6.0605 French Libraries online (1/193)

Fri, 19 Mar 1993 17:52:00 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 6, No. 0605. Friday, 19 Mar 1993.

Date: 19 Mar 1993 12:42:54 -0600 (CST)
Subject: French libraries on-line

FYI France: Chamonix Library, and the Alps, online

All it takes to put a library online over here is a modem. It's being
done. A "latest" list of online French libraries is attached, and
you'll see that there have been several recent additions. It's the ease
of doing this here which is so amazing.

The French government is continuing to invest heavily both in their
national "Minitel" networked information system -- 7+ million terminals
now, many millions more in Mac/pc "emulator" software packages, 17,000+
online services -- and in their libraries. There are rumors that much
of this might end with the upcoming election of The Right, but there
are other rumors that eventual privatization of, among others, France
Telecom, might give it new energy and in fact expand it.

1) Chamonix Online

The latest addition in online French libraries is the Bibliothe`que
Municipale of Chamonix. If you can't get there yourself -- it's a
beautiful little library, with one of the better-equipped children's
rooms around, and an active and ever-changing program of
lobby-exhibitions, all in one of the world's most spectacular valleys
at the foot of the Aiguille Vert, the Aiguille du Midi, and Mont Blanc
-- getting there virtually may be the next best thing. (Will they ever
have a "virtual reality" experience of the Chamonix Valley?
Hang-gliding down from the Aiguille du Midi, online.)

To get to many of these newer French library services you just make a
telephone call using a "V23" modem. No, that's not the standard used in
the US or Canada, and I don't know how commonly-available "V23" modems
are there: you can buy them for US $160 in nearly any computer store in

Unfortunately these services canNOT be reached using the Minitel
software diskettes distributed in the US by the Minitel Services Co.
(telephones: 212-399-0080, 914-694-6266): you can reach most Minitel
"kiosk" services -- "3614", "3615", even the French telephone books /
annuaires e'le'ctroniques using "3614" then "AE" (French) or "ED"
(English) -- but these newer library services bypass the "kiosk"

So this is French "information overload" coming on: people here now are
mounting online services and serving them out over normal telephone
lines, using modems which they buy at the computer store, just the way
they are on the Internet in the US. French networking is going to need
some librarians / organizers / navigators soon, just as the Internet so
badly needs them now.


2) Mountaineering Online

Another item -- not online, unfortunately, but online isn't everything,
yet -- is a mountaineering library which might be of interest to any
Sierra Clubbers on the lists. The "Bibliothe`que / Centre de
Documentation" of the "ENSA / Ecole Nationale de Ski et d'Alpinisme",
has as its mission the coverage of "mountain sports, alpinism,
rock-climbing, hiking, sking, ski-touring, skating, air sports,
mountain-biking, white-water, bungi-jumping, ...", in all their
manifestations, including, "history, technique and teaching, safety,
physiology, training, medicine, environment and mountain ecology,
economics, tourism, law,...".

They have assembled: 6000 items, including books, guides, atlases; 300
journals (175 French, 125 foreign); a collection of topographic maps,
both European and non-; vertical files of trek "itineraries"; clipping
and photo-files; and other interesting things. They have an online
national sports bibliographic database, to which they are a
contributor, called "HERACLES", of which more details if anyone is

This "ENSA" library also is located in Chamonix, next door to the
Bibliothe`que Municipale, in the giant sports centre (when you get to
the town, look for the 1960s, pre-stressed concrete, looks-as-
though-it-just-landed-from-Mars architectural nightmare -- every ski
resort has one). Visits are by appointment. Address:

Ecole Nationale de Ski et d'Alpinisme, Bibliothe`que-Documentation,
B.P. 24, 74401 Chamonix Cedex, telephone: 50-55-30-08


3) The Me'diathe`que de l'IMAG, Grenoble

Ever heard of "pro-active" librarians? How about library service based
on Usenet?

Grenoble's "IMAG / Institut d'Informatique et de Mathe'matiques
Applique'es de Grenoble" was an early user of networked
telecommunications -- library catalog "listings" to users in 1970,
batch-loaded cooperative cataloging (with several other research
libraries -- records were transferred each night via the Transpac
telecom network) during the 1980s, all the problems of phenomenal
growth in user access and demand in the late 1980s and now in the
1990s. By 1990 they had 235 workstations connected to the institute
network, and a growing problem of information overload.

Enter the library. They have developed their cataloging, available
online, and they ported it to a UNIX platform in September 1991.
Internet-access has been added, and the librarians make active
reference and bibliography use of its capacities. File transfer
projects are under way, notably with the science library at
Carnegie-Mellon. Theses and teaching materials are cataloged and made
available online. E-mail reference service is offered: the IMAG library
receives about 15 e-mail reference questions per day now from its 700
users, all of whom have library resources, Internet access, and WAIS
version 6.0 on their screens.

Most interesting, however, of IMAG's successful attempt to interject
library services into the midst of its institute's networking, is their
imaginative use of Usenet. The library and the institute have mounted
several Usenet newsgroups: Imag.me'diathe`que, for library
announcements and discussion, Imag.officiel, for institute official
business, Imag.revues, which indexes and annotates leading periodicals
in the field, and actively supports Fnet.se'minaires,
Misc.books.technical, News.announce.conference, Comp.research.Japan,
Comp.doctechreports, and many other newsgroups.

The IMAG librarian, Franc,oise Renzetti, sees librarians definitely as
one of the professions, along with "computer scientists,
mathematicians, geographers, anthropologists, sociologists...", which
will "shape the evolution of the information carried on the networks"
(Franc,oise Renzetti and Serge Rouveyrol, "Processus d'Innovation a` la
Me'diathe`que de l'IMAG", _Bulletin des Bibliothe`ques de France_,
t.37, no.2, 1992, pp.72-6). She puts the librarians' role in quotes,
though, with question-marks: she is concerned -- a concern which I
share -- that although the role is there for librarians to grasp, they
might not grasp it, to the detriment both of themselves and of network

IMAG is available to outsiders from WAIS servers.


4) French Online Libraries note (updated as of March 15, 1993)

(Merci to Jacques Faule of the BPI for initial help on this.)

a) Minitel "kiosk" Libraries. The following French library opacs and
services 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 telephone 914-694-6266,
914-399-0800). As some of you have discovered, access policies change
(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 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, serials)
3617 PANCA Pancatalogue (national union catalog, 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). Amiens, Bibliothe`que d' (info.+ opac) Arles, Bibliothe`que Municipale d'(info.+ opac) Caen, Bibliothe`que Municipale de (info.+ opac) Chamonix, Bibliothe`que Municipale de (opac)
(beginning April 1, 1993) Chilly-Mazarin, Bibliothe`que de (info.+ opac) IRCAM (Centre de Recherche Musicale, Centre
Pompidou) (opac) Niort, Bibliothe`que de (info.+ opac) Sallanches, Bibliothe`que Municipale de (opac) Tourcoing, Me'diathe`que de (info.+ opac)

WAIS (only) IMAG / Me'diathe`que de l'Institut
d'Informatique et de Mathe'matiques
Applique's de Grenoble

Jack Kessler