by Jack Kessler, email@example.com
3.00 FYI France: Enewsletter and archive
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Versions of the following have appeared online regularly, since 1992, as a feature of the FYI France enewsletter, ISSN 1071-5916, which is distributed for free via email every month except August. Enewsletter subscriptions may be obtained via email request to: firstname.lastname@example.org .
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From: Jack Kessler
Subject: Bib.de France politics, Online list, the BN (15 Jun 93) June 15, 1993 FYIFrance: Bib.de France politics, Online list, the BN by: Jack Kessler firstname.lastname@example.org Part 1 of 2 1) Bib.deFrance -- Object lesson in the wisdom of being on the hard (bricks and mortar) side of things?... 2) French Online Library Resources list (updated) 3) The Bibliothe`que Nationale -- last chance *** 1) Bib.deFrance -- Object lesson in the wisdom of being on the hard (bricks and mortar) side of things?... You'll remember that the question was posed here, in FYI France of May 15, whether the new Bibliothe`que de France might become nothing more than a book warehouse -- no systems, no access -- when all the current budget-cutting is done? The crucial May 15 bidding-date for the library's computer information system was suspended by the new Minister: one was facing the prospect of walls, ceiling, floor, and books, and no easy way to get at them -- the suspension of most of the librarians' (and users') dreams for the project. Well, the Minister has spoken again. Interviewed in _Le Monde_ June 9 (p.16), regarding the budget-cutting, _Le Monde_: "La Bibliothe`que de France est-elle se'rieusement touche'e? N'est-ce pas une menace pour son avenir?" "Je n'ai pas vise' la BDF parce que c'e'tait le dossier le plus cher, mais parce que c'est celui ou` pe`se le plus d'incertitudes de fond. C'est capital pour tenir des de'lais. Le ba^timent sera livre' comme pre'vu de'but 1995." _Le Monde_: "Son ouverture est-elle toujours programme'e pour le 1er janvier 1996?" "Si on peut faire de l'ouverture au public de la BDF le cadeau de Noe:l 1996, ce sera bien. J'ai mis en place des groupes de travail pour re'soudre les vraies questions de son avenir et de son statut... A l'automne dernier, on a qualifie' cette bibliothe`que ouverte au plus grand nombre de Bibliothe`que publique de recherche. La BPR. Un beau sigle dont on ne parvient pas a` me donner la traduction pre'cise. Dans ce climat d'incertitude, je ne 'signerai' rien tant qu'on ne m'aura pas dit qui pourra exactement fre'quenter cette fameuse BPR..." Translation, anyone?: not of the French, but of the "nuances"? Sounds as though the _building_ may be built by "de'but 1995", but that what will go in it may be decidedly different from the original intention, and now may not even be decided for some time. "Le ba^timent sera livre'", and, for the rest, "1996, ce sera bien..." I wouldn't place heavy bets myself on expensive information systems being included, from the sound of things: I wonder how they'll find and use the books if they're not? (Is a translation course given, anywhere, in "administrative French"?) *** 2) French Online Library Resources list (updated) As of end May, 1993, the following French library resources may be found online, accessible via the following online techniques: New in what follows: the Bibliothe`que Nationale online -- not their opac (you can get that too if you are a French library, although BN- Opale isn't spreading more widely just yet), but at least their news bulletins and book-reservation service, for that next trip to Paris -- some ftp sites, and gopher instructions in French (JUST what I need). (Thanks to several French friends for what follows -- additions, deletions, corrections gratefully received from friends anywhere. "opac" means "Online Public Access Catalog": the library catalog and, increasingly, as with those on the Internet, more.) a) Minitel "kiosk" Libraries. The following may be reached from anywhere via Minitel. (Free MAC or DOS diskettes for Minitel -- some downloading capacity now is available -- may be obtained in the US and Canada from voice telephones 914-694-6266, 914-399-0800). Access policies do change from time to time (SIBIL no longer is available -- see 3617 PANCA). Access to all this is very INexpensive: 3614 TOLBIAC Bibliothe`que de France (info.-- no opac, yet) 3614 BMLYON Bib.Municipale de Lyon (info.+ opac) 3614 BIB Bib.Municipale de Grenoble (info.+ opac) 3615 ABCDOC Archives, Bibliothe`ques, Centres de Documentation (directory) 3615 BPI Bibliothe`que Publique d'Information (Centre Pompidou, Paris) (info.