Database and Information Space

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University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense
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"Database and Information Space"
Friday 15 January 2010

The term database is applicable to any system enabling information to be consulted by one or more users in an interactive and rational way. But the creation of such devices, whilst reflecting the way in which we learn about the real world and manage knowledge, generates its own representations and its own aesthetics. These devices are objects in their own right which lend themselves to a study both at source (computer programming, choice of software, type of database) and further afield (screen presentation, searching, aesthetic effects) to such an extent that they reflect a specific way of thinking, not visible until now: « The new information technologies […] cause a critical awareness not only of the relation between medium and message in past media, but also, as a consequence, in present-day media, including themselves, which they historicise. They are a tool of metaperception. » (1)

For scholars of British and American studies, these devices facilitate a dynamic reproduction of knowledge and an insight into new ways of thinking in the areas of literature, translation, civilisation and linguistics. As such, this conference fits within a multidisciplinary context, not simply because of the variety of topics under review (literature, civilisation, literature) but also the different angles of approach (lexicometry, translation techniques, sociology, politics, etc.). We will see in what respect these spatial representations are not only a tool for examining corpora, but can also shape the analysis .

More theoretical questions can be addressed such as those relating to synaesthesia, kinaesthetics, links between literary theory and hypertext, creation and analysis of cultural CD-ROMS, the role of spatial metaphor in searching, the concept of mindscape, or even that of rhizome developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guettari.

Depending on the subject of discussion and probing of the way in which databases are built (including choice of fields and types of questions) there emerge information spaces which draw together the two main strands of the conference: database and hyperspace.

Suggestions for papers, in either French or English, are requested in the form of a 250-300 word summary, accompanied by a biography (no more than 10 lines) addressed to Séverine Letalleur-Sommer ( and Laurence Veyssière-Harris ( with a copy to Françoise Deconinck-Brossard ( before 15 September 2009.

The selected papers will be reviewed by an editorial committee, then published online in due course.

(1) Liliane Gallet-Blanchard & Marie-Madeleine Martinet. « Hypermedia and Urban Culture: a Presentation on the CD-Rom Georgian Cities », 122.


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