A Community Study of the Bibliothèque Saint-Jean

Denis Lacroix

March 11, 2003


Reflective Paper
XML version
Reflective Paper
Note to the Readers
Executive Summary
Introduction
Context Setting
Methodology/Data Sources
Institutional Goals, Objectives, and Priorities
Library Collections
The Library's Environment and Demographics
Conclusion
Appendix One - History of the BSJ
Appendix Two - Research Methodology
Appendix Three - Survey
Appendix Four - Results
Endnotes
Bibliography

The significance of my capping exercise is valued according to its relevance with respect to librarianship as a field of study in the University of Alberta's School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) and as a lifelong professional pursuit. The relevance of A Community Study of the Bibliothèque Saint-Jean as a capping exercise is threefold: first in relation to the collection management course (LIS 531) for which the work was originally produced, second in relation to the University of Alberta's Bibliothèque Saint-Jean (BSJ) and its francophone community, third in relation to digital librarianship. In its electronic format, the Community Study takes on new importance as it provides a template for future work in XML publishing.

This community study report was worth forty percent of the final grade within the LIS 531 course and provided me with the opportunity to develop my skills in data mining, critical analysis, and report formatting. Background information about the BSJ and Edmonton's francophone community, as well as data representing the BSJ's resource collections and the users they serve came from a variety of sources: online community sites, statistics from Statistics Canada, internal BSJ working documents, and an objective personal interview with Ms. Hélène Larouche, the BSJ's head librarian. In analyzing the data I sought to apply it to a qualitative research methodology and present it clearly and systematically in a report format so as to make recommendations useful to the community.

The Community Study is above all a management document that seeks to report methodically and objectively about the BSJ's community. It is a document that synthesizes data pertaining to the BSJ's collections, its users, and its francophone community, in order to build a framework which will support useful recommendations. Upon the request of the BSJ's head librarian, I presented her my final report, besides submitting it for course evaluation.

As a capping exercise, the Community Study benefits from the value-added digital flexibility and metadescriptiveness of XML, and of HTML components. The online publication is well-formed, because it adheres to the strict XML syntax, and it is valid, because it obeys the rules of a DTD or Schema, which in turn is tailored to the textual needs of the document. The textual content resides in the metadescriptive XML format, whereas the digital formatting elements are separate and are located in one XSL document, which outputs the entire site into XHTML. A content-format dichotomy equals flexibility in processing and modifying the content. In the words of W3C, XML is "extensible, platform-independent, and it supports internationalization and localization [. . .] [because it] is fully Unicode compliant." This capping exercise is, therefore, a local document with international potential.

This capping exercise is a professional pursuit in digital and collections librarianship. It takes advantage of the flexibility and versatility of XML, in order to magnify the significance of the work in my library and information studies program and to manage the content more closely and usefully than in regular HTML. This digital document, besides its inherent analytical and qualitative usefulness, is a template for implementing similar textual documents into XML.