+ opac) 3615 BIBNAT Bibliothe`que Nationale (info. -- no opac, yet) 3615 DASTUM Photote`que Dastum (info.+ opac) 3615 MIRADOC Bibliothe`que Universite' de Metz (info.+ opac) 3615 VDP15 Vide'othe`que de Paris (info.+ opac) 3615 VILLETTE Me'diathe`que, Cite' des Sciences et de l'Industrie (info.+ opac) 3617 CCN Catalogue Collectif National des Publications en Se'rie (national union catalog project, serials) 3617 PANCA Pancatalogue (national union catalog project, books) b) Minitel "V23" Direct-Dial Libraries. The following French library services may be reached by a direct-dial telephone call, either from a Minitel which can do so (European terminals can, but US Minitel service distributed per the above cannot), or using a V23 modem, available in European computer stores: 220.127.116.11 Amiens, Bibliothe`que d' (info.+ opac) 18.104.22.168 Arles, Bibliothe`que Municipale d'(info.+ opac) 22.214.171.124 Caen, Bibliothe`que Municipale de (info.+ opac) 126.96.36.199 Chamonix, Bibliothe`que Municipale de (opac) 188.8.131.52.60.07 Chilly-Mazarin, Bibliothe`que de (info.+ opac) 184.108.40.206.19.16 IRCAM, Centre de Recherche Musicale, Centre Pompidou, Paris (opac) 220.127.116.11 Niort, Bibliothe`que de (info.+ opac) 18.104.22.168 Sallanches, Bibliothe`que Municipale de (opac) 22.214.171.124 Tourcoing, Me'diathe`que de (info.+ opac) c) telnet (ie. from the Internet) to France 126.96.36.199 Caen, Bibliothe`que Universitaire de (login as BUSCIENCES) FRMOP22.CNUSC.FR Centre National Universitaire Sud de Calcul, Montpellier -- provides access to PANCATALOGUE and SIBIL and numerous other French services -- account required (fax -- in French -- to 67-52-37-63, at Montpellier) -- also available via Minitel (see above) or French Transpac #134022271494 (account required) IFBIBLI.GRENET.FR Institut Fourier -- Saint Martin d'Heres (opac) d) WAIS ! (There's a LOT going on in France.) Generally, search the directory-of-servers under "bibliotheque" or "France": bib-dmi-ens-fr.src Ecole Normale Supe'rieure, Paris, Dept. de Mathematiques et Informatique bib-ens-lyon.src Ecole Normale Supe'rieure de LYON bib-math-orsay-fr.src Universite' Paris-Sud bibs-zenon-inria-fr.src INRIA / Institut de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique, Sophia Antipolis (Documentation Center / Library) cirm-books-fr.src CIRM / Centre International de Rencontres Mathe'matiques, Marseille (library) directory-zenon-inria-fr.src INRIA / Institut de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique, national imag.ouvrages.src IMAG / Institut d'Informatique et de Mathematiques Applique'es de Grenoble (me'diathe`que) e) anonymous ftp sites ftp.inria.fr INRIA/Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique (Postscript technical reports) zenon.inria.fr ditto from INRIA in Sophia Antipolis ftp.ens.fr General computer science technical reports ftp.cicb.fr Univ. Rennes1 ("gopher" information in French!?) As with BITNET and particularly the Internet, it is nearly impossible to keep up with the phenomenal growth of French online resources. The Minitel's own "Guide de Services" lists only 15,000 services, while published accounts claim more than 17,000 currently in operation; and these numbers don't begin to account for the many online services which rely on the omnipresent Minitel "boxes" found throughout France -- and Minitel "V23" norm emulation software now found throughout France and increasingly elsewhere -- to act as simple terminals for their connections. Many new library services (see the list, above), use this latter function: un-tabulated and un-indexed, so that until libraries go into the marketing business no one really knows how many online French library services there are. *** Part 2 of 2 1) Bib.deFrance -- Object lesson in the wisdom of being on the hard (bricks and mortar) side of things?... 2) French Online Library Resources list (updated) 3) The Bibliothe`que Nationale -- last chance *** 3) The Bibliothe`que Nationale -- last chance (In Part 1, the new Minister of Culture gives his perhaps-disturbing thoughts on the future of the Bibliothe`que de France, and an updated Frlibs / French Online Library Resources list.) The Bibliothe`que Nationale -- last chance There is a privilege rare in the past and unavailable in the future, which will interest anyone who likes cherished old institutions or who loves libraries, and one which any of you who can get to Paris may be able to enjoy, until 1995. The Bibliothe`que Nationale gave a small group (15 of us) of the "Friends of the BN" a back-room tour a short time ago. It was