by Jack Kessler, firstname.lastname@example.org
June 15, 2015 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on June 15, 2015.
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. Please email suggestions for improvements to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the most interesting among such Central Paris institutions, specifically for anyone interested in "film" -- or "da movies", as they say in "da biz" -- although interestingly the "films" themselves have not been its central collection-mandate... -- is the following:
address: 51 rue de Bercy, 75012 Paris
questions / contacts:
"It was there, outside actual film-making, that lay the originality of the Cinémathèque française as compared with other institutions then existing. Thanks to this visionary mandate, the Cinémathèque over the years has assembled an important collection of films themselves but also of archives and equipment; it has participated, at the same time, and thanks to its collections, in influencing in major ways both the museography and the historiography of the cinema.
"The Cinémathèque française finds itself in possession now of one of the finest collections in its fields in the world."
Antonioni, aux origines du pop
Exposition from April 9 to July 19, 2015
(tr. JK) "Major Italian film-maker, hero of the Modern Cinema, Antonioni profoundly influenced the visual arts from the 20th century to our day. This exposition devoted to him began at Ferrara, his native city. His archives are there, they permitted Dominique Païni to envisage a beautiful exposition developing little-known aspects, and others already well-known, of a life consecrated to the cinematographic art, the ensemble representing an impressive trajectory... The exposition is mounted at the Cinémathèque, accompanied by a catalog containing texts, documents, and testimonials." --
-- Worth-A-Visit / Worth-A-Journey... even from Beverly Hills, "gasp!"... ask Scorsese, he was at their opener... see ourselves as others have seen & now see us, what-a-concept / great-optics, maybe even see the others...
And now, with the era of the Internet of Things / IoT upon us, all those little "mobiles" hold even more data... inter-much-alia, "movies"... --
-- who does not have a "movie of the kids" on the mobile, these days?
-- what teenager does not have a "selfie with friends" -- at least a still-shot, but increasingly a video-clip or several of them all doing-something together...
-- and if users stop occasionally at home to download said data-mass of images & sounds & very little text, from their 30gb mobiles, into their 4tb Drobo external drive device, or to several of same daisy-chain-linked together, well, that is done not so much to preserve them as it is to free-up room on the mobile, for more... and more, and more...
Moore's Law move over, here comes the DataFlood!
So, da movies... If there is one thing digital "multimedia" is teaching us, it is that the media is not the message -- that we become educated in many ways, nowadays, many of them involving sound and image and touch and taste and perhaps other senses, instead of simply the printed text of which we once were so enamored -- or maybe "multimedia", The Digital at least, is all simply a Great Distraction, entertaining pablum watering-down our impressions and destroying old distinctions and interfering with our capacities to think -- both positions have been argued.
Either way, however, there's more...
Last week I attended the annual shareholders meeting of Netflix, the Internet phenomenon currently devouring the "film" & "tv" industries in large bites & bytes, and I encountered there one Reed Hastings, their energetic founder, who counseled me that, "there are lots of new writers out there"...
That echoed several elderly truisms of "da biz" -- of retail generally -- for example that, "it's only the new stuff that sells", or that this year's "star" is next year's forgotten "legend", and that Hollywood always moves over to make room for "the next pretty face"...
These are truisms ignored at great peril, by studio heads or actors or actresses or other film-people -- those perennial truths and their risks are echoed in hitech too, with its high job turnover, where new-hires work always looking over their shoulder for the next new-hire who will replace them -- true even at the top, per Andy Grove's famous counsel to anyone who would run a shop like Intel, "Only the paranoid survive..." (Doubleday, 1996).
So the Internet may be flooding now with data of and about "images" -- the modern "movie" being only one éxemplaire of the new DataFlood. For a long time I've wondered about film "archives" and music "libraries", and studio- and for that matter book-publishers' "backlists" -- whether anyone, anywhere, ever actually would view or hear or read or otherwise use "the old stuff".
Any history of libraries will show how explosive the recent growth in collections has been: from original medieval "large" book collections numbering a dozen or so items -- whatever would fit into the armarium -- to early-printing collections of several hundred chained to shelves -- to 18th c. collections of 1000s in closed-stacks -- but then & suddenly in the 19th c. jumping-up to millions and now tens of millions, stored by size & weight in futuristic warehouses -- the modern "collection" is lots to keep track of, to store & preserve & organize & index & "search & retrieve", nowadays it's a big job, no longer a task for one armarius plus a few monks... I suppose robotics at the warehouse handles it better...
Another troubling movie biz & general retail truism, however, is the "80/20 Rule" -- that 20% of the inventory drives the other 80% -- that only 20% actually "sells" or "gets used", or at least sells at full-price or gets used often or at all -- that a firm or institution is kept alive by the 20%, while it tries to figure out what to do with, or how best to dispose of, the rest.
