Edition électronique

Quel sujet vaste, une vraie souris-à-clics (bouteille-à-l’encre) ! Au bénéfice d’un Que Sais-je éponyme rédigé par de Marin Dacos et Pierre Mounier :

La recension de LaVieDesIdées.
– L’exemple à suivre dans le monde francophone : Revues.org, dont l’un des responsables est précisément l’un des auteurs de l’ouvrage en question. L’on y trouve notamment LEO, le blog « L’édition Electronique Ouverte » de l’équipe CLEO.
Homo-Numericus publiant entre autres Blogo-Numericus, des auteurs en question.

Le sujet, se développant, est désormais à suivre via EditOL (catégorie Editio).

& :
IT | Du journalisme, sujet connexe (WebOL).

Edit 2013-07 : Première version datant de 2010-09.

abc of all

En français, auf Deutsch mais que cela soit écrit en romain ou en italique mais aussi pourquoi pas en amharique il faudrait décliner toutes les formes de la pensée écrite hors idéogrammes. Bref, TypoGrapho parce que WeLoveTypography.

Much lauded iLT (i Love Typography) has released a long note on the alphabet (2010-08), introducing its variety back to its origin in Sumer.

We see it every day on signs, billboards, packaging, in books and magazines; in fact, you are looking at it now — the Latin or Roman alphabet, the world’s most prolific, most widespread abc. Typography is a relatively recent invention, but to unearth the origins of alphabets, we will need to travel much
farther back in time, to an era contemporaneous with the emergence of (agricultural) civilisation itself.