fascinating, inspiring, poignant, sad: a never-to-be- forgotten experience for this library fan, who never will suggest in the future, in his enthusiasms over the new technologies, that there isn't real beauty in at least of some of the old ways. We met in the Salle d'Honneur, in the administrateur general's office: not many hi-tech libraries will be able to boast a similar high- ceilinged, wood-paneled meeting-room decorated with a full-size replica of Houdon's Voltaire. I suppose not many non-high-tech libraries can boast of this either, but I have more the high-tech versions on my mind these days, and I hope they won't be as boringly-functional aesthetically as some which already have appeared. We saw the Cabinet des Medailles, where the Curator treated us to an hour-long glimpse into his love-affair with a collection. I never before have held a Roman gold coin (reign of Hadrian) in my hand, and I don't suppose many regular "book librarians" have either. This was the first, but not the last, mention I heard that day of the plans/dreams for an upcoming "Bibliothe`que des Arts", to consolidate all the non-book collections which will remain at the BN's Rue Richelieu site when all the "books" go to the Bibliothe`que de France in 1995. The cavernous Salle des Periodiques was next, our guide reminding us that this originally was intended to be an extension of the always- overcrowded main reading room. It was converted to a periodicals room when the logistics of managing two reading rooms defeated the librarians of the last century. That prompted the thought that the librarians of the next century will have not two but four "main reading rooms" in the new Bibliothe`que de France: one hopes that it won't wind up with a single main reading room, as its predecessor did, and three other rooms for, say, periodicals, video-cassettes, bandes dessine'es? Those who do not remember the logistical lessons of the past are bound to repeat them. Third stop on our BN backstage tour was the restoration lab: the most impassioned stop usually, I've found, on any library tour -- there's something about book conservators... The enthusiastic and impressive conservator whom we struck showed us through a half-hour's fascinating tour of the intricacies of his art. They have 60 conservators, over 40 of whom work in the prints section which we visited. They are plumbing the depths of mass de-acidification, marrying the demands of mounting with demands of storage, and analyzing the chemical properties of various varieties of glue, on a daily and sometimes nightly basis. His current problems include a beautiful set of chalk pastel drawings by Valentine Hugo, each drawing encased carefully by the artist in plastic sheets which were fine for the time but which now rub off more chalk every time they're moved. How to improve, whether to improve? In the lab they've mounted a little exhibit to show all the different "stuff" which one artist threw into his particular home-made paper pulp -- feathers, string, stones -- all of which is coming apart inexorably as time passes. The Cabinet des Manuscrits, also on the list to remain at Rue Richelieu and take part in the new "Bibliothe`que des Arts", then received our visit. Umberto Eco's dream of medieval copyists laboring along in the ancient scriptarium is kept alive and well here: the rows of tables with tilted lecterns all were adorned with precious papers and scholars dutifully copying from them. One dream of those who are promoting the Bib.des Arts idea is that scanning and imaging might play a role here: perhaps in bringing the contents of these manuscripts to a broader public, and at least in protecting them from unnecessary handling. The Cabinet des Manuscrits-on-Minitel?: perhaps not now, but in a few years, with high-resolution scanning and video and isdn access? The Department of Maps and Plans awarded us yet another enthusiastic and impressive conservateur, who proudly showed us her "refrigerator" -- a wonderfully-air-conditioned reading room on what was a pretty hot day in Paris -- and, again, beautiful, high-ceilinged, paneled rooms. Old -- 14th, 15th century -- navigators' maps on display showed every small town which one was likely to encounter at that time along the coasts of Spain and Italy and, gradually, northern Germany and the Baltic. "Maps and Plans" is another BN department which might benefit greatly from scanning and imaging under the new Bibliothe`que des Arts. Finally, we saw the great problem, the centerpiece, the heart and the sore of the BN: the great, efficient, but now nearly-full collection of printed works. The