Non-anglophone worlds?

How about including, here, some resources based in France? For example:

* Gallica : ancient texts plus some not-so, manuscripts & incunabula & printed books & other things, all treasures-of-the-BN, and all digital & online now in several controversial and interestingly-European / non-US American ways —
http://gallica.bnf.fr/
http://gallica.bnf.fr/?lang=EN

* BnF / Bibliothèque nationale de France : this is the justifiably-famous old BN / Bibliothèque Nationale itself, radically-recast and not always comfortably, in its brand-new buildings & staffs & attitudes toward new technologies, prime example of a “digital library” —
http://www.bnf.fr
http://www.bnf.fr/en/tools/lsp.site_map.html

* Musée de l’imprimerie, Lyon : these folks discovered the old Renaissance type-fonts, underwater where they’d been dumped into the Sâone river from the print shops along the rue Mercière which created the Incunabula Revolution — the Musée workshops use ancient machinery to teach modern printing and binding, and they know much about mise-en-page in le-digital too — and they’re in the city which gave us Sebastian Gryphe, and Etienne Dolet… that last burned at the stake on the Place Maubert in Paris, for his new-fangled notions, proof that these transition-in-media issues are taken seriously, and can be far more bleeding-edge & risky, than many people realize —
http://www.imprimerie.lyon.fr/
(Their english / l’américain page does not appear to be up, but I’ll be happy to translate…)

* Bibliothèque municipale de Lyon : a leading provincial city-library in France, like many of those one blessed with a large confiscation-révolutionnaire of ancient texts, manuscript & print & other, preserved in the provinces and so mostly saved from marauding Parisian mobs and radical-ideas-in-flux — ideal locale for quietly studying noisy revolutionary texts in their various media transitions —
http://www.bm-lyon.fr/
(Again, happy to translate…)

* La FNAC : where France buys & sells its “books”, nowadays, digital and other — from its origins at the forefront of the modern revolt against the most recent Old Regime in French publishing, and so much-vilified by many — now on the ropes against the digital, and trying desperately to figure out what it all means commercially — France invented the Minitel, long before the “public” Internet, and now everyone in the country has an iPod & iPhone & iPad  & iMac too or is about to get one… iFrance… 🙂 —
http://www4.fnac.com/
(Ditto re. translating…)

The above list represents just the French mainstream, as well: they’ve always had an active media-underground, in addition — the placards, colporteurs, feuilletonières, cat-massacre people, avant-gardes of various types and eras…

There are plenty of experimental sites among the French nowadays, too: walking the lisière, between print media & digital — which appears to interest the conference and the others mentioned on the website.

There is really interesting work going on everywhere, in fact, internationally now, in online digital information — also some very interesting questions about how all this will or won’t scale-up, to international applications… including multilingual access but not just… social & political & economic & cultural questions as well… Kerala is not like Kansas, not at all… Information “wants to be free”, internationally too, and in languages other than english & l’américain — and everyone, Out There as well, still loves “books”.

So, the above are a few France-based suggestions for your very interesting site, and for your interesting ideas about maybe “rebalancing” the new & old media instead of “transitioning” them.

 

Jack Kessler
www.fyifrance.com

p.s. A general note & disclaimer about translation, tho: native-speakers rule!, in this… Pace fabulous exceptions such as Arthur Waley and W.S. Merwin, most human language translation doesn’t really work. Translation is an art, not a science: Waley’s is the most famous example, his “Madly Singing In The Mountains” being a phrase only a Bloomsbury gentleman like him ever would utter, never the 9th c. Chinese poet from whom Waley translated it, altho it fits the old Chinese poet perfectly.

So use GoogleTranslate, yes: but that is often more transliteration than it is translation — much as GoogleSearch is “data” search & retrieval but not yet really  “information” search & retrieval, as no less than Larry Page has told his troops.

The sites overseas offer English Versions, but these brave attempts usually are truncated, filled with howlers, and usually they are superficial dead-ends leading to sites filled from level II on down with strange-looking foreign stuff. When you run into that, however, think of all the Mongolians, Ethiopians, Burmese and residents of Bergerac who don’t even find level I homepages in their languages on our anglophone sites… much less instruction manuals… imagine troubleshooting using only a manual printed in Mongolian…

Best thing to do, then, is to partner with a foreign language native-speaker, online — easy enough to locate one, nowadays — you write to her/him in English, s/he writes to you in French — you’ll miss lots of nuances if you don’t, and French is nothing if not a language of nuance… ditto Chinese & Tamil & most…

 

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