SUMER – Cuneiform. « The Sumerians began to experiment with writing at the close of the fourth millennium BC, in Mesopotamia between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates (roughly modern-day Iraq). Like most writing systems, Cuneiform, initially scratched — later impressed by a stylus — into soft clay, started out as a series of pictograms — pictures representing words. The word for bird, for example, existed at first as a simple pictorial representation of a bird. The figure below demonstrates this process of abstraction or rationalization. In time, the pictures of things came to represent, not only things but, sounds. It is clear that a written language with signs that represent sounds requires fewer characters than a language in which a sign stands for a thing or an idea. We use 26 letters (and the Romans used only 23 to create some of the most outstanding literature the world has ever known) while the Chinese, for example, have to learn thousands of characters to express themselves. Even early cuneiform comprised some 1,500 pictograms. A language in which a picture or grapheme represents a thing or an idea has its advantages: people may speak any language while the written form stays the same. So a Chinese from the Southern provinces can speak a totally different dialect than his compatriot in Beijing, who would not understand him when he speaks, but can read what he writes. »
EGYPT – The writing of the gods. « The Egyptians developed a similar system of pictograms, one many of us are familiar with. Hieroglyphic inscriptions (literally sacred carving), like Cuneiform started out as pictograms, but later those same pictures were also used to represent speech sounds. Looking at the different forms of Egyptian hieroglyphs we can better understand how those pictures of things representing words became more and more abstract. While you might be familiar with the form of Egyptian hieroglyphs carved into stone (lapidary inscriptions), they do, however, come in several forms or styles — all influenced by the medium upon which they are written, the purpose for which they are written, and their intended audience. »
THE FIRST ALPHABETS – In Wadi el-Hol. « Until the discovery of two inscriptions (graffiti) in Wadi el-Hol, Egypt, in 1999, it was generally held that the beginnings of alphabetic scripts could be traced to around 1600 to 1500 BC, to the Phoenicians, a people of traders who lived on the coast of today’s Lebanon and Israel. However, the 1999 discovery reveals that, rather than the early Semitic alphabet being developed in their homeland of Syria-Palestine, it was instead developed by the Semitic-speaking people then living in Egypt. This strengthens the hypothesis there must have been ties between Egyptian scripts and their influence on those early Semitic or proto-Sinaitic alphabets. Moreover, it pushes back the origin of the alphabet to between 1900 and 1800 BC. »
PROTO SINAITIC – « At the same time as the short-lived ugaritic script was being developed (an alphabet adapted from Cuneiform), another alphabetic system emerged that was influenced by Egyptian hieroglyphs. This proto-Sinaitic alphabet of consonants was pictographic, yet each pictograph represents a sound rather than a thing or idea. It is this proto-Sinaitic alphabet that really marks the starting point, the root of numerous modern-day alphabets, from Arabic and Hebrew to Greek and Latin. »
THE PHOENICIANS – The Purple People. « This simple and ingenious modern alphabet of consonants from which the last vestiges of pictograms had been erased, is indeed a merchant’s instrument: easy to learn, to write and to adapt. And adapted it was by cultures that we are generally much more familiar with: the Greek and Roman societies that form the base of modern Western civilisation and the lesser-known Tuscans. »
GREEK – Enter the vowel. « Although the earliest extant Greek inscriptions date back to the 8th century BC — the first Olympic games were held in 776 BC — many scholars think that the Greeks adopted the West Semitic Script (the Phoenician consonant alphabet) three centuries earlier. (note: Naveh, Millard, McCarter, and Cross concur. See Naveh, pp. 185-6). For a long time (at least until the widespread adoption of Ionian script in the fourth century BC), the Greek scripts followed no fixed direction, being written left to right, right to left, and in horizontal boustrophedon. (Braille is set boustrophedonically.) »
LATIN – Musical chairs & the tale of Z. « The Latin alphabet that we still use today was created by the Etruscans and the Romans, and derived from the Greek. It had only 23 letters: the J, U and W were missing. The J was represented by the I, the U was written as V and there was no need for a W. The story of the Z is particularly interesting. In the third century BC, the letter G (a variant of C) was added; Z was borrowed from the Greek, then dropped as Latin had no need for it — perhaps at the behest of the Roman censor Appius Claudius; G took its place in the line-up, until the first century BC, when the Romans decided they needed the Z for borrowed Greek words (when Greek literature became the vogue), they re-introduced it, and placed it at the end of the alphabet, where it remains to this day. »
RUSTIC CAPITALS. « From the square Roman capitals (preserved on the plinth of Trajan’s Column (114 AD), developed the freer-form and slightly more condensed Rustic capitals. »
Uncial & Half Uncial – The ‘lowercase’ makes its entrance. « Most writing was of course done on papyrus and on walls, informal and quick. The cursive was the letter that Martialis read aloud to his friends when he recited his poems at night. This was a letterform that could be jotted down quickly with a reed pen dipped in ink. The ‘old’ cursive is difficult to read but the ‘new’, that evolved from the 4th century onwards resembles our own writing. It spawned the much later Carolingian minuscule letter — the Adam & Eve of printing types used today. The second great invention, the codex, came at the same time. While the Romans used scrolls made of papyrus, in the fourth century somebody had the idea to cut parchment into oblong pieces and sew them together — thus creating the first random-accessible book. Together with the eminently readable script this must be considered one of the greatest inventions of all time. »
Carolingian to Gothic – An Emperor and a Yorkshireman. « A beautiful, legible book hand; long ascenders and descenders, letting in light between the lines, open and round letters with few ligatures and variant letterforms. The early Carolingian scripts share some features with the Roman Half-Uncial (the club shape ‘head serifs’ on the ascenders of b, d, h, and l, by the 11th century these were replaced by triangular serifs, similar to those we see in numerous roman typefaces of the incunabula (latter half of the 15th century). The early, rounder a was dropped in favour of one similar to that found in early Roman Uncials. In manuscripts penned in this hand, it is not uncommon to see the r with a descender. »
Roman – Enter typography. « Printing and 15th century humanism are closely related, and since the humanist philosophers and philologists (literally ‘lovers of words’, meaning they loved classical Latin) reintroduced classical Latin as the lingua franca of their class, it is no wonder that the first roman alphabets of the earliest printers only used the 23 letters of the classical era. The J was added later. The first J in print was probably made in Italy, early in the 16th century; the written form was first used in the Middle Ages, in France and the Netherlands. The W is a letter not known to the Latins but used often in the vernacular languages of the west. Well into the 17th century it was set in type as VV, but you will also find two Vs that have been cut down and joined to form a W.« .
Putting the pieces together.

I have focused on writing systems that contributed to the later development of the Latin alphabet, but of course the story of the written word is broader and more profound. I have not mentioned writing systems that developed independently (e.g. Chinese and Japanese), and other scripts that do owe a debt to the proto-Sinaitic and Phoenician alphabets, like Hebrew and Arabic. The evolution of writing cannot be fully appreciated (comprehended, even) in isolation. Its stories are woven deep into the fabric of histories and civilisations, its paths steered by politics, religion, economics, and by innumerable other factors. So, the next time you set pen to paper, or tap keys on your keyboard, take a moment to reflect on the origins of these simple signs, signs that furnish us with incredible power — the power to describe all things.

& :
TypoGrapho (WebOL) | Twitter/@webol/Typo.

EDIT : First version in 2010-09.

Photographies de sites industriels

Qui n’avait pas télévisualisé l’émission artistique d’ARTE un certain dimanche 14 octobre 2007 (de 20h15 à 20h45), sur un couple de photographes célèbres pour la photographie de sites industriels, le regrette depuis lors. C’était remarquable sur la construction des photos et donc du regard, sur la mise en valeur des chateaux d’eau, de hauts-fourneaux, d’usines magnifiquement spéciales.

WebOL est resté marqué par la découverte voici quelques années des travaux de ces 2 photographes, dans le cadre d’une exposition au Grand Hornu (lieu patrimonial qui mérite le détour, dans le Borinage près de Mons en Belgique).

