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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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Date: Fri, 15 Apr 1994 15:34:42 CDT FYI France: President's Report, Conseil Sup. des Bibl.(pt.1of2) from: Jack Kessler firstname.lastname@example.org There are few better means of keeping up with French library events, and now with networked information news, than by regularly reading the _Rapport du Pre'sident_ of the Conseil Supe'rieur des Bibliothe`ques (full citation appears below). This annual report is short, comprehensive, and elegantly written by Michel Melot, former Conservateur of the Bibliothe`que Nationale's Cabinet des Estampes, then first Head Librarian of the Centre Pompidou's Bibliothe`que Publique d'Information, and now President of the CSB and a leading French library figure. In his "Rapport", Melot provides, every January, a full statement of the French library events of the preceding year. His indications of remaining issues provide the best hint of the problems likely to be undertaken by the French library community during the current year. The table of contents and translations of three sections of the most recent report -- the Introduction and sections entitled "The Development of Electronic Networks" and "The Weakness of Music Libraries" -- follow: *** (from the Rapport du Pre'sident 1993, published last month, by the Conseil Supe'rieur des Bibliothe`ques, written by Michel Melot, translated by jk:) Introduction The libraries of France confront some difficulties, along the road to their recovery. The old quantitative targets have not yet been attained, and now they must be corrected in the face of changes in the economy and in library techniques. Library staffs have grown, but library education has yet to find either its basic foundation or some commonly - accepted goals: it still needs to be stabilized. In addition to these recruitment and development difficulties, which one hopes are temporary, there are other weaknesses throughout the library world, primarily at the base and the summit of the discipline: research in information science remains inadequate, so that France remains on the outside of important international debates, while at entry - level the most numerous of the profession's personnel still await recognition of their increasing importance and specialization. The push for public literacy goes on, taking on new directions and nourishing new reflections, even though the working budgets of local governments leave much to be desired: full measure can't be taken of their work simply by counting up quantities of acquisitions and opening hours. In his reception for the Conseil Supe'rieur des Bibliothe`ques, only days after his taking office, the new Minister of Culture and French Language approved of the priority which is being given to literacy, but he asked how this task might be reconciled with limited means, and whether it would be possible to define a library formula which would not discourage the least - rich or less - decided local authorities, and still might provide the spark for literacy, while working together with other cultural institutions. We must not slow down our budget efforts, particularly the increases achieved in the number of library positions, as France is behind the other countries of Northern Europe, even with the recession which is hitting them, and also because it is more necessary than ever to plan a better arrangement of resources, a better organization of tasks, a better connection of libraries among themselves (to this end anything which can be done for cooperation among libraries will be an investment in the economy and efficiency of their future), and perhaps new methods of governing and functioning and assisting one another. In university libraries, where the emphasis is placed on increases in acquisitions and opening hours, library jobs are sacrificed for library building projects which rise very slowly from the earth. Library architecture better designed for controlling costs of surveillance and public service, the development of dial - in services, the improvement of control and consultation tools, and coherent general plans, are the order of the day if we wish to give the students, instructors and researchers access to their work tools, according to their levels of need and the demands of their disciplines. The Bibliothe`que de France, finally, has taken the necessary step of merging with the Bibiothe`que Nationale. Thus reassured, the Bibliothe`que Nationale de France finds itself at a new beginning, and now may deploy its services without neglecting either its national role or its international role, at a moment when it is not easy to foresee which services must be rendered at home and which might be developed for international application. Book borrowing, in the past, has opposed many of the other interests in the book: this difficulty has been, and is still, the occasion for our taking measures too often founded upon our weaknesses and our ignorance of the other point of view, and for compromising principles in the face of the realities of our missions. To avoid this common problem, the use of electronic documents, which has become the necessary route for both book - making and the transmission of texts, affords an opportunity for isolating some of the more ancient professionals for the benefit of a new generation of