Report Bobcatsss Ankara ! The changing role of the manager in the digital era

The changing role of the manager in the digital era: Findings from Erasmus IP LibCMASS 2012 Project


Tania Todorova

State University of Library Studies and Information Technologies, Sofia, Bulgaria, 119 Tzarigradsko shosse

Denitsa Dimitrova

State University of Library Studies and Information Technologies, Sofia, Bulgaria, 119 Tzarigradsko shosse


Kristina Videković

University of Zagreb, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Information and Communication Sciences, Croatia, Milke Trnine 5, 10 000 Zagreb


İpek Şencan

Hacettepe University, Faculty of Letters, Department of Information Management, Ankara, Turkey


Pascaline Milliat

Paris Descartes University, Paris, Institute of Technology, Paris, France

Abstract: Information sciences are an ever growing field which requires immense knowledge from its professionals. Students that are just beginning to enter this world sometimes lack practical experience or some theoretical knowledge which would prove useful in their future careers. Programs such as ERASMUS IP LibCMASS (2012-ERA-IP-11), which started in 2011, offer both of these in a stimulating international environment. The IP School include four main subjects – Library, Information and Cultural Management and Information Literacy; Intellectual Property and Information Brokering; Information Technologies in Libraries, Archives and Cultural Institutions; Preservation and Access to Cultural Heritage and Digital Libraries and brought together students and lecturers from Bulgaria, Croatia, France and Turkey. The aim of this paper is to present the inner workings of the second year of the IP LibCMASS project held in University of Zagreb and to highlight the novelties that appeared in regards to its first year. Moreover, it also aims to convey students’ conclusions about the role of the manager of cultural institutions in modern society.

Keywords: Information science, IP LibCMASS, manager of cultural institutions, future information professionals


Information science has recently become extremely important and widespread. Technology, communication, education and so on serve to develop critical analysis of information and show its significance. When thinking on the critical importance of information, information professionals’ qualifications become more debatable in recent years. Evermore businesses and institutions are looking for information professionals who can offer them unique services and who possess knowledge of their field as well as of other adjoining fields. Future information professionals will be required to know even more. They will be supposed to have the competencies in many aspects. However, universities find it difficult to offer comprehensive programs of information science because of lack of money or professors. Most often they focus on several fields within information science, e.g. library science, archival science, cultural heritage management. For this reason the ERASMUS IP ‘Library, Information and Cultural Management – Academic Summer School’ (LibCMASS, 2012) is very much needed to offer students of information science a broader scope of topics and issues that are relevant in today’s information society. Furthermore, some universities due to internal or external difficulties cannot offer a curriculum which combines theoretical knowledge and practical aspects so an interdisciplinary program bridging the gap between these two aspects has proven to be very useful to both students and professors (Todorova, Raykova, Çakmak, & Miočić, 2012). Through ERASMUS IP ‘Library, Information and Cultural Management – Academic Summer School’ students, future information professionals, have a chance to meet and recognize the various applications in different countries and also to compare national and foreign best practices.


About the Project

From 2nd to 14th September 2012 at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, the IP LibCMASS project brought together 25 students and 19 teachers from Bulgaria, Croatia, France and Turkey ( Such an international environment representing four countries with a lot of similarities and differences proved to be an amazing opportunity for creating new relations.

The Intensive Program in Zagreb centered around four main subjects: Library, Information and Cultural Management. Information literacy; Preservation and access to cultural heritage. Digital libraries; Intellectual Property. Information brokerage; and Information technologies in libraries, archives, museums and other cultural institutions. For each topic, there were several lectures presented by professors from the four universities. These lectures brought a rich knowledge to apprehend the profession of librarian and its changes in a world more and more computerized. Students studied different methods, theories and approaches to manage libraries and organize knowledge: they had lectures about  information architecture and outsourcing, for example. They also studied about the impact of new technologies and the Internet on libraries, with lectures about social networks and Internet services as a support to library services. They studied how to make available the digitized information with lectures about folksonomy, digital libraries and the ways to serve the users of cultural institutions in the digital area. Finally they compared libraries in an European dimension, with the digital library Europeana and the study of the European Union Cultural Policies and Strategies. All these topics and issues are essential for preparing students for their future careers in librarianship and for developing their ability to adjust to the changes in their profession.

During the Intensive Program, oral participation was required from students with several tasks and oral presentations. Firstly with workshops which complete lectures, and secondly, with reports made by teams, during free time. Most of the workshops were based on collaboration in international teams giving the students a chance to learn about other countries, different specialties, universities, libraries, archives, programs etc. Moreover, national teams contributed to lectures by presenting the situation in their own country, like the differences between their university programs. This oral requirement had a very good impact because it obliged the students to communicate despite the language barrier. Consequently, they made a real cultural exchange while improving their English.

