The past year, with its challenges of library closures and restriction of movement, has highlighted for us all the importance of remote accessibility to library collections and the benefits of e-resources. Traditionally, French-language ebooks have been harder for institutions like the UL to procure, as our established ebook suppliers primarily focus on English-language material. Most French publishers individually provide their own online resources without institutional access, and where ebooks are made available they are often unfeasibly more expensive to purchase than the print equivalent. As a result, the UL’s French-language acquisitions, up to now, have had to rely heavily on printed editions.
In the last month, however, French book supplier ‘Amalivre’ has launched its own ebooks platform, offering a wide selection of material from over 70 publishers, such as L’Harmattan, Honoré Champion and CNRS! All of the available publications currently permit unlimited readers to access them at once and from anywhere in the world, provided the user is logged into iDiscover.
Since the Amalivre ebooks are still slightly more expensive than the print editions, the UL is prioritising its selection of purchases based on which publications would be most useful to readers in e-format. Preference is being given, for example, to conference proceedings and collections of essays by different authors, from which multiple readers may only require one chapter. Very usefully, we have also been able to obtain an ebook copy of an out-of-print text – Les jeunes et l’ordre politique en Afrique noire, Joseph-Achille Mbembe (L’Harmattan) – and are hopeful that other out-of-print publications may become available in this format in due course. Additionally, as this online material is available almost immediately, we are (wherever possible) using the platform for reader requests.
To date, 21 ebooks have been acquired by the UL through the Amalivre platform. The new acquisitions cover a range of topics, with a focus on secondary literature rather than primary texts – particularly history, philosophy, politics and literary studies. Our current books are especially strong in the field of African studies.
To give just a small taste of the books purchased so far:
Littératures camerounaises: devoirs de mémoire et politiques du pardon.
Sous la direction de Albert Jiatsa Jokeng, Carole Njiomouo Langa, Daniel Houli; préface du Pr Anatole Fogou. L’Harmattan, 2020.
Comprising a collection of essays, this 2020 publication explores the theme of memory and forgiveness in Cameroonian literature, specifically with reference to historical figures, the fight for independence, and ideals of heroism. As well as contributions by the editors, who are all established academics specialising in literary studies, the book offers a number of essays by new researchers in this field.
Le Directoire: forger la République (1795-1799)
Sous la direction de Loris Chavanette; avec une introduction d’Alan Forrest. CNRS Éditions, 2020.
This 2020 book brings together essays, by academics such as Mette Harder (SUNY Oneonta, USA) and Jean-Charles Buttier (Université de Genève) exploring the period immediately following the French Revolution. Being a typically less-studied era of French history – as France grappled with its new future – the essays address a wide range of issues around the law, institutions, culture and society. The editor, Loris Chavanette, is a specialist on the French Revolution: his book on the Terror – Quatre-vingt-quinze: la Terreur en procès – is also available at the UL in print format.
La pensée politique de Georges Clemenceau.
Sous la direction de Sylvie Brodziak et de Samuël Tomei, avec les contributions de Jean-Jacques Becker, Serge Berstein, Sylvie Brodziak et al. CNRS Éditions, 2020.
As the blurb for this 2020 publication notes, French politician Georges Clemenceau did not set his political theories down in writing, so these collective essays seek to analyse the limited extant sources to glean an insight into the political figure. Split into two principal sections (the first on Clemenceau and France, the second on Clemenceau and the world), the essays attempt an understanding of his personal ideas and vision of both France and abroad. Academic authors such as Jean-Jacques Becker (Université Paris X/ Centre de Recherche Historial de la Grande Guerre) and Mona Ozouf (CNRS and EHSS) are contributors. Editors, Sylvie Brodziak (Université de Cergy-Pontoise/ Paris Seine) and Samuël Tomei (IEP Paris), are specialist academics in literature and history, respectively.
We are delighted that this new ebook platform is now live and, consequently, to be able to offer UL readers a greater range of online French-language texts! We will be monitoring new releases closely and look forward to developing the French collections at the UL. Members of the university can use iDiscover to access these new resources.