librarians. Libraries -- public, school, university, national, or specialized -- have their place in all of today's grand debates, whether they are concerned with maintaining social cohesion, or with fighting inequalities, or providing continuing education, promoting development, inventing Europe or "reinventing" the French nation. To participate actively in these debates, librarians need to be well - situated, in their own services and in their missions, able to unite and at the same time maintain their individual views. The views expressed by the Conseil Supe'rieur des Bibliothe`ques have as their goal the support of such participation. The difficulties which are to be encountered should not be concealed, but they should not be allowed to turn us from our goals: French libraries without doubt have much to learn, but they also have much to teach. They must not underestimate, if they are to progress further, either that which they must achieve, or that which they already have achieved. Table of Contents I. The Role of the State with regard to Public Libraries II. Book Borrowing in Libraries III. Librarian Education IV. The Bibliothe`que Nationale de France V. University Libraries VI. The Handling of "Grey Literature" VII. European Programs of French Libraries VIII. School Libraries and Literacy IX. Children's Libraries X. Other Questions Considered by the Conseil Supe'rieur des Bibliothe`ques [From the final section, "X. Other Questions Considered by the Conseil Supe'rieur des Bibliothe`ques":] The Development of Electronic Networks The generalization of communications by the electronic networks, in the world of research, permits access to principal sources of knowledge, the direct exchange of information, and the global and immediate diffusion of research results, and is in the process of transforming the trades of publishing, of distribution, and of documentation. The initial reports emphasized the new idea that the researcher, in direct contact with documentary resources, and mastering particular tool of composition and its circuit of distribution, might be capable today of leaving behind all librarians, publishers, and booksellers. The reality, more complex, shows that each of these actors remains indispensable and reappears in her same place, although she must modify her practices and acquire new skills. The great publishing houses are preoccupied actively with all of this, in alliance with the principal distributors of specialized periodicals, and with the American bibliographic networks. Thus the publisher Springer and the University of California have combined with a Bell company for the electronic distribution of periodicals on campuses, featuring personalized subject access; OCLC, _Chemical Abstracts_, Cornell University, and Bellcore, have inaugurated the diffusion of current and illustrated periodical collections; OCLC, _Current Clinical Trials_ and the American Association for the Advancement of Science provide fulltext searching from illustrated summaries, using hypertext, and with gateways to other databases; the English network JANET is experimenting with a service offering the on - screen consultation of periodicals through a system showing first their covers and tables of contents; the publisher Elsevier, already pursuing its Adonis editions -- offerings of medical periodicals on compact disks -- offer 42 of their 1,100 titles via electronic access, and is launching with Pergamon the CODAS service, of electronic document delivery in Materials Sciences, etc.. Subscription services (Ebsco, Blackwell, Swets, Faxon) are evolving toward new notice and bibliographic services, and electronic distribution of articles and texts. In the library world, the document delivery establishments, the British Library (BLDSC) and the CNRS (INIST) above all, are among the first to try to adapt to these new possibilities. But the rest of the librarians and publishers also must find their places in this new territory. The risk exists today, for the librarians, of finding that the users will ignore them, preferring to try their own research skills, the skills of specialists in their areas, and those of engineers able to open paths for them into electronic documentation. Free access to fulltext brings to librarians the same hope and the same potential embarrassments which, a short time ago, were provided by free access to the bookstacks, obliging them to change their manner of dealing with the public, to modify their tools, and to present their work as mediators entirely differently. The recent declarations of the American Vice - President Albert Gore on the de - regulation of telecommunications in the United States, and the significant government financing devoted -- as much by the government as by universities and private corporations -- to perfecting and securing general access to and acceptance of the networks, can only increase a movement which already is growing explosively. (Next: the French librarians' e-conference, BIBLIO-FR, conclusion of the Conseil's views on library and information networking, and "The Weakness of Music Libraries".) *** FYI France: President's Report, Conseil Sup. des Bibl.