3.00 FYI France: Ejournal and archive

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

April 15, 2001 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, 2001.

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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: French law online
-- the Bibliothèque Cujas


To U.S. and most Anglo - American lawyers, one of the world's great "mysteries wrapped in an enigma" is French law --

They have no jury system, after all... also no judicial review, and all too little use of precedent, and they have those mysterious crimes of passion... and inquisitorial instead of proper adversarial justice... and those strange juges d'instruction, who upset everybody all the time and are not really even, well, judges... and they think Victor Hugo still holds copyright on Notre Dame de Paris... and instead of august and forbidding caselaw the French have that even more august and forbidding Code Napoléon... and now, adding insult and obfuscation to injury, an enormous and arcane body of "European" law is being cobbled onto the already - confusing "French"...

And to French lawyers, many of whom understand US and Anglo - American law very well, not being online in France has been a frustration. In the US and Britain and elsewhere in the Anglo - American legal realm, the legal community has been in the forefront of online information -- dragged there, somewhat, by several enterprising commercial case reporting efforts, although also and in many cases, leading the charge toward public access to legal information. France, on the other hand -- the French generally, and their lawyers, and particularly their very careful and conservative general legal community -- has been getting online more slowly...

Now comes a change, however. The formidable Bibliothèque Cujas -- principal law library of the University of Paris --

-- now is online at,


and the offering in "French law" which it now makes to the global legal community is considerable:


In these information - overloaded days -- time was, we were going to organize all of this so as to avoid "information overload", weren't we? -- there can be little substitute for these "filtering" and "organization" and "presentation" tasks, performed by an experienced librarian.

Sure, the users can get out on the Nets and find all of this stuff themselves. But just try it! I am a user, and I have tried -- using Yahoo!, Google, and the rest -- it is a time - consuming and costly exercise in frustration, one which gets much worse, not better, as new resources are added to the mass / mess. And how much worse, not better, for the highly - trained but even busier specialists in need of rapid access to just the right piece of information -- lawyers, doctors, physicists, engineers...

A law librarian still is better at finding things than a user is, even online. So the lists of links and annotations, and their selection and organization, which appear here courtesy of the Bibliothèque Cujas -- in what already is a very good and probably just a beginning effort -- are invaluable, I think. They are worth serious study by "information scientists" interested to see how Cyberspace is going to evolve: for somebody busy, like a lawyer, it -- Cyberspace -- is going to need law librarians.




And now a new and somewhat alarming statistic: if or at least to the extent true, then shame on the land which invented the Minitel long before the Internet was available -- France must learn the "XeroxPARC lesson", that it's not just invention or even "first to market" which counts... got to keep that ball rolling, & got to keep your eye on it... -- France is falling behind the Austrians, the Finns and, 'zounds, even the British now ---

Pourcentage de foyers à haut-débit
par rapport au nombre total de foyers connectés"
(Source Forrester Research, 2000)

and, parsing things a little -- this is Europe, and in Europe things never are simple --

-- although smug Etats - unisiens need to tell me what the difference is between a "regret" and an "apology", vàv the Chinese spy plane incident this week... talk about "parsing"...

How is Vivendi ever going to compete with AOL Time Warner, if Vivendi gets stuck developing applications for a 128 kbit/s pipe?...




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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: May 3, 2001