NEF - Le Livre 010101 de Marie Lebert - From the Print Media to the Internet

From the Print Media to the Internet (1999)
1. Introduction

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 that tremendous network which is leading to the upheaval of communications and working methods we are hearing so much about.

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

We are not even aware yet of the many interconnections and transformations the Internet is going to bring if the Internet changes the world as much as writing or 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 that the Internet is bringing into their professional life? These are the questions I will try to answer in the following pages.

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

More and more newspapers and magazines have a website on which their readers can find the full text or abstracts of the latest issue, archives giving access to the previous issues, dossiers on various topics, etc. More and more library catalogs are available on-line. And most sites offer hyperlinks to other websites or documents on related subjects. In short, the Internet has become an essential tool for getting information, having access to documents and broadening our knowledge.

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

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

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

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

With many thanks to Laurie Chamberlain, who kindly edited the English version of this paper.

Chapter 2: The Internet
Table of Contents

From the Print Media to the Internet
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© 1999 Marie Lebert