Several study trips enriched these two weeks of work and created a link between courses and real practice. Students visited The National Library of Zagreb, the Croatian State Archives and the Zagreb City Libraries. Reports have been done in international teams about these visits and we can find them on the platform called “Intercultural exchange around the profession of librarian” (


A thorough and all-inclusive structure of the IP School presented students with a chance to think critically about many issues within the information society, form their own opinion and have that opinion challenged by opinions and experiences from other countries.

The most widely discussed topics were digitization and Internet services and issues relating to them. Students learned that a whole variety of issues had to be kept in minds of young information science professional. Not only did they come to realize that legal issues such as copyright, intellectual property and information assurance need to be dealt with, they also realized that information institutions no longer provide just face-to-face services. They provide user-friendly services most often in the form of digital libraries and its social networks (Facebook, Tweeter, Youtube etc.), digitized cultural heritage, Ask-the-Librarian services and others. Moreover, it is not enough just to provide the public with as much information as possible. Information science professionals need to also organize that information, e.g. through folksonomies. All of these topics do present the future of information services in all kinds of institutions; however, by the last day of the school many students concluded that by putting so much emphasis on these two aspects we tend to ignore the traditional roles of cultural institutions as well as their traditional tangible materials. Questions that appeared on everyone’s mind were questions that have been asked by the information science community for a while: Will there be a need for physical information institutions in the future? Will digitization alienate the user from information institutions and all the services that they offer? Can we as future professional and managers of cultural institutions do anything to stop such trends?

Another issue that was raised in students’ discussion was the question of university programs which tend to favor library science and information technologies as the most common representatives of information science thus neglecting other aspects such as publishing and cultural heritage management. Such blatant disregard of different aspects of information science can have a negative effect on students in the future since they will not be introduced to issues, topics, terms and practices which they may encounter in their future careers as information professionals and some as managers of cultural and information institutions. Globalization, computerization and the Internet have made it impossible for future managers to focus on solely one thing. Therefore, a versatile education is crucial in producing quality information professionals.

Even without hearing about certain topics the students concluded that today’s and future managers of cultural institutions, who have to supervise all of this flow of information, creation of services and projects and make sure that the institution abides the law, obviously have to be more than just professional in their specific field, be it library science, information brokering, printed communications, information management, cultural heritage management, etc. They have to possess knowledge going beyond their specialty, pay attention to both digital and non-digital materials and issues relating to them, be well versed in social networks and Internet services and offer a stimulating physical environment for their users. Therefore, we can conclude that managers are no longer responsible just for the well-being of the materials in their cultural institution but also for the well-being and growing interest of users and the community. As we saw with practices for stimulation of reading, the information and cultural institutions do not just provide a service to the community; they educate, form and care for the community. Managers’ responsibilities increase each day and without the help and support of their colleagues, both national and international, they would not be able to fulfill the role and mission of their institution.


Nowadays educational programs like IP-LibCMASS are a very important part of student’s future development. This intensive program which we have the opportunity to join gives students a chance to learn a lot of new things and to confirm their old knowledge. The students also have the possibility to meet many new people with which to share ideas and experiences and to keep in touch in the future. Moreover, students get a glimpse into the responsibilities of managers in the digital era which shows them that managing an elaborate machine that is a library or any other information institution requires patience, organization and most of all collaboration. This IP program is a very good example of collaboration and communication between students from different educational and cultural backgrounds. This kind of program encourages the future personal and professional collaboration. In the 21st century, almost everything can be done thanks to the advanced technology. In the digital era everyone should be able to use a computer, the Internet and some of the social networks. However, we shouldn’t forget that the majority of the content on the web is intellectual property. These issues were among the main topics discussed during the lectures in the University of Zagreb. Students participating in the Intensive program tested their English skills in a variety of workshops in international or national teams. Students were faced with problems and situations that can happen to them in their future development and they had to provide solutions. These kinds of practices help participants understand simultaneously the similarities and the difference of institutions in their countries. “United in diversity” is not just the motto of the European Unity. This is the most precise description of IP LibCMASS and other similar programs because they unite people from different countries and connect them through their common interests. For example, this year’s participants were students from Sofia, Zagreb, Ankara and Paris. Proof of the benefits of these programs is the number of people wishing to participate and the number of implemented programs. On 30 November 2012 IP LibCMASS project was awarded with the Certificate of Quality by Human Resource Development Center in Sofia, responsible for Lifelong Learning Programme in Bulgaria.


