6.0141 French Libraries (1/80)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Mon, 20 Jul 1992 12:21:26 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 6, No. 0141. Monday, 20 Jul 1992.

Date: Thu, 16 Jul 92 10:34:01 -0400
From: "Daniel Traister" <traister@a1.relay.upenn.edu>
Subject: In case the enclosure would also be of interest to HUMANIST

. . . I herewith repost it, without permission.

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Posted: Thu, 16 Jul 92 00:00:01 -0400
Date: Thu, 16 Jul 92 00:26:01 -0400
From: "Jack Kessler" <kessler@well.sf.ca.us.in.relay>
To: kessler@noc2.dccs.upenn.edu.in.relay
Subject: FYI France: some new information sources

Two new ideas for those of you who have been wondering what's been
happening at the Bibliothe`que de France and in French libraries

1) The Bibliothe`que de France's "3615 Tolbiac" information service
now has been launched on Minitel. It presents a very good overview and
current events summary for anyone wishing to obtain an introduction
to the B.de France controversy or for someone wanting to catch up
with the latest news.

For those of you who haven't yet used Minitel: this is the same
Minitel service which is so omnipresent -- 6 million distributed
terminals, many millions more free distributed pc software, every
hotel, home, and bicycle shop -- in France. Joint ventures now have
been launched with four of the US BabyBells -- Pacific Telesis' is
called "101 Online" -- but still the easiest thing is to telephone
(914) 694-6266 and request their free pc or MAC diskette. The
simple login procedure on the diskette will set up an account which
will bill to your VISA card. Use charges vary from free to many
dollars per minute, but there is a great deal of interest which you
can reach for under 30 cents per minute.

Minitel will give you access to about 14,000 French online
services, including the French telephone books and train schedules
and the CNRS' enormous PASCAL/FRANCIS (their online "Bulletin
Signaletique"), and now including many library services and an
increasing number of French online public access catalogs (all the
bibliothe`ques municipales are working hard on this). All the
services are divided among a set of different "kiosk" numbers,
which correspond to different rates of fee for their use. These are
"3614", "3615", "3616", etc.: numbers which you enter from your
main Minitel screen (in the US I believe you still must use the
prefix "F" before the above numbers to connect to France). The
Minitel "Guide des Services", reached by entering "MGS" from the
main screen, is an incomplete but still very useful indexing system
for finding service names and kiosk numbers (The Bibliothe`que de
France's "Tolbiac" is on 3615.)

2) For those of you who simply can't get enough of Parisian
controversy, the latest issue of _Le De'bat_ (mai-aou^t 1992 nume'ro
70, ISSN 0246-2346) contains a hair-raising article by the
journal's director, Pierre Nora, dredging up all the criticism and
juicy gossip which has been flung against the B.de France project
so far, and flinging it once again. Nora is not a fan of the
Bibliothe`que de France. His renewed attack is seconded by George
Le Rider, in a second piece subtitled "...des correctifs
insuffisants." These two are followed, however, by three articles
on the impending grave problems of, respectively, the university
libraries, the Sorbonne library, and the BPI library at the
Beaubourg Centre Pompidou. This naive outsider wonders whether, if
Nora and other critics have such violent objections to the
solutions being proposed for the Bibliothe`que Nationale
collection, they might have some constructive suggestions for what
apparently is a deteriorating situation among French libraries
generally, according to their own journal?

Jack Kessler


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