November 15, 2002 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on November 15, 2002.
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It is difficult at its easiest to obtain an overview of library developments in Europe -- much moreso any overview of European library automation, digital libraries, and particularly controversial new topics such as media convergence.
Translated works usually err in two directions: either they are too general, providing keen conceptual discussion but with little linkage to real projects, or they are too specific, providing project detail without the necessary context. "Europe", these days, offers much in generalities, and plenty of exciting projects to look at, but not too much to tie the two together.
For Europeans themselves, country - specific studies emerge from national groups, and Brussels bravely soldiers on trying to describe the overall picture, but it is difficult to synthesize. For a non - European, unfamiliar with the hierarchies and organizations of the new "Europe", it becomes impossible.
The European Library Automation Group / ELAG bridges these gaps -- for 30 years, according to Marc Chauveinc, and now counting 450 members in 27 countries. They just have published a very useful conference report, "Archives, Libraries and Museums Convergence", edited by Maria Witt of the Cité des Sciences Médiathèque and Majid Ihadjadene of the université de Paris X, which can be read profitably, by either a European or a foreigner, to obtain either a general overview or a detailed description of the latest projects.
The volume includes, "Papers / Conferences", "Workshops / Ateliers", and, perhaps most interestingly of all for those in search of an overview, country - specific "Progress Reports":
-- both Europeans and non - Europeans might note the presence among that last, now, of descriptions of "Latvia", "Lithuania", "Moldova", and several others which have not always been there before -- things change --
The volume offers, in addition, various "extra" features:
-- avant --
-- après --
And there even are handsome illustrations, this being a volume on "media convergence" after all: the bibliography comes complete with a very nice,
Musei sive Bibliothecae tain privatae quam publicae...
Lugduni Sumptibus Iacobi Prost MDCXXXV
etc. title page print, and there are other prints of equal interest scattered throughout the text -- and, at the end, seven extremely interesting and very "bookish" works by the painter Jacques Poirier are beautifully reproduced.
At a time when the world, which once was growing smaller, now seems to be simply fragmenting, in so many ways, it is at least comforting if not downright necessary to get an overview of things, in any field.
It has become so difficult now to obtain books and journals about Europe, in the US -- and increasingly it has become difficult to get printed information of certain types about the US, in Europe -- in both cases the excuses given usually are economic, something about the prices of journals and so on, although sometimes one has to wonder...
If the fragments are going to continue to communicate, over all of the brave new communications media which they have developed, they need to continue finding out about each other.
Books such as the one described here help: synthesis, but also the details and the particulars -- not just the details, and not just the vapid generalities which lead so often more to misunderstanding than to knowledge. And the nice thing about a printed book is that it is not just another part of the digital information overload -- all of those bits and bytes -- which now deluges all of us, in Europe and elsewhere, so that knowledge instead of increasing becomes overwhelming, and shrinks, or even sometimes dies completely.
I wish, myself, that I could find more European books and magazines and newspapers on US shelves now -- they are expensive, when you can find them -- and in Europe one no longer finds at least the inexpensive US publications as readily as before, it seems. Now one instead is guided, or rather directed, to the overflowing Internet...
But unless a manageable amount of information continues to be exchanged, mutual understanding truly will escape us. So I hope that some in the US and Asia and Latin America will read this book, and that Europeans will continue reading more than just the awful news headlines about all of those places as well. Perhaps if we all just stopped watching the televisions...
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 archive), or http://listserv.uh.edu/archives/pacs-l.html (PACS-L archive) or 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 except as indicated above.
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