Intercultural exchange around the profession of the librarian. Retrieved 27/09/2012

LibCMASS: IP Library, Information and Cultural Management – Academic Summer School. Retrieved 27/09/2012

Todorova, T., Raykova, A., Çakmak, T., & Miočić, P. (2012). E-Motion of the manager of Cultural Institutions: Experiences within ERASMUS IP LibCMASS at State University of Library Studies and Information Technologies in Sofia. Information in e-Motion: proceedings of BOBCATSSS 2012, 20th International Conference on Information Science (pp. 324-327). Amsterdam: BOCK + HERCHEN.


Curriculum Vitae


Tania Todorova is an Associate Professor, PhD at the State University of Library Studies and Information Technologies, (SULSIT), Sofia, Bulgaria. She is a Chair Holder of Library Management Department, Deputy Chair Holder of UNESCO Chair ‘ICT in Library Studies, Education and Cultural Heritage’ and IP LibCMASS coordinator.

Denitsa Dimitrova is a 3rd year BA student at SULSIT, Sofia, specialty “Library and Information Management”.

Kristina Videković holds an MA in English language (translation studies) and a BA in Italian language and literature. She is currently working on her master thesis in Library Science and is an assistant librarian at her Faculty’s library.

İpek Şencan graduated from the Department of Information Management at Hacettepe University in 2011. Her education life continues as a MSc student and as a research assistant in the same department.

Pascaline Milliat is a 2nd year student in DUT information and communication, specialty profession of the book.

All co-authors were participants of the IP LibCMASS 2012 held at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, Croatia.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Report Bobcatsss Ankara ! The changing role of the manager in the digital era

French tutored project : we need your help !

Dear Erasmus class mates !

We would like to present you our tutored French project around the profession of librarian.

First of all, what’s a tutored project ???

It’s a project we have to make all along this year at University Paris Descartes. At the end of the year, we will have to present it for an exam. It will enable us to graduate.

The subject of our tutored project is the third place libraries in Europe. We will visit some special libraries in France and make reports about them. Those reports will be posted on the e-platform called “International exchange around the profession of librarian”.

However it’s a European project, so we need your help !

What we want to ask you is simple and not too long.

You just have to visit some special libraries in your country (2, 3 or 4), and write a short report about each of them (1 page). In those reports, you can say what is interesting, good, bad in these libraries, and which concept from a third place library is developed (see our post about Third Place Libraries here :

After that, you just have to post it on the e-platform !

In this way, we can share our experiences, the difference between our countries and especially between librarianship in our countries. We think that it’s an interesting way to learn and work around this subject !

And if you are motivated and interested by a trip in Paris, contact us ! We can welcome you and accommodate you at home !

Pascaline, Mélanie, Julie and Maxime




Posted in France, French, Visited libraries | Comments Off on French tutored project : we need your help !

National and University Library in Zagreb

Historical Overview


The  National and University Library dates back to the early 17th century. It was started as a Jesuit library but over time it grew into a public library with an important heritage – the books and manuscripts from a Croatian writer named Adam Baltazar Krčelić. With the foundation of the University of Zagreb in 1874 the University Library was created. The library took over the function of the National Library of the Croatian people and is thus today known as the National and University Library.

Over time the National and University Library changed its location several times. Towards the end of the 19th century the building was situated in the Old Town. Later on it moved to the University Administration building and after that it relocated to a very impressive building in Marulić Square.

In 1995 the National and University Library moved to a new modern building. On the third floor there is a staircase above which there is some glass. However, when you look at it from below you can see in it a reverse panoramic view of the city. It was a great scene. We were mesmerized.

The National and University Library’s primary mission is the development of the national literary corpus. It has around 2.5 million volumes – books, journals, newspapers and particularly valuable items in the library’s special collections. Modern technology has led to the library being computerized, and therefore most of its material is available online.

The library´s general opening hours are between 08.00-21.00 on Monday to Friday and 08.00-15.00 on Saturday. Also user services have different opening hours on each floor.

The National  and University Library of Zagreb is very near to the faculty. It is a good chance for students. Whenever they want they can go there. Another great opportunity for students is the possibility of late night studying. The library opens its doors for all students wishing to study until midnight every day. The guide told us that the reservations are full within an hour, especially during exam times. Moreover, the Library wanted to cater to its users by using the UDC system because it is easy to use due to its systematical nature.


The National and University Library in Zagreb has three types of collections:

1.Digital collections

2.Special collections

3.Reading rooms collections

Each part has its special collection, for example digital collections include Digitized Heritage, Croatian Historic Newspapers, Old Croatian Journals, Croatian Web Archive and the Digital Academic Repository; special collections include Manuscripts and Old Books Collections, Print Collection, Map Collection and the Music Collection; at the end, reading rooms collection have Reference Collection, LIS Collection, Doctoral and Master’s Theses Collection and the Official Publications Collection.

