e-texts and libraries; French dictionary (135)

Thu, 30 Mar 89 20:55:43 EST

Humanist Mailing List, Vol. 2, No. 783. Thursday, 30 Mar 1989.

(1) Date: Thu, 30 Mar 89 12:10 EDT (86 lines)
From: Ivy Anderson <ANDERSON@brandeis.bitnet>

(2) Date: Thu, 30 Mar 89 05:16:38 EST (30 lines)
Subject: French Dictionary

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 89 12:10 EDT
From: Ivy Anderson <ANDERSON@brandeis.bitnet>

Thanks to Brian Whittaker for his thoughtful response to my posting about
electronic publication and libraries. To answer my implied question whether
libraries should purchase the electronic Shakespeare, Brian (if I may use the
familiar) poses the question: "Is the library a place where one can actually
*do* research, or is it only a place where one can look up the research
that others have done?" He goes on to draw a distinction between primary
research material, secondary literature, and access tools. It is to the latter
categories, especially indexing and abstracting sources, that Brian refers
when he talks about what one does in libraries. But even those libraries
not fortunate enough to be the Bodleian Library at Oxford or the Capella
Sistina collect and provide access to primary literature in numerous forms:
critical editions of the world's major literatures, microform and print
facsimiles of manuscripts and incunabulae, and so forth.

The distinction which Brian Whittaker makes has more to do with the locus
of use than with acquisition. In fact, most of the print resources we buy
are intended to be checked out of the library ("issued," for my British
colleagues) and used in the primary research environment, be it home,
office, etc. Why not electronic media? We can certainly circulate the
electronic Shakespeare to you just as we would the print edition. (Well,
we would prudently archive the original and circulate a copy -- a practice
generally considered by libraries to be within copyright, at least in the
U.S., though Oxford may care to comment on this).

In the case of CD-ROM, recent discussions on HUMANIST make clear that
equipment availability is an inhibiting factor. But whereas few of you own
CD-ROM players, libraries are now buying them in significant numbers. This
is analogous to the case of microform materials, for which few scholars own
the special readers necessary to use the material outside the library and
perforce must *do* their research within our walls.

But computer networks now offer the promise of having one's cake and eating
it too. Why not have us (1) purchase the material (as the
academy's resource for shared scholarly resources); (2) mount it on local
area networks both inside and outside the library (appropriately licensed,
of course); (3) from which you can download the texts or portions thereof
as needed to support individual research activity. Isn't this the
electronic equivalent of buying a book, placing it on the shelf, and
having you charge it out? CD-ROM versus floppy disk then becomes an issue
for the "host," not the user.

It's true, as Brian says, that libraries thus far have inclined toward the
purchase of electronic access tools (indexes and abstracts) rather than
primary research material. There are a number of perfectly good reasons
for this, ranging from availability to ease of use as compared with
existing print versions of the same resources. Numerous forays in other
directions are springing up, however. The point is that, assuming that an
electronic delivery mechanism is in place to make material available where
it can best be used, (a rather big IF at the moment perhaps), it would
appear natural for the library to collect electronic media of every type,
just as we have both the MLA Bibliography and the Oxford Shakespeare
edition in print. It becomes then a normal matter of collection
appropriateness, i.e. is a particular resource appropriate for the
collection and scholarly activity at university X?

Of course the matter is not quite so simple, because information delivery
systems require (1) considerable money and expertise to build, (2)
institutional commitment, and often (3) close cooperation between libraries
and computing centers. Neither is the technology all there yet -- at the
Brandeis library we have a network of CD-ROM workstations which (1) hangs
several times a day, (2) does not talk to our campus network, and (3)
doesn't talk to our other library systems, e.g. the ones which know whether
we own the journals that the CD-ROM has indexed. (Yes, our network
consists solely of bibliographic tools now, but it is this very question of
adding data files with which we are grappling). But the impetus is there,
as evidenced by a trend toward converging roles for libraries and computing
centers in many academic institutions. (Many of you may know that EDUCOM
sponsored a series of conferences on this subject in the spring of 1987).

It is the experience of many of us in libraries that, while we are very
cognizant of the challenge that electronic publication poses for our
collections and services, many of our scholar-patrons are quite ignorant of
our concern with this issue. It is for this reason that I have raised the
matter on HUMANIST. I would venture to say that most librarians view the
electronic delivery of scholarly information as both desirable and
inevitable, and see a natural role for libraries in building and providing
access to these collections. Bob Kraft's recent issue of *Offline* offers
more evidence of this proliferation. But many of us are still taking our
first steps in this arena, and at the moment few scholars are asking us to
acquire these materials on their behalf. The input of scholars (and
developers) can help shape our activities in useful ways.

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------33----
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 89 05:16:38 EST
Subject: French Dictionary

Don't know of an ASCII one, but ...

Il y a un CD-ROM, *Zyzomys 1989: le dictionnaire electronique
de notre temps*. C'est un coedition Act et Hachette -- constitue
a partir des informations contenues dans le *Dictionnaire de
notre temps*, le *Dictionnaire des synonymes de M. Benac*, et
*l'Atlas pratique* -- tous ces ouvrages edites par Hachette en
version papier.

Config. mater.:
IBM PC (ou de type compatible); 640K RAM; disque dur recommande;
MS-DOS 3.00 ou plus; lecteur de CD-ROM; extensions CD-ROM MSCDEX
souris de type Microsoft ou Logitech; carte graphique couleur de
type EGA

Zyzomys (Act/Hachette)
12 rue de la Montagne Sainte Genevieve
75005 Paris

ISBN 2 86 58 50196

Ruth Glynn