BN houses its stacks on 11 floors of shelving -- those who are familiar with very large libraries will realize that this shelf space isn't really that much -- and these shelves are nearly full. Their one reading room, with 295 places, gets 700 applicants per day, producing long, frustrating waits outside very often for any reader who comes in late. The wait for book-paging isn't long -- I can testify personally to 30 to 45-minute waits on their especially-crowded Fridays -- but that still is a long wait compared to libraries with open stacks (that never will happen in France), or the wait for online information (will information overload ever get us that far? you bet -- try logging into some of the busier opacs on Fridays these days). Realia with a vengeance All this -- all the printed books -- will move to the Bib.de France, we are told, in 1995, or1996, or maybe 1997: new classification system, informatisation, no service interruption. We'll see... harrumph. In the meantime it is interesting to view the coming split in the BN collection -- between printed texts and everything else -- as being possibly a microcosm of the same split as it is going to occur in the use of texts generally, and as perhaps it occurred 500 years ago when printed books first appeared. Changes wrought by the appearance of the printing press in the 14th century, about which much has been said, and changes being wrought now by its supposed disappearance at the hands of the computer, about which perhaps too much has been said, both might find a specific instance in the adventure which the BN is about to undertake. Printed text will go to Tolbiac, written text and images will remain united at Richelieu, just as things were before Gutenberg: a sociology student might do well to study the changes wrought by this split at the old BN. The jury still is out on who is going to run whom, between the Bibliothe`que Nationale and the new Bibliothe`que de France. The fears, and bets, for a while were that the BN and all its assembled talent and tradition might somehow fade away, totally replaced by a hi-tech online information world center which would find book arts and book library skills irrelevant. Now the pendulum appears to have swung a bit the other way: with the new non-Mitterrand political administration in Paris looking for excuses to make changes, and the very real French budget crisis, a realization seems to have dawned suddenly that it's one thing to build a library and another very different thing to run it, and that the team already in place might be best suited for the latter job. The Bibliothe`que des Arts proposal -- this is an active idea now, being promoted in the press and talked about by Ministers and by the 80-year- old and influential "Friends of the BN" (from their brand-new headquarters) -- complicates the BN-BdF debate much further. I'm not the first American to find that Paris is a complicated place, but now quite a few Parisians associated with these issues are finding them unbelievably complex as well. Stay tuned. Note: Quelques chiffres, as the French say: the BN currently has, about, (no one really has counted up most of this accurately) -- 10 million books, 550,000 periodical titles, 15 million prints and photographs, 300,000 manuscript "volumes", 1 million music compositions, 600,000 maps and plans, 400,000 sound records, 800,000 objects in the money and medallions collection, 3 million documents in the theater arts collection, 1245 employees, 400,000 readers per year, 1,200,000 articles consulted per year, and 945 places for readers in all the combined reading rooms. Some logistical problem to move around and then manage all that. *** ISSN 1071 - 5916 end XXX FYI France (sm)(tm) e - newsletter ISSN 1071 - 5916 * | FYI France (sm)(tm) is a monthly electronic newsletter, | 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 e - mail --------- address and, b) it isn't going to make them money: if // \\ 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 are at http://infolib.berkeley.edu (search for FYIFrance), or via gopher to infolib.berkeley.edu 72 (path: 3. Electronic Journals (Library-Oriented)/ 6. FYIFrance/ , or http://www.univ-rennes1.fr/LISTESemail@example.com/ (BIBLIO-FR econference archive), or via telnet to a.cni.org , login brsuser (PACS / PACS-L econference archive), or at http://www.fyifrance.com . Suggestions, reactions, criticisms, praise, and poison - pen letters all will be gratefully received at firstname.lastname@example.org . Copyright 1992- by Jack Kessler, all rights reserved.
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