Croatian Historic Newspapers is a portal created in 2010 within the framework of the project the Croatian Cultural Heritage by the Croatian Ministry of Culture, and is being developed through a regular program of protection and digitization of newspapers in the National and University Library in Zagreb. The portal and other Croatian institutions want to enable users to access and search old newspapers.

The portal Old Croatian Journals aims to provide access to old Croatian journals to a cultural and scientific community and protect and preserve the cultural and scientific heritage. The project is financially supported by the Croatian Ministry of Culture and is an integral part of the Croatian Cultural Heritage.

Digital Academic Repository (DAR) features a selection of digitized old doctoral dissertations (1880 – 1952), bibliographic records of dissertations and biographical information of the authors.

Reference Collection

The LIS Collection is intended exclusively for librarians and functions as the constituent part of the Institute for Librarianship. The Collection systematically gathers national publications specializing in the field of librarianship, information and communication sciences as well as relevant publications in these fields in foreign languages. The Collection additionally serves as a ready reference collection for the Croatian Training Centre for Continuing Education for Librarians, providing access to scientific and professional literature necessary for the continuing education and lifelong learning of librarians.

A very valuable asset for the Library is also the Homeland War Book Collection which commemorates the Homeland War.

We also saw some microfilms and for most of us it was the first time we ever saw a microfilm machine. When we visited the microfilm room some users were using materials on these machines so it was interesting to see someone working on them.

Another thing we saw were important documents that are preserved in special boxes. The users who want to look at these documents can only obtain a digital copy which cannot be taken outside of the room where the documents are stored.


First of all you can find information about these services in the Basic Information section. For example information about user registration, lending and pricing services, etc. The library also offers reference services, e-services, reading rooms and IT facilities. The most important reference service is Ask a librarian. You can consult with a librarian via internet regarding any question you have.

The library provides various bibliographic-reference and catalogue information and the users may easily find out whether specific materials, books or journals  are part of the library’s holdings and get acquainted with details such as the call numbers of specific items as well as whether they are available for use and/or loan.

There isn’t enough information about e-services on the web site but you can find information about the National and University Library on social networks which provide facilities to communicate via Facebook and Twitter.

“In the library” services provide facilities like interlibrary loan, learning programs, study rooms and bookcrossing.

Reading rooms are divided by subject; for example social science, natural and applied science room, periodical rooms, etc.

The Library also offers IT facilities free of charge for all registered users. For example the library provides self-service facilities for copying various materials (parts of books or particular journal articles) only for personal use and in accordance with the Copyright and Related Rights Act. Beside this service, the library’s software and hardware services and the computer network (wired and wireless) is completely free of charge for registered users.


Users can search the library collections through available catalogues such as NUL online catalogue and scanned alphabetical card catalogue. Users can browse materials according to some categories like old Croatian journals, books, serial publications, etc. There are also electronic resources such as reference resources, social science and humanities, etc. And also you can find open access accessions and journals and doctoral and master’s theses of the University of Zagreb. Via the library website users can easily access some related sites like OCLC, WDL, TEL, WORLDCAT, etc.


The users of the library have to be registered to have access to the collections. They have a Library Membership Card, and they also have to present their Identity Card; the access is very regulated, because of the importance of the collections and the number of people who would have access to the library. All users must register when entering the library by slipping their membership cards through access control card readers. At the entrance they have to leave their personal belongings. Only small-size bags for personal documents and laptop bags are allowed.

But in spite of these strong regulations users have a lot of work space. The different spaces are really well organized for a more simple use of the library. However, there is no space which permits to speak loudly. Working in groups is tolerated, but the library must remain a quiet place. People should not disturb the others.

Furthermore, the users of the National Library can visit the last floor to drink coffee or eat something: a sort of a place to relax and socialize.

National Library’s website

The National Library in Zagreb has it’s own website, which is very well structured with a modern design. The site includes information, collection, service, resources, ask the librarian option, Feedback, user guide and virtual tour.

Feedback –  Every user can share his own opinion, comment, give recommendations and negative reviews on the website of the library.

Virtual Tour –  Visitors can see how the library looks like outside and inside before their visit.

Erasmus group in the National and University Library

In the 21st century the information technologies are very important in our lives. The cultural institutions consider their presence on the web as a good  practice. The National and University Library in Zagreb  is a good example of a modern library.