Will our DataFlood face that problem? Will it be composed, largely already and now increasingly with all this new mobiles activity, of enormous "image" files plus far larger "movie" files -- all of which will form a vast and rapidly growing corpus of which only 20% ever will get used? Or 10%, 5%, 2%...
Our greatest and oldest libraries, nowadays with collections of 10s of millions of items and often declining usage-patterns, may already have "active-inventory" percentage figures in those lowest ranges: it is important to remember that any institution apparently enjoying vast success with a latest "hit" still can go bankrupt and suffer other traumas from failing to control inventory, that remaining 80% or 90% or 95% of their past effort which isn't doing so well... theaters do it, retailers do it, restaurants do it with their less-than-careful food order, armies do it with their outmoded equipment, libraries do it with unwieldy collections, movie studios do it with their "flops" and decaying backlists...
Scientific astral data is "bigger", online now... it's a big universe out there... Smart Houses will add enormously to the DataFlood burdens under-construction now for our Internet of Things... Sheer growth phenomena themselves such as healthcare data -- now that laggard health industry at last is digital & online & is scaling-up to enormous data flows -- everyone's health & medical information, everywhere, duplicated countless times, served up on many devices continuously to the patients, and their devices, and to many others and theirs... And there are the Forex markets, largest in history, trading nearly $5t per day 24/7 round-the-world, continuously, that's a lot of new data too...
Each of the many activities, human and other, now contributing to this rising DataFlood has an 80/20 Rule problem, deciding what to keep and what to eliminate -- and as vast data quantities accumulate, that 80% or greater of dead-inventory accumulates as well. The naive assumption that we always will be able to accommodate such quantities -- unprovable -- already is belied by our current difficulties in finding and using things amid our current quantities, very provable indeed -- "top item in the GoogleHeap" becomes the default choice for many a student paper, "Wikipedia-knowledge" becomes not only the initiation of research but its endpoint.
The new tools of The Digital and all this new data can be wonderful, but...
Umberto Eco sighed, back when he first learned that library collections were disappearing due to acid-paper, and that only a few books might be saved:
"When I pick up a Gallimard from the 1950s I have the impression of having in my hands a lamb being burned as a sacrifice... The Bibliothèque de France is studying all the methods of conservation. It will cost a fortune... But who, what authority, will decide which books to retain? Plato and Dante have known their periods of disgrace, although they have been able to transcend the centuries..."
Just so, then, a reminder, for "da movies" as for any other "collectible": as our vast collections grow far more vast, now, with our new online-digital capacities, let us plan for -- at least think about -- a time when, or situations in which, we will not be able to collect it all...
Even if Moore's Law grants us much time, an extension, before we have to consider technical engineering limits on The Digital, think of the problems we have already in combing through data mountains just to discover something useful -- our current "data-mining" has its limits too, perhaps not reached already but as the "surveillance" (US & UK) and "renseignements" (France) controversies indicate we may approach those soon -- and if not the technical engineering limits considered by Moore, yet, we still have political and social and cultural limitations looming, and there too we must consider "who will decide and how", just as Eco puzzled over that regarding acid-paper books. It is and should be a very difficult decision.
The Netflix chairman's, "there are a lot of new writers...", offers us a two-edged sword: yes the "new stuff" sells, wildly, and now with the Internet and particularly mobiles there will be a lot of that, times are very good financially now for anyone who recognizes this -- but the old problem of inventory-control, how to manage the "old stuff", what to "de-accession" and what to put through the expensive deacidification-bath, what to digitize and what to not, what to remember and what to forget, is with us still and is forever-intractable -- we must face it carefully, before it turns upon us and reminds us, once again, that we have remembered too much, and we become bogged-down in argument and unable to use our tools, or that we have remembered too little, with that same result.
The Europeans, with their irritating "right to forget" and "copyright" and "droit moral" and other eccentricities, have been through these situations many times before -- the Greeks have, particularly -- the Indians and the Chinese have been dealing with such situations for millennia... China's famous First Emperor was a book-burner, and became notorious in Chinese scholarly history for that...
So if "the business of America is business", and we-the-US may be the best at that -- Netflix just sold $5.5b in "movies" in a single year to 55 million customers located in 50 countries, with only 2189 employees so that on-average each "produced" $2.5m revenue using the "new digital techniques"... the Productivity Paradox is over... -- but "Old" Europe, very much including the invaluable Greeks, and India and China and others, still know more than we do, or at least they very usefully Think Different, about a great many other things... among which, for example, what to do about excess-inventory, of books or people or cities or soldiers or bombs, or leisure time, or money, or movies... and about the many very-difficult issues of same, for instance Umberto Eco's, "But who will decide, and how?".
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 on the Internet at 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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