From the Print Media to the Internet

From the Print Media to the Internet
Author: Lebert Marie
Title: From the Print Media to the Internet
Release Date: 2008-10-26
Type book: Text
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Project Gutenberg's From the Print Media to the Internet, by Marie Lebert

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Title: From the Print Media to the Internet

Author: Marie Lebert

Release Date: October 26, 2008 [EBook #27030]

Language: English


Produced by Al Haines



Editions 00h00, Paris, 1999 & NEF, University of Toronto, 2001

Copyright © 1999 Marie Lebert

How does the world of the print media approach this new means of communicationthat is the Internet? How does the Internet take into account the various partsof the print media? A study written in March 1999 and based on many interviews.With many thanks to Laurie Chamberlain, who kindly edited this paper. The Frenchversion of this paper - De l'imprimé à Internet - is not a translation, but adifferent text. The original versions are available on the NEF, University ofToronto:


1. Introduction

2. The Internet

3. On-Line Bookstores

4. Publishers on the Web

5. On-Line Press

6. Libraries on the Web

7. Digital Libraries

8. On-Line Catalogs

9. Perspectives

10. Index of Websites

11. Index of Names


The world of the print media is big: it includes everything related to books,periodicals and pictures. The world of the Internet is much bigger. It is thattremendous network which is leading to the upheaval of communications andworking methods we are hearing so much about.

Are these two worlds antagonistic or complementary? What is the influence of oneworld on the other, and vice versa? How does the world of the print media acceptthis tremendous means of communication which is the Internet? How does theInternet take into account this centuries-old tool which is the print media? Dothey work together? Do they compete? What is their common future? Will the worldof the Internet completely swallow up the world of the print media, or, to thecontrary, will the print media domesticate the Internet as an additional meansof communication?

We are not even aware yet of the many interconnections and transformations theInternet is going to bring if the Internet changes the world as much as writingor printing did in the past, as we are constantly being told it will.

What are the implications for all the professionals of the print media: authors,booksellers, journalists, librarians, printers, publishers, translators, etc.?How do they see the breaker which is beating down on them, and the storm thatthe Internet is bringing into their professional life? These are the questions Iwill try to answer in the following pages.

More and more publications have both an electronic version and a paper versionand, in some cases, both can be ordered on-line. Numerous texts are availableon-line in digital libraries. Many of these texts also have a paper version thecybernaut can buy if he prefers reading 500 pages lying on his sofa instead ofreading them on the screen of his computer. Some texts or magazines areavailable on-line only.

More and more newspapers and magazines have a website on which their readers canfind the full text or abstracts of the latest issue, archives giving access tothe previous issues, dossiers on various topics, etc. More and more librarycatalogs are available on-line. And most sites offer hyperlinks to otherwebsites or documents on related subjects. In short, the Internet has become anessential tool for getting information, having access to documents andbroadening our knowledge.

I will examine the interaction of the print media and the Internet in thefollowing areas: bookstores, publishers, press, libraries, digital libraries andcatalogs. I shall also include the contributions of the media professionals whoanswered my inquiry about: (1) the way they see the relationship between theprint media and the Internet; (2) what the use of the Internet has brought intheir professional life and/or the life of their company/organization; and (3)how they see their professional future or the future in general with theInternet. I express here my warmest thanks to all those who replied to myinquiry.

I will also comment on the future trends regarding intellectual property,digitization, multimedia convergence and the information society. A selection ofwebsites is also available. Some of the information included here is probablyalready obsolete. Never mind. The world of the Internet is fast-moving andevolves constantly - that is one of its many assets.

This study follows a Ph.D. I completed in 1998-99 at the University of theSorbonne (Ecole pratique des hautes études), Paris, France. Although the keyideas are the same, it is not the translation of the French study, which wasFrancophone-oriented. New websites and new contributions from people belongingto the English-speaking and the international community have been included here.

Originally, I worked as a librarian in Europe and in the Middle East, undercontract to set up libraries and/or computerize catalogs. More recently, I havebeen contributing to the preparation of publications as a writer, translator,editor or indexor. Since 1996 I have been working mainly for the InternationalLabour Office (ILO), Geneva, Switzerland. As I am fascinated by languages, Ialso wrote a study about Multilingualism on the Web.


[In this chapter:]

[2.1. The Internet and the Other Media / 2.2. The "Info-Rich" and the"Info-Poor" / 2.3. The Web: First English, then Multilingual]

2.1. The Internet and the Other Media

Since a few years ago, the Internet has become integrated into our daily life,and people have gotten connected at home, at work or in their university. At theend of 1997, the number of Internet users was estimated at 90 or 100 million,with one million new users every month. In the year 2000, the number of Internetusers will be over 300 million.

Does the Internet compete directly with television and reading? In Quebec, where30.7% of the population is connected, a poll taken in March 1998 for thecybermagazine Branchez-vous! showed that 28.8% of connected Quebeckers werewatching television less than before. Only 12.1% were reading less. As stated bythe French Canadian magazine Multimédium in its article of April 2, 1998, it was"rather encouraging for the Ministry of Culture and Communications which has thedouble task of furthering the development of information highways… andreading!"