For more information see:


Posted in Croatia, Uncategorized | Comments Off on National and University Library in Zagreb

Croatian State Archives (CSA)

Erasmus group in Croatian State Archives (CSA)

On the 7th of September the Erasmus group went to the Croatian State Archives (CSA) and we want to share some information about it. We started our visit with a guide outside of the building and the first thing we saw were the owls at the top of the building which represent wisdom and knowledge. The architecture of the building is very symbolic and typical for the beginning of the 20th century, the so called Secession.


The CSA is the central archival institution in the Republic of Croatia. It performs archival services related to archival and current records created by state bodies, state and public institutions and enterprises, corporate bodies, and families and individuals whose activity covers the whole or a greater part of Croatia, or is of national interest. In order to make the memories of the Croatian nation available to the public as much as possible, the Croatian State Archives provide access to its documents under equal conditions for all researchers.

When we got inside we went to a large hall where we heard about the history of the monument and also about the history of the archiving profession. The interior of the building is divided into six main parts: atrium, main reading room, small reading room, professor’s reading room, cataloguing room and room for borrowing books. One of the rooms was undergoing restoration and it is interesting to know that was a first repainting of the room for one hundred years.

The building is decorated with the artwork of many well-known Croatian artists. For example, above the doors of the five main parts (excluding the atrium) there are pictures of Croatian cities – Jajce, Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Đakovo and Senj.

In the cataloging room we got brochures and information about the access and use and reading room rules. Today, the Archives holds more than 23.500 linear meters of archival records, dating from the 10th century to the present day and arranged into more than 1.850 archival funds and collections, more than 8 million microfilms and scans from various archives and other institutions from home and abroad and film and audiovisual material which is kept by the Croatian Film Archives Department.

Erasmus group in the Cataloging Room

Modern archival services in Croatia operate under the authority of the Ministry of Culture. The history of the State Archives can be traced back to 1643 when the archives were merely a chest containing terrestrial acts, charters, laws, privileges and the accompanying inventory.

The main reading room is the most beautiful room in the CSA. It is special for its lamps, chandelier and particularly its paintings. All the lamps are handmade as well as the chandelier with its crystals. This is the reason why the room is so bright.

Since its beginnings the CSA has developed into an autonomous institution for keeping and processing archival records. In 1913 a building on Marulić Square was built solely for the purposes of the National and University Library and the CSA. However, in 1994 the National and University Library moved to a new building, so this Secession jewel was left to the CSA.

Erasmus group in front of the Croatian State Archives

We also liked the virtual walk opportunities offered on the CSA’s web site, meaning you can visit the whole building online. In addition to its official website, the Croatian State Archives are also available on the most popular social network – Facebook (

Archival and library materials can only be used in the CSA’s reading rooms. Access and use of archival materials are determined by the Law on Archival Records and Archives Regulations for the use of archives, and Regulations for the use of the CSA Reading Rooms. Users can take a look at these documents on the CSA website or obtain them from either the Reference Service or in reading rooms.

Before arriving, or when first arriving to the CSA Reading Room, the user should contact the person in the Reference Service responsible for the use of archival records, and fill out the Researcher Application form for the use of archival records.

Another interesting feature of the CSA is the restoration laboratory located in the basement of the building. It is the largest restoration laboratory in Croatia. Apart from the laboratory other separate units specializing in different types of archival services, e.g. film archives, were also founded during the last 40 years.

Erasmus group in the Restoration Laboratory

Users can prepare themselves via the internet, through the national archival information system ARHiNET ( where they can find data about all archival funds and collections, creators, holders, special collections (charters, photographs, registry books, etc.), search aids and more than 120.000 available digital records of the most important and most used documents. The CSA library catalogue containing more than 160.000 volumes, BiblioNET, is also available on the Internet (

Finally, the CSA is also one of the main institutions for professional training of archivists as well as lifelong learning opportunities in this area. Therefore, it regularly organizes workshops, seminars, classes and other educational programs in the area of archival services and documentation management. It also organizes state exams for acquiring licenses to work as an archival professional.

The task of the archives as public authorities is to ensure the protection of records of enduring importance to the business and official purposes and as legal evidence. On the other hand, they provide access to archival material, regardless of the time, place and public memory of the events that document.

Erasmus group in the main Reading Room

Now, we can understand all the importance of this kind of organization. It really preserves our heritage, and this is not so easy, as we can see in the restoration floor. So we can say that the Croatian State Archives gratifies both our eyes and our professional curiosity.