(pt.2of2) from: Jack Kessler email@example.com (In Part 1, Michel Melot, President of the Conseil Supe'rieur des Bibliothe`ques, summarized French library and information networking events of the past year and pointed out several of the issues which will be worked on this year. His discussion of the specific networking issue was begun. Here he describes the formation of the French librarians' e-conference BIBLIO-FR, he mentions several of the problems caused for libraries by networking, and he concludes with a discussion of the current problems of French music libraries.) (from the Rapport du Pre'sident 1993, published last month, by the Conseil Supe'rieur des Bibliothe`ques, written by Michel Melot, translated by jk:) A group of librarians, unhappy over the absence of French libraries on the most heavily used international networks, met at the Conseil Supe'rieur des Bibliothe`ques on June 28 to launch an electronic forum for French libraries, today known as "BIBLIO-FR" (biblio-fr@univ-Rennes1.fr), which has had a rapid success, particularly among French - speaking librarians of North America: of today's 400 subscribers, 176 are American and 56 are Canadian. This initiative was pursued under the auspices of the Conseil Supe'rieur des Bibliothe`ques, as it favored cooperation among libraries and the opening of French libraries to the outside world, two objectives which are among the Conseil's primary goals. On the one hand France and the French world should have their place on these networks, and the fact that the Ministry of Culture and of French Language was the first to place its own databases on the largest network, the "Internet", supports this policy. The objective is realistic, as was demonstrated by the network "Brise" of the St. Etienne libraries, and the perspectives opened by the experiences and projects of the universities at Caen, Grenoble and Montpellier. On the other hand, the possibilities respond to one of the questions posed on the occasion of the construction of the Bibliothe`que de France. One recently has seen American and Russian schools connected inexpensively thanks to the daily usage of electronic networks, and Mr. Gore has announced his project ("I give you this challenge: that in the year 2000 you will see connected all our classrooms, all our libraries, our hospitals and our clinics...)("Albert Gore annonce une relance de la course a` la communication interactive", _le Monde_, 14 janvier 1994) in terms which recall those used by Mr. Mitterrand in 1988. But the use of networking will not arise from Mr. Gore for French users, and if the implementation by university libraries of the network Renater, which allows high - speed connections, is under way, that of public libraries remains tied to connections to "regional connects", financed by local government, the Ministries, or large research organizations. >From this perspective, France does have some advantages. At the research level, the INRIA (Institut National de la Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique) plays a central role and contributes its expertise. At the users' level, we already have at our disposal the Minitel, a commonly - accepted tool permitting us -- even though perhaps at a low service level -- to offer, to each home, services which some think elsewhere might be reserved only for a specialized elite. The relationship between the global possibilities of access to knowledge offered by the electronic networks, and the access to all which they permit, in France with the Minitel, is not yet established. Thus the libraries -- there are more and more of them -- which offer their catalogs on the Minitel often are disappointed at their rates of consultation, and ask themselves how they might improve the service to become better known at first, but also how to become more attractive, better presented, and truly interactive. If dial - in access to library catalogs still is small, the general function of communication still is under - estimated, and certain services enjoy an unanticipated success, like e - mail which, foreseen merely as a device for speeding up the return of overdue books, has a tendency to transform itself into an ongoing dialog between reader and librarian: for asking questions, suggesting acquisitions, and participating, in a certain way, in the life of the library. Another advantage of library catalog consultations on the Minitel is to distribute the readers better among the different libraries of a city, and get them to visit several sites, permitting the equalization of acquisitions and activities of a group of libraries. These experiences at times reveal the lack of relations among the libraries and the other communications services of the city, encouraging the library to better integrate itself into the municipal system. An effort of education and information for librarians remains to be undertaken, if they are to take into account all the ramifications that this evolution implies, an effort with which the Conseil Supe'rieur des Bibliothe`ques will associate itself to the full extent of its mission and its means. The Weakness of Music Libraries Several members of the Conseil Supe'rieur have been concerned for the weakness in France of the music sections of public libraries, particularly in matters concerning music loan, which is very developed in the Anglo - Saxon countries. The increasing success of music teaching has been the object of reports which, with reason, are congratulatory. ("Un secteur culturel en de'veloppement: les e'coles de musique", in _De'veloppement Culturel_, n.101, Nov.1993. See also: Fre'de'rique Patureau, _Les Pratiques Culturelles des Jeunes_, Paris : La Documentation franc,aise, 