by Jack Kessler, firstname.lastname@example.org
April 15, 2010 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, 2010.
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: email@example.com
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. And you can pay via PayPal, on the FYI France homepage:
Please email suggestions for improvements to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Interesting new books, on the Internet and libraries in France:
-- I thought this one, above, might interest some researcher, someone perhaps located somewhere more strait-laced than France, who is investigating how women and men use "social networking" with others of the same and different sexes, in our modern digital & Internetworked world. As anyone can attest who has frequented college campuses recently, and heard or viewed there the "metrosexual" ideas now-rampant, or walked into a college "unisex" dormitory bathroom, or sampled a few scenes and story-lines in the culturally-reflective & significant "Battlestar Galactica" series, these trends are generational... And for those shocked, shocked thereby, and in need of something to balance the somber sociology nowadays found too often on such subjects: this wonderfully if untranslatably-entitled opus may provide cross-cultural explanation, solace, an antidote perhaps.
-- Music? On the Internet? Well, yes... as any podcast-plugged teenager will inform you nowadays, sullenly no doubt... And not just teens: Hilary Hahn recently released one of the most beautiful diskfulls of JSBach's music I've ever heard, yet one treating those famously-unified musical integrities as consisting of individual "tracks" which now might stand on their own, a "song" -- the Ruft Uns Die Stimme chorale without the Wachet Auf -- to the horror of some JSBach musicological purists -- Bach meets Aerosmith, in the sound-byte culture -- the French "take" on this new "Musique sur Internet" is, as always, different.
-- Online Media, as-viewed from the place which invented much of modern media, beginning with some of the earliest printed "books" -- a "business strategy" look at the industries involved, again though from a French point of view, one very different from the points of view found in Silicon Valley, New York, London -- or found, and perhaps sadly for the French, generally online now out in Cyberespace.
-- re. the previous two entries: the current search & retrieval & usage & linkage & ranking & "relevance" model, viewed from afar... not analytical, perhaps, but practice-guides, which may be more "relevant", as such models rarely perform as-intended or even as-analyzed.
-- Ouebbe history... One difference I have found, in comparing French analyses of the history to American, is a significant over-emphasis of the institutional, in the former -- but anyone who was there will remember that the "institutions" which profess to run it now were not, that At The Beginning things were very un-structured -- also, American analyses now by contrast tend to under-emphasize the need for institutional structure going forward, while "overseas" in France and elsewhere it is all about structure and authority and control.
-- "must" reading for anyone wishing to understand French, and other "foreign"-very-much-including-"Chinese", attitudes toward what they consider to be the Google Phenomenon -- some, like Jeanneney, considering it to be a Google Juggernaut, running out of control and over people -- whether "they" are correct or not... The original tirade du Internet, penned by this former BnF chief, which launched the controversy in Europe, with updates...
-- the study of history, in French libraries, resources.
-- latest edition of a definitive work on what it means nowadays to be a "librarian" in France.
I've not read them all: tirades from anyone about any of them will be welcome... But I know a few of the folks involved, and I wish I knew the others. It is difficult keeping up with all of this, nowadays: both because of information scarcity, with the disappearance of Biblio-fr and sadly other fine resources, and because of information overload, as the Internet grows and grows and grows, outstripping the capacities of even Google and Europeana and Baidu(!) and the rest -- increasingly we all note that our search grabbed "35,700,000"-or-so "relevant resources", and so in frustration or simply fear we ourselves just grab whatever floated to the top of that retrieval heap, however it got there, and then we run...
So, as with "diet", no two nutritionists ever having recommended the same thing -- and as with "economics", per the old saying that "if all the world's economists were laid end-to-end they would reach no conclusion" -- just so with search & retrieval, and the Internet, and things digital... A scatter-gun approach perhaps is best, or at least it is all we can manage: serendipitous reading, random access, "browsing" -- in the face of monstrous, and monstrously-rapid, development and change in the information industries, and in their global "reach" -- the gamble that one's own variation in reading-matter is the best way of staying current is perhaps the best, and even the only, strategy for riding this particular wave.
The systematic approach doesn't work, anyway: from the ground up, from the top down, charting it, graphing it, outlining -- for, as any mathematically-minded engineer patiently will explain to you, nowadays the universe is n-dimensional, and all of those old methods for understanding it are not... and logic, which once clarified matters, has grown fuzzy... and so information overload, like all physical reality perhaps, is filled unpredictably with "black holes"... harrumph, Cicero was right...
So we are back to randomness, now, and to randomizing strategies... Oh well, if it really is just chaos out there -- or if at least currently it looks like that to us -- then going back to the undergraduate strategy of wandering through the wonderland of great library collections, and picking out a dusty volume at random, at least once in a while, perhaps is not so bad. Back to browsing, then -- it worked before, and maybe it will work again -- and it's fun, and it helps us to Think Different, just the way Apple Inc. and Mr. Feynman said we should.
We know what doesn't work, so who knows but that a few views from far away, on strange subjects such as "online family formation", and "Google/Baidu fights", and "digital Bach", all in a "foreign" French mold, might not spark some new answers?
Onward, then, and happy reading!
Jack Kessler, email@example.com
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://firstname.lastname@example.org/ (BIBLIO-FR archive), or http://listserv.uh.edu/archives/pacs-l.html (PACS-L archive), or http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/Collections/FYIFrance/ or http://www.fyifrance.com . Suggestions, reactions, criticisms, praise, and poison-pen letters all gratefully received at email@example.com . Copyright 1992- , by Jack Kessler, all rights reserved except as indicated above.
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