For more information see:

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Croatian State Archives (CSA)

Erasmus classe in front of the Nationale Library of Zagreb

Posted in Bulgarian, Croatia, Croatian, French, Photos, Turkish | 1 Comment

Third Place Libraries : Our French Project


We chose to treat the subject of third place libraries for several reasons. First of all, this kind of library presents a non insignificant social interest when we consider the concurrency of the Internet. Indeed, most of libraries, in Europe or elsewhere don’t permit necessarily to the users to create links with the place where they are and the people around them, like in coffees, restaurants, etc. A library is perhaps a place a little bit too unanimated, and too muffled, a simple place of crossing. It could be great to bring a new breath to this kind of place, in order to break the clichés who are generally associated to the libraries, clichés non justificated, like for example their too studious part.

Then, we noticed that third place libraries were a concept more and more developpated in USA and Canada (Ottawa, Quebec, Toronto…) But less in Europe, and particularly in France. We want to discover the reason of this absence. Is it because of financing? The French attachment of tradition? The fear of newness? The development of third place libraries in Europe could certainly permits a new diffusion of culture, another way to approach it, according with our time and our society. Let’s develop the third place concept and his application to the libraries.

1.   Third place concept

Ray Oldenburg coined the concept in the 80’s. He identified “Third Place” as “community places on neutral ground where people can gather and interact, in contrast to first places (home) and second places (work). They are distinctive informal gathering places, they make the citizen feel at home, they nourish relationship and diversity of human contact, they help create a sense of civic pride.” (Oldenburg, Ray The Great Good Places).

So, we can understand that third places are social spaces, dedicated to social life: meeting, exchange, interactivity. It´s a neutral place, democratic place, accessible to all, simple, comfortable

This may be seen as a cure for loneliness because it promotes social links.

2.          Third Place Libraries

Library, as we know it, already has the characteristics of a third place, because it´s a living place, where people can talk with each other, they can exchange. And it is accessible to everyone.

But, the concept has developed with the rise of internet and new technologies, which questioned the use, and attractiveness of libraries. Currently, the concept is more present in United State, in the Nordic Countries and in Netherlands.

The characteristics of “Third Places Libraries” are the reorganization of physical space (With the zoning) diversification of activities proposed, playfulness (video games…), significant efforts on the design, the décor and the architecture.

The third place libraries are inspired by marketing, and work on their power of seduction, to attract visitors.

          Interactivity is really present there: children activity, cooperation with association…

It also can be a place of relaxation, where people can eat and drink, and which propose news services which go beyond the book. Like education, training, formation, research assistance for work (for example), interactive space for children, art exposure, etc.

In a lot of countries this model isn´t widespread (like France), but the concept is beginning to happen, especially with the creation of “médiathèques” and learning centers. And some libraries propose some relaxation space, cafeteria

3.          Issues raised

We can wonder if it is not a way, a trading strategy. If libraries will have to renounce to some acquisition policies in response to a need of popularization, if it risks to lose the library, if it´s a relevant concept or a market drift, is it a good relationship with culture.

According to Michel Melot *, we have to make the difference between libraries whose primary mission the preservation of documents at the expense of readers, and libraries which privilege readers, at the expense of books. But this thinking creates a division between libraries called “popular”, and other called “elitist”. And we think we can conciliate both of them.

That’s why we are very interested by this project. We desire, in long-term, that the concept of third places libraries could become usual in Europe and that the culture and the book culture develop himself in another way and permit to bring together the interested people.

If you want more information about this concept, click here:

* Michel Melot is a French librarian and historian. He wrote, among other, Les images dans les bibliothèques, La sagesse du bibliothécaire.



Posted in France, French | 2 Comments

The “Bibliothèque nationale de France”: its history

The Bibliothèque nationale de France: its history

On Tuesday 29th of November, we visited the Library François Mitterrand, a part of the “Bibliothèque nationale” de France (National library of France), also called “BnF”. This National Library is made up of seven sites but the main one is the site named Library François Mitterrand, the newest. ​

François Mitterrand Library

The history of the National Library of France began in the fourteenth century. However Louis XI really created the National Library in 1461. The legal deposit in 1537 increased the influence of the National Library because its collections will able to grow. During the French revolution, this legal deposit was removed but the library acquired new documents thanks to the seizure of French and foreign documents during this period.

The first BnF's site: Richelieu Library

The Richelieu site was the first one historically. For a long time, this site used to be the National Library because all the collections were in this place. But now, it houses the administration and specialized collections. These collections are maps, performing art, prints and photographs, western and eastern manuscripts, music, money and medals. The site of the Arsenal and the one of the Museum of Opera Library are two places with documents specialized in a period. At the Arsenal there are documents from the Revolution, whereas the Museum of the Opera Library has documents about architecture and documents about the Garnier Opera and archives of performances. The Jean Vilar site – which was founded in 1979 – houses documents about the performing arts. The two conservation sites, outside Paris, were founded in the 20th century. These sites conserve and repair all documents of the National Library. In the site of Bussy-St-Georges all these documents are digitized.

