December 15, 1999 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on December 15, 1999.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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. Please email suggestions for improvements to me at email@example.com
The new W3 site of the INALF / Institut NAtional de la Langue Française -- their CCRTI / Catalogue Critique des Ressources Textuelles sur Internet -- may be of great interest to people here, for at least two reasons:
-- and there are welcome surprises, at CCRTI, on both counts.
The CCRTI already contains references and links to 22 remarkable projects: something of interest to everyone here -- have a look, for example, at Textes Electroniques Clandestins du dix - huitième siècle --
So, back to the two greatest general advantages of this particular online INALF / CCRTI resource:
1) the site filters: a search on "French literature in French" in Altavista currently finds "103,800 Web pages" -- not helpful -- and one in Google finds "192,000 matches". Each of these represents a site or a page to be explored and evaluated by users: fine for those fascinated with the Web and digital information -- not so good for impatient professors and writers, or for timid and / or harried students looking for a text. Better to have a librarian or other expert go through and evaluate, and select -- and that is what INALF is doing here.
"Les grilles d'évaluation" are provided at the site, soliciting suggestions from users of additions, but putting these through a rigorous set of criteria -- a set well worth examining by anyone thinking of, or impatient with, the "mere throwing up of text onto the Web" -- both those who think it is a bad idea and those who think it is a good one. INALF believes it is a bad idea, and the criteria which they are promoting for filtering and selection are presented clearly in these "grilles": i.e. for each site they want to know about updates, editing, metadata, text integrity, bibliographic references, original pagination indications, search tools, etc., etc.
The theory behind all of this filtering and selection interests INALF as well: pretty refreshing to see someone interested in theory, on the increasingly - commercial "throw it out there" Internet -- [tr. of what follows by JK] --
"It is our aim to create a space for reflection and discussion on all of the questions bearing on the provision online, and the management, of textual resources on the Internet, particularly literary texts.
"Such questions include the following:
"This space is provided for researchers engaged in digitization or needing to use materials which have been digitized -- their views are their own.
and also, like I said,
2) the site is French, very French: "high seriousness", and "objectivity", applied to the Ouebbe / Toile / Internet -- [tr. of what follows by JK] --
"The purpose of this critical catalog is to assist Internet users seeking literary texts in the French language in choosing, among the numerous sites which distribute textual resources online on the Internet, those which represent the most serious undertakings both from the point of view of editorial treatment and in their approaches to digitization.
"The catalog is selective. The sites listed and evaluated are chosen according to the following criteria:
"Each site chosen in the object is provided with a detailed description, derived from the criteria and standards which are considered in the examination of sites. The sites are classified in two categories, for which two types of evaluation procedures have been established:
"The sites selected are evaluated. Evaluation procedures have been established for the purpose of describing, objectively, each site listed. These procedures are composed of a number of formal criteria or standards which allow the user to form a judgment regarding the value of a literary site, and particular of the seriousness and honesty of the editorial and digital treatment of the texts..."
There is great faith in institutions, expressed or implied in the above -- in structures of government and education -- to produce high seriousness, quality, projects and material worthy of selection; also in "objectivity", and in the superior ability of said governmental / educational institutions to supply same. This to me sounds very French, and perhaps more importantly very "non - US".
These are not the criteria which reign supreme in big government - suspicious and market capitalism - dominated US thinking at the moment -- or in the ".com" - dominated Internet which is spreading out rapidly and chaotically all over the globe. Commercial input not only has become the dominant force in online text, now, but it appears increasingly to be the only force, as commercial publishing gradually albeit reluctantly has been pulled to the Internet, for distribution of both books and texts themselves.
Where is the online grey literature? Where are the academic projects which so often define departures from the commercial norms? Lost amid the 100s of thousands of Altavista and Google retrievals, for now...
The French think this is a Bad Thing. By their criteria, US market capitalism is not the only source of measures of goodness -- witness the "grille" used by INALF here for selecting "good" etexts. One suspects furthermore that the Chinese, in China, will have yet another "grille" to use, employing still different criteria from those used here by the French. One would hope so.
Or perhaps market capitalism will get to both places first -- porn sites (US - style rather than French) and sports channels, then the Big Broadcasters and the home shopping networks. The "French difference" -- seen as necessary and represented here by INALF -- and a "Chinese difference", from whatever direction that hopefully will emerge, both can supply much - appreciated variety to the increasing sameness of the general information offering currently online. The Small Press people are getting going, thanks in large part in fact to the Internet, but so far it still is the Big Players who appear to be emerging in dominant positions in etext.
"192,000 matches"! As the poet said, "Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink..."; or the high school teacher - turned - singer, "too much information, running through my brain..."
Note re. INALF: this is the Institut NAtional de la Langue Française, which has brought us the Trésor de la Langue Française, FRANTEXT, the sources of ARTFL, and various other literary and language - based projects --
"L'INaLF a pour mission de développer des programmes de recherche sur la langue française, tout particulièrement son lexique."
-- a project of the French government to defend, protect and preserve at least one language on the digital globe which is not English...
Congratulations to INALF and CCRTI, on an exemplary and useful site. And, alors, Merry Christmas everyone!
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://infolib.berkeley.edu (search fyifrance), or http://firstname.lastname@example.org/ (BIBLIO-FR econference archive), or at http://www.fyifrance.com . Suggestions, reactions, criticisms, praise, and poison-pen letters all will be gratefully received at email@example.com Copyright 1992- , by Jack Kessler, all rights reserved except as expressed above.
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