Bref, du grain électronique à moudre :
Bernd & Hilla Becher.
– Liens ARTE, pour archive (il n’y avait malheureusement pas de possibilité de revisualisation 8 jours durant pour cette émission-là) : L1 & L2.
– Une page Wikipédia, à prendre avec les réserves d’usage. (Auch auf Deutsch).

A toutes vues utiles, par exemple celle de Valérie Thierry, architecte-urbaniste-voyageuse et fort bon clavier : retour à Hagondage. Laquelle VT conseille derechef de suivre Thomas Maniaque, architecte-photographe-curieux, en son Escapade toxique.

EDIT – Première version en 2008-05.

Essay as a mind game

It was George Orwell’s golden-eyed toad that made me a writer.

Shimon Shama says, even more writes in his usual articulate way, what stands for writing. In a recent issue of the Financial Times Week-end, he announces thus The Bodley Head & FT Essay Prize by, most importantly, describing what struck him for good and ever in reading outstanding texts.

The best essay writing since Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), who invented the genre, is where this reanimation of experience is shaped by the purposeful urgencies of thought. It is not the thoughtless recycling of experience for its own sake, the fetishising of impulse, which these days is what mostly passes as “blog”; a word well suited to its swampy suck of self-indulgence.

(…) self-implication without literary narcissism; a moral illumination built from a physical experience. Like the best non-fiction long-form writing, it essays a piece of the meaning of what it’s like to live – or, in the case of Hitchens’ last magnificent writing, to die – in a human skin. Essay writing and reading is our resistance to the pygmyfication of the language animal; our shrinkage into the brand, the sound bite, the business platitude; the solipsistic tweet. Essays are the last, heroic stand for the seriousness of prose entertainment; our best hope of liberating text from texting.

Unfortunately, his article is behind the paying wall of the FT. In short, SS writes on why he writes, and thus explain why we read. What ? Books reviewing may be the opportunity to write an excellent essay.

The New York Review of Books.
The London Review of Books.
Die Zeit, für Lesungen auf Deutsch.
Books, pour les francophones comme le titre ne l’indique pas.

Rousseau sur écrans

L’annonce étant hautement, annuellement actuelle, le plus aisé est le copier-colle.  Produit par infoclio.ch (le portail professionnel suisse des sciences historiques), réalisé en collaboration avec la Bibliothèque de Genève et le projet e-rara.ch :

rousseauonline.ch donne accès à l’ensemble des œuvres de Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) dans leur première édition de référence, en 17 volumes in-4°, et près de 10’000 pages, souhaitée par l’auteur et publiée à Genève entre 1780 et 1789.

L’on peut donc être un lecteur solitaire (Les confessions. Les rêveries du promeneur solitaire), et mélomane (Dictionnaire de musique), nostalgique ou pas du XVIIIe siècle voire critique des idées même de JJR ; il y a de quoi approfondir la connaissance de cet auteur prolifique, grâce à un très grand soin éditorial.

Pour ce qui est de la méta-information, en effet, donc de la pratique effective de la lecture :

Les textes sont accessibles à la lecture en ligne et disponibles gratuitement au téléchargement au format PDF et au format Epub (smartphones, tablettes, liseuses, etc.). Les textes et les illustrations sont placés sous licence Creative Commons. La licence Creative Commons autorise la copie, le partage et la réutilisation des textes, pour autant que leur source soit citée.

Le texte comprend la numérotation originale des pages. Chaque numéro de page est relié par hyperlien à une image haute définition de la page originale. Le lecteur peut ainsi librement naviguer  entre le texte numérique et les images des pages en papier du XVIIIe siècle.

Blog & Recherche

En quoi le recours aux blogs change la pratique de la recherche n’est pas un débat, mais les réflexions réflexives sont rares. Ce billet d’André Gunther est le meilleur repéré en la matière : Why blog ?, lequel est en fait un extrait de l’ouvrage Read/Write Book publié par le Cléo (Centre pour l’édition électronique ouverte).

Les morceaux de choix, soit Deadline is dead :

Le chercheur doit publier (publish or perish). Or, jusqu’à l’arrivée des outils en ligne, sa maîtrise de l’espace de publication était proche de zéro. Dans les domaines dans lesquels j’évolue, publier suppose de savoir se plier aux choix thématiques ou disciplinaires d’une revue ou à l’agenda d’un éditeur. Dans tous les cas, la publication organisée impose un format prédéfini ainsi que l’impitoyable servitude du deadline – qui m’a coûté bien des nuits et des cheveux blancs. Dans cet univers d’autant plus contraint qu’on est prolifique, la liberté du blog apparaît comme une oasis. Elle est bien plus que cela. Dans son usage le plus répandu, le blog est une activité supplémentaire greffée sur l’existant. La condition de possibilité de l’exercice est donc qu’il ne soit contraint par aucune détermination externe. C’est parce que le blogging vient toujours en plus du reste, en toute gratuité, qu’il a tous les droits à l’inachèvement, à l’essai ou à l’erreur. Rédigé parce qu’on a une ou deux heures devant soi, un billet est toujours quelque chose plutôt que rien, une forme sauvée du néant.


