Libraries & Information in Vietnam (1919-1975)

Colonial

"Pour mieux connaitre l'Indochine: Essai d'une bibliographie" by Paul Boudet 1922

  • knowledge
  • to be familiar with
  • absolutely complete v. too complete and not critical, complex
    • creation of something helpful, easy to find, with the goal 'to know', available in all libraries in Indochina & Europe
  • cf. ignorance, danger, disinterested, disregard, discredit

"Les Archives et Les Bibliotheques dans l'Indochine" by Paul Boudet 1919

  1. "light (figurative- understanding, knowledge, wisdom) of a specialist"
  2. "all orders of knowledge" & "encyclopedic libraries"

Post-colonial: Republic of Vietnam (S)

"The Starving National Library" "Tìm Hiểu" by Phan Lam Huong  1972

  • overflowing, disorderly materials without proper organization capacity (staff, money, technology)
  • goal: improve technologies, increase collection of "international newspapers in order to develop the nation" increase services to support readers to the level of other foreign countries (thus, will send libraries to be trained abroad)

Post-colonial: Democratic Republic of Vietnam (N)

"Libraries in the Service of Science and Technology" in Librarians for Social Change 1972 by Nguyen Quang Hy

  • need for "knowledge" for the people
    • "...storehouse of materials. They are places which store wisdom and circulate knowledge of every aspect of mankind, in this country and abroad; all the knowledge of days past as well as that of today."
  • provide materials (of science and technology) as well as ideological education and diffusion of knowledge
  • national library= integrated scientific library, 300,000 volumes
  • economically viable and efficient
  • need: coordination of materials, finding foreign materials

So what?

  • Information as objects (material, books, collections)
  • Economics of the national library - disseminate and preserve information
  • Universal standards and recognition
  • State legitimacy

Libraries & Information in Vietnam (1917-1975)

Cindy Nguyen, History

Info 218 Spring 2015

Characteristics of libraries in historical primary sources

COLONIAL INDOCHINA

  • "Pour mieux connaitre l'Indochine: Essai d'une bibliographie" by Paul Boudet 1922
  • "Les Archives et Les Bibliotheques dans l'Indochine" by Paul Boudet 1919

POST-COLONIAL

  • "Libraries in the Service of Science and Technology" in Librarians for Social Change 1972 by Nguyen Quang Hy (NORTH)
  • "The Starving National Library" "Tìm Hiểu" by Phan Lam Huong  1972 (SOUTH)
  • UNESCO reports, US development reports
  • Contemporary Vietnamese histories of the library
  • FRENCH
    • connaissance (knowledge, understanding, familiarity),  renseignement (intelligence, details)
    • informations, données (data, facts)
  • VIETNAMESE
    • tin tức (news), tài liệu (document, data); kiến thức (knowledge, understanding, learning)
    • sự cung cấp tin tức (act of supplying news); sự thông tin (act of supplying information)

"Information"

  • FRENCH
    • connaissance (knowledge, understanding, familiarity),  renseignement (intelligence, details)
    • informations, données (data, facts)
  • VIETNAMESE
    • tin tức (news), tài liệu (document, data); kiến thức (knowledge, understanding, learning)
    • sự cung cấp tin tức (act of supplying news); sự thông tin (act of supplying information)
  • COLONIAL
    • encylopedic library
    • danger of ignorance, importance of organized knowledge
  • POST-COLONIAL
    • distribute scientific knowledge
    • importance of information technology, foreign aid, strengthen nation

Justifications for libraries

Total

  • systematic inventory of all sources of knowledge, but broken down into facts
  • an "artificial brain", information organized on cards (more complete, less duplication)
  • complete organization of "whole of human knowledge"

- Paul Otlet "Something about Bibliography" (1891) and "Creation of a Universal Bibliographic Repertory"  (1895)

Selective

  • not complete, 4 pages
  • “In the imposing mass of colonial literature, there are many good works, but still more works without value or interest"
  • importance of temporality, update contents
  • *commentary: 18th and 19th c bibliographies were too thorough and utopic

- Paul Boudet "To better understand Indochina" (1922)

Debates on Bibliography

“The plan should give immediate attention to the priority unification of the National Library and the General Library into a single, strong entity that will serve both as focal point of the National effort, and demonstration laboratory for improved systems and procedures.

- 1966 US Management Services report

 

What story does the library tell?

  • national institution - essential, symbolic, change over time
  • intersection of state and commercial
  • shaped and is shaped by the concepts of
    • public, public sphere, popular tastes
    • education, self-learning
  • embodies
    • utopic visions of control, organization, and spread of information and knowledge
    • archive of literary and publishing history

Presentation: Decolonization of Libraries & Information in Vietnam

By Cindy A. Nguyen

Presentation: Decolonization of Libraries & Information in Vietnam

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