The site that we visited – François Mitterrand – was created in 1996. This is a reference and research library. It is composed of four buildings. It’s a big site – the lower level is only open to scholars and researchers, whereas the rest of the buildings are open to people over 16 years old. Actually, scholars and researchers have more rights than other users. They have access to all the documents from the legal deposit if these are necessary to their research. François Mitterrand Library also proposes many lectures, debates and exhibitions open to everybody. We’ve recently participated in one debate, “Cartography at the time of the geoweb”.

Nowadays, the BnF has many missions. Its first mission is the conservation of all documents of France. The other mission has a link with this conservation: all these documents have to be communicated and must be able to be used for research. This library wants to have an exhaustive collection which gathers all the book production of France.

Posted in BnF, Visited libraries | Comments Off on The “Bibliothèque nationale de France”: its history

The legal deposit in France

The legal deposit in France

The legal deposit is the obligation to all the producers of documents, free or not, to deposit copies to the State. The obligation concerns professionals like publishers, printers and importers, but private individuals also can deposit their documents since they are at the public’s disposal.

The legal deposit was created in France by King Francis I, in 1537. The aim was to control the production of books. At that time, it was the royal library which conserved all documents. It also published the list of books authorized by the state to libraries. Today, the legal deposit has another goal: the preservation of French heritage. Gradually, the obligation of legal deposit was extended to other documents than books, such as maps, scores, photographs. In 1992 the law of legal deposit – included in the heritage code – extended to all media, audio (radio), audio-visual (television, film) and multimedia (internet). Since 1811, the law has provided “the constitution and dissemination of national bibliographies”: The French national bibliography was born. This is a bibliography that provides access to quality bibliographic records. The National Bibliography celebrates its 200th anniversary. Longevity provides a general overview of the French publishing production.

So, the legal deposit is one of the missions of the BnF. However, it isn’t the only one institution which takes care of it: the National Audiovisual Institute (INA) manages radio and television, the National Cinema Centre (CNC) is responsible for films, and the BnF does the rest.

The department of legal deposit of the BnF is divided into several services: the monograph service, serials publications service, maps service, music service, audiovisual services and archives of the net service. The law stipulates that the publisher must send one copy of the documents if the printrun is less than 300. Otherwise he has to send two copies. Actually, the department of legal deposit receives the copies sent, stock them and catalog them. The first step is the identification of the document. Librarians check that the identification form completed by the publisher corresponds to the document, so they can be oriented toward the service concerned. Then, while waiting for the final catalog (the National Bibliography), librarians create a pre-bibliographic record that references the document in the internal catalog. This creates a bar code placed on the document. Finally, the first copy is kept and cataloged in the national bibliography. The second – if there is one – is handed to the document redistribution service in order to trade with partners of the BnF. The BnF receives about 70,000 books per year! This obviously creates storage problems.

Since 2009, the BnF has created an innovative service to improve the legal deposit: an extranet service of legal deposit is available to publishers ( This service facilitates the notification of legal deposit. Declaration of legal deposit forms are completed and sent in triplicate with the documents by the publisher. He can print these forms from the BnF’s website. On Extranet, the publisher, once registered, fills his notification online. He only has to attach the printed version and send the documents. In this notification form, the information is the same as the normal version. The difference is that it includes the bar code of the document. Librarians only need to show the pre-bibliographic record to a scanner. The publisher can then see the progress of the processing of his deposit: the bibliographic record created by the BnF. However, the BnF is aware of that they are quite slow in creating bibliographic records (because of the large number of documents received). As a result, librarians offer publishers the possibility to post bibliographic records of new documents. The public can have quicker access to bibliographic records, even if they are not perfect, in the catalog “new publishers”. Some even have a picture of the book (which will expand to the whole catalog in the coming years). This service has increased the reactivity of the BnF in the production of bibliographic records. In 2010, 3 384 publishers were registered in the extranet. 20% of books deposits were made via this new service. And the success continues.

Posted in BnF, Visited libraries | Comments Off on The legal deposit in France

Archiving Internet

Archiving Internet

At the BnF, there is a digital legal deposit department which is responsible for archiving the French web to avoid a “digital memory lapse”. Actually, since 2006 and the DADVSI law (about authors’ rights and related rights in the information society), the archiving of the French Web has become a legal obligation for the BnF (according to its patrimonial mission) and the INA (National Audiovisual Institute) which takes care of the collection of TV and radio programs.

