FYI France

File 3: Ejournal and archive

by Jack Kessler,

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.

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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:

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:

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New books, Internet & libraries in France


Interesting new books, on the Internet and libraries in France:


A Note:

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,







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