July 15, 1999 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on July 15, 1999.
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: 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, 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
Coverage of the terrible fire which destroyed the Bibliothèque Centrale of the Université Lumière Lyon 2 (Claude Bernard), the night of June 11 - 12 -- and the dramatic and very interesting efforts now under way to restore the building & collections & library service -- all may be seen at,
Without too much fanfare, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France has launched one of the world's premier online library catalogs on the World Wide Web:
or -- via the main BNF W3 site -- at,
now may be found 7 million bibliographic records for 8 million BNF books and periodicals, plus 850,000 authority records, constituting,
BN-OPALE PLUS, Le catalogue des collections patrimoniales (imprimés) -- Cet ensemble représente d'ores et déjà le plus grand catalogue de bibliothèque francophone en ligne.
This is the much - anticipated enlargement and extension of the BN - Opale database, which has been accessible previously via telnet://opale02.bnf.fr (login opale). Now there also are all of the added advantages of W3 access: a well - designed interface which fits graphically with the main BNF W3 site pages, explanations and links offering great assistance to researchers, and the familiarity and ease of use -- particularly useful for foreign users -- of the World Wide Ouebbe.
I wish it had pictures -- Alice asked, "Of what use is a book without pictures?" -- but I guess the glorious images to be found at the linked main BNF W3 site qualify as this. BN - Opale - Plus is a working professional tool accompanying the more generalist resources found at the main site. The catalog pages are only available in French, but are well - enough presented for foreigners with some French -- or Spanish or Italian or even some flexibility in their English or American -- to wade through and get to the complete and often invaluable BNF records.
-- simple -- author / title / subject -- "and" implied
-- complex / "combinée" -- the above plus publisher, Dewey classification or number (for periodicals since 1989) -- (is this so? the search appears to work for BN call numbers only for now) -- distinction between collective and personal authors, and between monograph and periodical titles, implied truncation using terminal *, "and" implied, keyword search for title beginnings as well as terms in title -- authors are i.e. "Hugo, Victor", subject searching of both complete subjects and subject words uses RAMEAU (Répertoire d'Autorités Matières Encyclopédique Analytique et Unifié -- one of the marvels of French acronymmetry) for book records added since 1980.
-- documents from the collections of BNF specialist departments -- cartes et plans, estampes, manuscrits -- which may be found using BN - Opaline,
or through the departments themselves;
-- most works in non - Roman scripts for which the records have not yet been transliterated into Roman characters -- an "@" symbol appearing in a record generally indicates non - Roman characters, which are not shown;
-- audiovisual documents, found in their own catalog (see http://www.bnf.fr/web-bnf/catalog/cat-audio.htm ) but not yet available on W3;
-- digitized documents, found in their own catalog (see http://www.bnf.fr/web-bnf/catalog/cat-num.htm ) which will be available on W3 in October -- some already may be seen in Gallica at http://gallica.bnf.fr/ ;
-- open stack items at Tolbiac / François - Mitterrand, Haut - and Rez - de - jardin levels, found in their own catalog (see http://www.bnf.fr/web-bnf/pratic/rj-index.htm ).
I am old enough to remember book catalogs kept on cards... little 3x5 inch pieces of cardboard with all sorts of arcane things scribbled on them...
'Time was, when research involved consulting a library's catalog only -- that consisted of either a bunch of paper cards or, a little more recently, a back office accounting collection inventory accessible from a few green - and - glowing TV tubes in the main reading room -- entirely an inward - looking exercise, pointing research only at the knowledge assembled within the library's four walls.
Now, with W3 and all of the Internet's wonders, research is outward looking: the finite universe of knowledge has become infinite, the boundaries have disappeared and with them quite a few of the older internal rules and regulations, research no longer stops at the library's four walls. BNF research now is as much the linkage to the outside world provided by,
as it is the pathway to the inside "collection" world offered by,
-- the two work hand - in - hand, and modern research which tries to benefit from only the one without the other is incomplete.
Still, both paths lead only to digital and / or print information -- and not everything in knowledge yet is digitized and / or in print -- is it?...
Congratulations to the BNF on their mammoth effort to make both the world inside and that outside their library accessible, and to link the two, and to allow the outside world to use it.
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://infolib.berkeley.edu (search fyifrance), or http://firstname.lastname@example.org/ (BIBLIO-FR econference archive), or at http://www.fyifrance.com , or at http://listserv.uh.edu/archives/pacs-l.html . 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 except as expressed above.
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