France Dominates Europe’s Digital Library

Story in the New York Times:

France has never been shy about promoting its culture, so few were surprised when it took a close interest in a new digital library intended to showcase Europe’s history, literature, arts and science.

But when the new site, called Europeana, begins life on Thursday, more than half of its two million items will come from just one of the 27 countries in the European Union: France.

So comprehensive is France’s cultural dominance over this cyberspace outpost that other countries are having their own history written for them — in French, of course.

“I find the figures extraordinary,” said Viviane Reding, the European commissioner responsible for the project. “France has half the content — the collapse of the Berlin Wall is illustrated with a French TV documentary.”

Full story here.


Wasn't it only a few years ago that the French government was complaining because the Google Books project was too English-focused or something like that.

It's pretty funny to click the BOOTS video and hear Nancy S.

Site seems to have crashed from overuse.

When you consider that the place the World Wide Web was developed CERN, though in Switzerland, was largely a French project, this seems to be a reasonable thing.

In the anglocentric United States, we are rather unware that much of the outside world does have a heavily French focus. Large portions of the third world use French as their lingua franca (this term alone is amusing), the worlds largest and most trusted news organization is the French New Service, Agence France Presse.

World wide, many international radio stations are completely dropping English broadcasts, and French broadcasts take up more and more of their broadcast schedules. Radio France International is broadcast locally in many countries in Africa, India and Asia, on local FM frequencies. And in Latin America.

I am certainly not surprised that a site that has gone up to serve the Francophone world community has gone down so rapidly. There is enormous demand.

How can the United States possibly be Anglocentric?

"Large portions of the third world use French as their lingua franca (this term alone is amusing)" lingua franca has nothing to do with French, it is an Italian phrase meaning Frankish Language. It has been used of late to describe a 'common language' as love is the lingua franca of young people.

The world's largest news service is Xinhua. The largest western news agency is Thomson Reuters.

That no one in the news industry considers Xinhua a new agency, but rather a state news service which exists to disseminate the Chinese governments policital position and not report news. It does not fit the criteria in the journalistic community for the term "News Agency"

Reuters is not the largest news service in the world, its the largest wire service. There is a difference.

France's entire news service, which includes Radio France, France 24, AFP and other French services are considered the largest new agency by virtue of number of outlets that exist off French soil or French territory, the number of agencies that they have in other nations and their large cities as well as small towns, the number of languages that they disseminate their news in. Not only are they everywhere, their reporters have more access in more places than any other news service on the planet.

Though Xinhua employs 8400 people the number who are journalists or editors is much smaller. On the other hand Agence France Press employs 2000 people 1900 of who are either journalists or editors.

If one looks at the motto of Fox News, "We Report, You Decide" and tried to create a similar motto for Xinhua, it might be something like: "I decide, you do it" Basically there is little news created by Xinhua. It is a government organ that collects worldwide news, and then interprets world events in a manner consistant with the governments political agenda and political position. Reporters for Xinhua do not report. They are told by the government ministry what to write, and then they write it.

Reporters Without Borders have frequently contested calling Xinhua a "news agency" It does not meet the internationally accepted criteria for this type of organization.

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