in France shortly? The other 16 are located in:] Poitiers (Medieval History) Strasbourg (Religious sciences and Germanic culture) Lyon (History of books and information sciences) "Lyon / Paris" (Chemistry and pharmacology) Grenoble (Physics) Paris: various sites for various subjects (ie. the Bibliothe`que Cujas for law) "Toulouse / Bordeaux" (Iberian and Ibero - American languages, literature and civilisations) Compie`gne (Technology) Nancy (Industrial Safety) Aix / Marseille ("Mediterranean Exchanges") [I have no idea myself what "Mediterranean Exchanges" means -- sounds like something which the Venetian doges, or the Barbary pirates, used to do -- I am dealing here with someone elses translation.] 4) "Information technology" -- soft [Wonderful things are promised, as they are most places, but here wonderful things in fact are being carried out, as they are not yet in many of the other promising places:] * opac. The BN - OPALE computerized catalog of printed books and periodicals, begun in 1987 and now online [www.bnf.fr] * 1.8m items, 10+m author, title, and subject entries * all books acquired through legal deposit, purchase, donation and exchange since 1970 * periodicals added through legal deposit, purchase, donation and exchange since 1960 * anonymous works from the 16th through the 18th c. * _French National Bibliography (Books, Official Publications, periodicals)_ -- 48k references per year * extended opac. BN - OPALINE, an extension of BN - OPALE, to cover other types of documents held in specialized collections and a full range of images and audio documents * 340k items, 1m author, title, and subject entries * maps and plans; prints and photographs; audio, audiovisual, and multimedia documents; handwritten and printed musical scores; manuscripts, coins and medals [new, they say]; performing arts documents ["available soon" -- they are getting busy over at the Opera] * _French National Bibliography (Music, Atlases, Maps and Plans)_ * first stages of a union catalog for cartographic and musical documents * circulation -- the BN - SYCOMORE database * 400k readers, 700k volumes loaned, per year * inventory management -- 7m documents since 1991 * Phonothe`que / Audio library inventory under way now * cdrom server * 30 databases, 20+m entries, including: * French Natl Bibliogr. -- books since 1970, 800k entries * BN - OPALE listings -- 550k listings * BN acquisitions since 1970 * French Natl Bibliogr. -- sound recordings since 1983 * The catalogue of the Bibliothe`que nationale de France from its foundation to 1970... The entire catalogue of books and periodicals, from Gutenberg to the present day, will be computerized, thanks to a major operation launched in 1991 to enter all printed catalogues and machine - readable records (6m listings). 5) "Information technology" -- hard * 1,000 terminals, over 70 billion characters online * BN - OPALE GEAC database system * GEAC 9000; 7 processors -- 32MB; 15GB data; 450 terminal capacity * GEAC 9000; 4 processors -- 24MB; 12GB data; 70 terminal capacity * GEAC 9000; 6 processors -- 24MB; 12GB data; 159 terminal capacity * BN - OPALINE Bull database system * BULL DPS 7000 / 705; 2 processors -- 64MB; 22GB data; 210 terminal capacity * cdrom networks * server for 29 databases * server for 18 databases * Sybase systems: SYCOMORE and Sales Department * 1 HP 9000 H40 UNIX server; 64MB RAM / 1 GB HD; 10 GB data * 5 HP UNIX clients; DX 2 / 66 Net server; 32 MB RAM; 1 GB HD * 5 COMPAQ DX2 / 66 UNIX clients; 32 MB RAM; 540 MB HD * 34 "emulated PCs" [I wonder what "emulated PCs" really means here?] * 15 "PCs with SYCOMORE emulation" * 113 WYSE VT 220 terminals connected [and a backup system and the Sales Department and some ORACLE systems for the EVER - RELIURE and LORIS - EVER databases... (10 terminals, 27 terminals)] [Sounds like a lot of hardware. I hope that it's all interoperating ok. So much for les chiffres...] * "the technical and storage center at Marne - la - Valle'e" [I left this for last because it interests me most. This place is mentioned only once, and as shown, in the two pamphlets. The last I heard it is 50,000sqft, expandable to 600,000sqft: if true, that last would be one helluva "storage center".] [This also, interestingly, is the first time in several years of closely tracking this project that I've seen the Marne - la - Valle'e location described as anything but a "technical center". Maybe I missed something; maybe I didn't. I can't help wondering, though, about the old "80-20" inventory rule -- those 10m books which must be moved and stored, 8m of which no one ever reads -- and those great caverns out at Marne - la - Valle'e. I wonder just how many of the books will wind up in the enormous and only perhaps newly - christened "storage center"? EuroDisney, incidentally, will be a neighbor there.] [The French never cease to amaze. Bonne route la BNdF!]
XXXFYIFrance (sm)(tm) e - newsletter ISSN 1071 - 5916 * | FYIFrance (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 FYIFrance 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/LISTESemail@example.com/ (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 firstname.lastname@example.org . Copyright 1992- by Jack Kessler, all rights reserved.
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