3.00 FYI France: Ejournal and archive

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

May 15, 2000 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on May 15, 2000.

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3.00 FYI France: Ejournal and archive

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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: kessler@well.sf.ca.us

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 kessler@well.sf.ca.us


FYI France: two interesting new digital library sites, in France,
for pros and for beginners...


1) For digital library developers / theorists / geeks,

INRIA, Centre Virtuel de Démos, Démonstrations interactives

-- the very latest, leading - edge, fun and fascinating work at the highest levels currently under pursuit in France in "digital library" approaches and techniques -- online demos which you can try out yourself;

2) and, for readers of French literature,

La Bibliothèque Bagé

-- interesting work at digitizing, and providing online free of charge, the classics of French literature -- and, just perhaps, a harbinger of things to come in online epublishing, as this appears to be a solo effort, extremely simple and extraordinarily useful, and perhaps increasingly threatening to the likes of "the corner bookshop" and "Amazon.com" and "the local library"?...



1) INRIA / Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique -- Centre Virtuel de Démos, Démonstrations interactives

W3: http://www.inria.fr/multimedia/CentreVirtuelDemos/demos-web-interactive.html

The INRIA was founded in 1967 to be the French national "computerization" research center, reporting jointly to the Ministère de la Recherche and the Ministère de l'Economie, des Finances et de l'Industrie -- currently 2000+ researchers and other personnel, spread over five centers:

Other interesting computer work is done elsewhere in France, as well, but some of the best comes out of the INRIA.

Their main Website's "Centre Virtuel de Démos" presents showcase research projects currently under way or just completed. This is not just "student work", but real research applications: both in - search - of - funding and about - to - be - funded, remembering that in France it is not the IPO / Venture Capital process which gets this done but The Government...

So, for a continually - interesting look at how the French research community, at any rate, views the development of digital applications, consider a couple of the latest INRIA projects:

Image search / retrieval --

Multilingual access -- a second INRIA project available online --

The second site:

2) La Bibliothèque Bagé


This site could not be more un - like the preceding one. As enormous, and government - directed - and - funded, and tied in to "France" and "Europe", as INRIA is -- traditional "Grande Ecole / Colbertism" France at its best and occasionally worst -- La Bibliothèque Bagé appears to be small and independent and maverick and, as such, something very new to French traditions, brought to France now by the Internet. (Also perhaps a little ephemeral, like all digital mavericks -- the BibBagé W3 adresse is not working today, July 18 2000 -- hopefully the text found here will be sufficient to get the general idea across, and someone will contact me with the update?! -- grump...)

The site is subject to all of the usual quirks of any independent - minded effort -- the first selection, for "Eugénie Grandet", currently leads to an error page, and the Hugo "Les Châtiments" dumps a "music" icon into your download which can make a MIDI player pop up when you click on the "zip" file... -- nevertheless eventually you do get to Hugo,

My general thought being that this may be the type of effort which increasingly, for worse or for better, will be bringing us literature:

Readers here will be familiar with "Project Gutenberg" and "ABU" and "the demise of the book" and "the paperless library" -- all of the promise, and hype, which have emanated from digital media and etext writing so far. But now have a look at this "Bibliothèque Bagé" site. This particular epublisher -- one "Christophe Baegert"? -- has done an excellent job at producing a straight and simple, if occasionally flawed, digital rendition of several major French text classics which now anyone, anywhere in the world, can download and read and poke through, using "stringsearch" computer functions and "cut and paste" into term papers, etc....

And Baegert's "Bibliothèque Bagé" appears to be unhindered by the preconceived notions and naivete which characterized earlier epublishing efforts. There are two nice little unapologetically - commercial banner - ads on the site already -- something called "biographie.net", and a "Dernières.com" news - service...

"Bibliothèque Bagé" also has not either over - or under - done its initial offering, although I hope that it will be adding more: the current selection of 10 classic French texts -- Balzac, Diderot, Gautier, Hugo, Poe, Proust, Verne, Voltaire, Zola -- offers enough certainly for anyone searching through Google or Yahoo for one of the texts to become interested in the others.

So "Bibliothèque Bagé" is a good start. More important, in its very simplicity it is an excellent demonstration of how a vast number of people can do this sort of epublishing online now:

-- and Stephen King is epublishing 400,000+ copies of his latest work online, taking home far more than the 10% of the proceeds previously allotted to him by print publishers... and mp3.com offers vast numbers of music recordings online for free now... and napster.com allows hundreds of thousands to epublish music which they "trade" with others for still other music... so publishing is no place for a monopolist, or the oligopolists, any longer...




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M. Eiffel

Copyright © 1992- by Jack Kessler, all rights reserved.
W3 site maintained at http://www.fyifrance.com
Document maintained by: Jack Kessler, kessler@well.sf.ca.us
Last update: July 18, 2000