The Internet has become the medium of choice for many news consumers, in manycases matching and occasionally surpassing traditional forms of media, accordingto a survey conducted in February 1998 for MSNBC on the Internet by MarketFacts.

In an article of Internet Wire, February, 1998, Merrill Brown, editor-in-chiefof on-line MSNBC, wrote:

"The Internet news usage behavior pattern is shaping up similar to broadcasttelevision in terms of weekday use, and is used more than cable television,newspapers and magazines during that same period of time. Additionally, onSaturdays, the Internet is used more than broadcast television, radio ornewspapers, and on a weekly basis has nearly the same hours of use asnewspapers."

The corresponding number of hours per week are: 2.4 hours for magazines; 3.5hours for the Internet; 3.6 hours for newspapers; 4.5 hours for radio; 5 hoursfor cable TV; and 5.7 hours for broadcast TV.

When interviewed in Autumn 1997 by François Lemelin, chief editor of L'Album,the official publication of the Club Macintosh de Québec, Jean-Pierre Cloutier,editor of the Chroniques de Cybérie, explained:

"I think the medium [the Internet] is going to continue being essential, andthen give birth to original, precise, specific services, bywhich time we willhave found an economic model of viability. For information cybermedias like theChroniques de Cybérie as well as for info-services, community and on-line publicservices, electronic commerce, distance learning, the post-modern policy whichis going to change the elected representatives/principals, in fact, everythingis coming around. […]

Concerning the relationship with other media, I think we need to look backwards.Contrary to the words of alarmists in previous times, radio didn't kill music orthe entertainment industry any more than the cinema did. Television didn't killradio or cinema. Nor did home videos. When a new medium arrives, it makes someroom for itself, the others adjust, there is a transition period, then a'convergence'.

What is different with the Internet is the interactive dimension of the mediumand its possible impact. We are still thinking about that, we are watching tosee what happens.

Also, as a medium, the Net allows the emergence of new concepts in the field ofcommunication, and on the human level, too - even for non-connected people. Iremember (yes, I am that old) when McLuhan arrived, at the end of the sixties,with his concept of 'global village' basing itself on television and telephone,and he was predicting data exchange between computers. There were people, inAfrica, without television and telephone, who read and understood McLuhan. AndMcLuhan changed things in their vision of the world. The Internet has the sameeffect. It gives rise to some thinking on communication, private life, freedomof expression, the values we are attached to and those we are ready to get ridof, and it is this effect which makes it such a powerful, important medium."

The Web must not only give the necessary space to all languages but it must alsorespect all cultures. During the Symposium on Multimedia Convergence organizedby the International Labour Organization (ILO), Geneva, Switzerland, in January1997, Shinji Matsumoto, General Secretary of the Musicians' Union of Japan(MUJ), declared:

"It is not only in developing countries, but in advanced countries as well thatwe need to maintain our traditions. Japan is quite receptive to foreign cultureand foreign technology. […] Foreign culture is pouring into Japan and, infact, the domestic market is being dominated by foreign products. Despite this,when it comes to preserving and further developing Japanese culture, there hasbeen insufficient support from the Government. […] With the development ofinformation networks, the earth is getting smaller and it is wonderful to beable to make cultural exchanges across vast distances and to deepen mutualunderstanding among people. We have to remember to respect national cultures andsocial systems."

The Technorealism website first appeared on the Web on March 12, 1998. Accordingto the website, technorealism is "an attempt to assess the social and politicalimplications of technologies so that we might all have more control over theshape of our future. The heart of the technorealist approach involves acontinuous critical examination of how technologies - whether cutting-edge ormundane - might help or hinder us in the struggle to improve the quality of ourpersonal lives, our communities, and our economic, social, and politicalstructures."

The eight principles of Technorealism Overview have been signed by over 1,472people between March 12 and August 20, 1998. Here are the first three:

"a) Technologies are not neutral.

A great misconception of our time is the idea that technologies are completelyfree of bias - that because they are inanimate artifacts, they don't promotecertain kinds of behaviors over others. In truth, technologies come loaded withboth intended and unintended social, political, and economic leanings. Everytool provides its users with a particular manner of seeing the world andspecific ways of interacting with others. It is important for each of us toconsider the biases of various technologies and to seek out those that reflectour values and aspirations.

b) The Internet is revolutionary, but not Utopian.

The Net is an extraordinary communications tool that provides a range of newopportunities for people, communities, businesses, and government. Yet ascyberspace becomes more populated, it increasingly resembles society at large,in all its complexity. For every empowering or enlightening aspect of the wiredlife, there will also be dimensions that are malicious, perverse, or ratherordinary.

c) Government has an important role to play on the electronic frontier.

Contrary to some claims, cyberspace is not formally a place or jurisdictionseparate from Earth. While governments should respect the rules and customs thathave arisen in cyberspace, and should not stifle this new world with inefficientregulation or censorship,

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