1992.) Elsewhere, librarians know -- by the constant increase of music borrowing -- that music is one of the strong points in readers' interests, particularly the young readers and adolescents whom one wants to retain. If the music interests of the young appear to be on the rise everywhere, one can only deplore the poverty of the music offering of public libraries in full music scores which permit the actual performance of works. It must be said, first, that in the music field there must be an improvement in relations between libraries and publishers, that is to say frankly that there must be some accounting for the lost revenues produced by the photocopying which loans to the home make so easy. The prejudice caused by photocopying is more severe, in the music area than in others, because of the comparatively higher investment involved in the production of sheet music and because of their small editions. This problem is generally resolved in music conservatories by the payment of a fee by students. Its solution in libraries is a precondition of any further development. Having made an initial assessment of the situation, a committee of our Conseil, chaired by Vice - President Franck Laloe:, concluded that the loaning of music scores in France remains largely an affair of the music conservatories, a situation which excludes the public other than conservatory students and teachers. An inquiry made by the music section of the Association des Bibliothe'caires Franc,ais, addressed to 336 music teaching establishments, received 161 responses, among which 114 establishments said that they possess music collections. However only 67 said that they had a library. Inversely, the public libraries in France offering music scores are the exception. In both cases there is a problem of training qualified personnel. Several visits to the best - known collections convinced us that the missions of the conservatories in the matter of loans cannot be taken on by public libraries, even though, here and there, some cooperation might be possible. The vocation of conservatories clearly is pedagogic, and they must respond in the first instance, like any school library, to the needs of their students and their teachers. The absence of offerings in the public libraries therefore can only continue to create confusions and makeshift solutions. The municipal libraries with music collections of any importance are very few in number: at Paris, the Discothe`que des Halles, but also the Picpus Library, in the provinces several cities in the east, an area with a strong musical tradition, like Mulhouse and Belfort, and a project in the Bordeaux Library, and others. This rarity of collections involves problems: the public is not near, one must come a long way to borrow scores, and music libraries function as special libraries without having either the means or the training to do so. Lacking examples and practice, the basic questions of music librarianship rarely are made known to the profession or the government: help in creating collections comes from the Centre National du Livre without public libraries' taking advantage of their access to the help of the Direction de la Musique; bibliographic tools are lacking, particularly for the non - classical music which interests the users of public libraries, outside the education arena; the librarians themselves are apt to avoid a costly activity which risks developing at the expense of others; finally, the specialized training, as has been analyzed elsewhere, is badly lacking, in both initial and continuing education. The development of music sectors poses difficult problems to the managers of public libraries, beginning with the definition itself of what it is to be a music library, with the idea of a me'diathe`que which integrates the different media: sound documents and scores, which do not always address the same publics, do not necessarily combine well. The extension of score collections also requires a thought and a policy: if it is clear that a municipal library ought to offer different publication methods -- pocket scores and instrumental music scores -- the same cannot be said for both separate parts and orchestra scores which are too difficult to manage. To what point should the librarian, supposing that one has the means, proceed? Without doubt, the development of these services also reflects the fragility of publishing and of bookselling in France in this area. Foreign examples -- particularly of Germany and Great Britain, where these services are active and up to date, to the great profit of amateur musicians -- must be studied. This is why the Conseil Supe'rieur des Bibliothe`ques placed this question on its agenda and organized meetings assembling French experts. This study must be pursued in 1994 by visits to establishments and the consultation of the Direction de la Musique, of the commercial organizations of music publishers, and of the international association of music libraries. A more detailed study will be presented for the consideration of the Conseil and published in our next report. Bibliographic Note: _Rapport du Pre'sident (Michel Melot) Pour L'Anne'e 1993_ (Paris : Association du Conseil Supe'rieur des Bibliothe`ques, 1994). ISSN 1157-360. 128 pages. Available from: Association du Conseil Supe'rieur des Bibliothe`ques, Palais Garnier, 8 rue Scribe, 75009 Paris.
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