Soit le Séminaire permanent :

La grande liberté du blog peut effrayer. Si l’on cherche un modèle susceptible de guider son usage dans le cadre académique, je pense que le meilleur est celui du séminaire de recherche. Très vite, je me suis rendu compte que je pouvais transposer à l’espace du blog nombre des caractères de cet espace privilégié de l’expérimentation et de la discussion, avec ses à-côtés, ses digressions, ses clins d’œil, son rapport à l’actualité, ses auditeurs libres et jusqu’à ses contributeurs invités.


Soit la Culture de l’expérience :

Là où la pratique du blog est la plus proche de l’activité savante, c’est probablement dans la promotion d’une culture de l’expérience. Contrairement à toutes les formes de publication scientifique classiques, qui visent l’achèvement et l’excellence, le blog offre cette capacité rare : le droit à l’essai, à l’erreur et au remords. Cette caractéristique est un dopant pour l’imagination. Elle crée les conditions d’une expérimentation permanente, que ce soit du point de vue des objets abordés, de la façon de les aborder ou de celle d’en débattre.


Soit Qui lit les Annales ?

Pas mes étudiants. Mais ils lisent mon blog. Trouvera-t-on cette formule provocatrice? Éditeur d’une revue peer-reviewed depuis douze ans, je ne suis pas suspect de vouloir la mort des revues. Mais je suis bien placé pour me rendre compte que le type d’essai que je suis en train de mener avec ARHV est une vraie expérience éditoriale. Qu’avec d’autres, nous sommes en train de créer non seulement un nouveau type d’organe, particulièrement bien adapté au travail savant, mais une nouvelle énonciation scientifique, à la croisée de la vulgarisation, de l’enseignement et de la recherche.


Soit une Science aimable :


Avec quatre ans de recul, cette expérience n’a jamais déçu mes attentes. Elle m’a au contraire porté bien au-delà de ce que j’espérais. Ses conséquences pour moi sont d’ores et déjà considérables. Elle m’a permis d’optimiser mon travail d’enseignant et de chercheur. Elle m’a montré les coulisses du web 2.0 et fait pénétrer dans les arcanes de la participation et de la « viralité ». Elle a fait évoluer mes méthodes, mes approches, mon énonciation, mon style et jusqu’à ma vision de la science. Elle a accompagné le déplacement de mon domaine de recherche. Elle a favorisé des dizaines de rencontres et d’échanges de haut niveau. Elle m’a ouvert la porte à des colloques ou à des participations à des projets éloignés de ma discipline. Elle m’a permis de participer au débat public et m’a offert une notoriété que je ne cherchais pas. Elle m’a appris à mieux appréhender l’art difficile du dialogue et m’a rendu plus tolérant. Elle ne m’a rien coûté, qu’un peu de temps, qui est du temps sauvé de l’oubli.


& :
Les travaux d’AG | AG.fr (LHIVIC – Laboratoire d’Histoire Visuelle Contemporaine, EHESS).
Openedition.org, Cléo.

Isaac Newton

Can we wait longer to broadcast the news ? Isaac Newton’s own annotated copy of his Principia Mathematica is among his notebooks and manuscripts being made available online by Cambridge University Library, the so-called Newton Papers.

The Library holds the world’s largest and most significant collection of the scientific works of Isaac Newton (1642-1727), described by many as the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived. His works launch the new Cambridge Digital Library.


Launching the website with more than 4,000 pages of its most important Newton material, the University Library will upload thousands of further pages over the next few months until almost all of its Newton collection is available to view and download anywhere in the world.

Ladies & Gentlemen, hold your breath and open your eyes : here is the digitilization of Philosophiæ naturalis principia mathematica.

Newton’s monumental Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, often shortened to Principia, was published in July 1687 and brought him international fame. In this three-part work, he lays out in mathematical terms his laws of motion and account of universal gravitation.

Although he was able to provide a convincing description of the effects of gravitation, Newton failed to provide a sufficient explanation for why gravity occurred, so he sought to address this and other concerns by preparing a further edition. We have digitised Newton’s own copy of the first edition. It is interleaved with blank pages so he had sufficient space for annotations and corrections for his second edition, which he eventually published in 1713.

The book was severely damaged by fire and damp some time before it was given to the Library in 1872 as part of the Portsmouth collection.

& :
The Newton Project (Univ. of Sussex, UK).
History of science ? (webOL).