With this new law, all types of digital publications are concerned by the archiving so that the digital legal deposit service of the BnF is aware of the main tendencies of French web publishing and the progressive dematerialization of information. The goal of this service is really to be representative rather than exhaustive (collecting all websites would be impossible!): they aim to create a digital collection representing the production and the uses of French Internet users. Of course, this archiving respects copyrights and personal data. That’s why, for example, personal Facebook pages can’t be collected.

Actually, the archiving is automatically done by a robot named Heritrix from a list of URL addresses: the robot “combs” (like in farming) digital links and analyses them, like a super fast Internet user. Of course, the five people working in the digital legal deposit service of the BnF ensure the collection by checking the quality of the collected contents.

What’s more, there are 3 types of collection:

–   the “wide collection”: only a selection of websites registered with “.fr” by the AFNIC (French organization allocating French domain names) is collected. In 2011, they are about 2 millions.

–   the “usual collection”: every day the robot deeply collects websites which publish important and short-lived information (on line newspapers, professional websites, etc.).

–   the “project collection”: the robot collects websites specially created for precise events or topics. For example, a lot of websites come into existence for the presidential election and disappear shortly after. Some websites can also be collected when there is a deep movement of protest in a society: it allows keeping archives about the evolution of the situation and what people used to think at that moment, like in Egypt or Libya.

Thereafter, data are kept on big hard discs in the digital warehouse of the BnF, according to the SPAR project (Système de Préservation et d’Archivage Réparti = Distributed Preservation and Archiving System), which is supposed to be a “real digital store”. Furthermore, files are indexed so that they can be found (by URL or words) and consulted by researchers in the reading rooms of the Research Library. Indeed, this archiving of the web is only open to accredited researchers – like all collections from the legal deposit – and not everybody.

At the moment, 14 billion files are kept in the BnF! Moreover, the library often shares its knowledge nationwide. Librarians also collaborate with other big patrimonial institutions engaged in Web archiving, within the framework of the IIPC (International Internet Preservation Consortium), of which the BnF is one of the founding members: Indeed, if every country builds its own Web archiving, we will be able to create a huge collection of the international Worldwide Web, accessible to everyone. That’s one of the motivations of the digital legal deposit service of the BnF.

Posted in BnF, Visited libraries | Comments Off on Archiving Internet

The BnF and the geoweb

The BnF and the geoweb

On Wednesday, 23rd of November, we went to the François Mitterrand Library (the newest site of the BnF) to attend a debate: “Cartography at the time of the geoweb: practices and reactivation”. We propose you an overview of the debate.

  • Map digitization: the geoweb is everywhere for everyone

The concept of geoweb is basically the way Internet gets into an object of representation. To understand the concept of geoweb it is important to see and to be conscious that there was a transition between an “anonymous Internet” and a “social network” Internet. Indeed, Internet became a tool to locate oneself on the earth area, first with Google Maps in 2005 and later Google Earth. These kinds of tool serve to locate every available resource which can be found on the Web: it makes it possible to index all the contents of the Web!

The geoweb can also be named as a “service of services” because, for example, it is possible to have access to aerial photography and this kind of document has a lot of value for the information of the earth area.

We can really say that the geoweb is everywhere for everyone because thanks to every object which has access to Internet (computer, notebook, digital tablet, mobile phone, etc), you can visit geography.

As we saw, map making is a growing practise for Internet users. The growing globalization of Internet users makes the updating of the maps in the world easier. So, with this new dynamic and collaborative map making, what is the place for the old maps? Actually, the old maps can supply a real value to the map users on the Web. Let us explain…

  • Gallica: the digital library

Gallica: the digital library

Gallica is the digital library created by the BnF in 1997. In fact, since 1992, the BnF has been digitizing its collections (books, photos, maps…). Today, 1.5 million documents are available online. One of the roles of this digital library is to conserve important old cartographic collections, to give them value and to give a large access to a public who is familiar with the web participative approach of geolocation. That’s how a better adapted transmission will be given to maps users.

Short history of the digitization of maps

1996-1997: start of maps digitization.

1999-2005: maps are classified into thematic files.

2006: obligation of web legal deposit with the DADVSI law.

2006-2011: the offer of cartographic documents increases. A logic of “specialized collections” is adopted.

2010: functionalities are added to help reading and other things.

  • Some online resources

– shows live air traffic around the world.

– international collective map catalog.

– historical map archive site (England, Wales and Scotland only).

– research program to create a geographical information system about the pre-industrial Parisian area.

– allow to navigate streets as they were in the past.

– Free map of the world, available with multiple cartographic representations (relief, streets …).

Posted in BnF, Visited libraries | Comments Off on The BnF and the geoweb