The mysterious attraction of the illegible
Some of the books appeared in the long history of document production are totally indecipherable. But their symbolic universe and obscure writing cause a singular fascination which I describe in my latest informative piece. Published in the cultural magazine Núvol, the article «El Manuscrit Voynich i la bellesa de l'il·legible» takes us through a series of bibliographical puzzles and rarities which were deliberately obscured to prevent them from being read.
Digital photography workshop
The Faculty of Library and Information has organized for January 2015 the InfoCom Week, a series of morning conferences and workshops about technical and practical aspects of information management and audiovisual communication.
As a teacher of both disciplines, I've conducted the workshop «Digital photography: get the most out of your camera», aimed at teaching the basics of choosing and understanding a camera, the most effective photographic techniques and the usefulness of the various accessories.
The value of audiovisual archives
Last 9th of June, the International Archives Day, the cultural magazine Núvol opened «Arxipèlag», a new section about archives and document management. It is an initiative that I applaud: until now there wasn't any media to show the social function of archives. This is why I wanted to contribute to it with a new article of mine, «Imatges d'arxiu, testimonis d'un passat», an invitation to reflect on the potential of audiovisual archives for social transformation.
Filmoteca de Catalunya: Conservation and Restoration Centre — © Guillermo Rivera
Infoglut and lack of information
Everyday, we are exposed to a flood of information that increases anxiety, reduces our analytical capacity and leads to wrong decisions. Overabundance makes information more harmful than beneficial because we cannot handle the myriad impulses we receive. With the conviction that technological advances improve our quality of life, we turn to technology in search of a solution, even though technology itself is part of the problem; instead of giving us more free time, it's actually pushing us to do everything faster.
In this month's edition, the magazine Mater purissima, specialized in social, cultural and family issues, includes the article «Info-obesos, pero desinformados», an insightful report by Pere Marí that delves into the phenomenon of information overload and in which I've had the pleasure of making some contributions.
Round table on archival footage
The documentary strand Cronos, presented by 33, Catalonia's second public television channel, celebrates 10 years on the air as stable window in the genre of docufiction. It is a landmark of special significance and this is why the program team and the Faculty of Library and Information Science have joined together to celebrate it in an open academic event about the importance of audiovisual archives in this television genre.
After projecting Fräulein Stinnes travels the world, a German production about the story of Clärenore Stinnes, the first woman to circumnavigate the globe by car, back in the 1920s, the Faculty auditorium has hosted a round table conducted by Daniel Jariod, artistic director of Memorimage, in which Montse Bailac and Miracle Tous, TV3 film researchers, and I myself, as an audiovisual archives professor, have discussed the use of archival footage in audiovisual productions.
Round table: Miracle Tous, Daniel Jariod, Jorge Franganillo and Montse Bailac
Participating in Tempus IV programme
Several professors and researches from the Faculty of Library and Information Studies are working closely with professors from other universities in the framework of the Tempus European programme. This programme supports the modernisation of higher education in the Partner Countries of Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Western Balkans and the Mediterranean region, mainly through university cooperation projects.
Our project, eMEDia, is funded by the European Comission, coordinated by Unimed and led by Lydia Sanchez on behalf of the University of Barcelona. This October we have travelled to Tunis, where the third interim partner meeting has taken place; it has certainly been a memorable experience.
Port El Kantaoui
Temps de repos au soleil
The Vermillion Coast, which owes its name to the light red rocks of its coves, is one of the most beautiful shores of southern France. Wedged between the Mediterranean and the mountains, with vineyards as a backdrop, this stretch of coastline is dotted with rocky inlets and picturesque harbors.
The chance to spend a week on this stretch of coastline and to get into its cozy maritime atmosphere, so full of light, has confirmed how necessary it is to enjoy an occasional rest to clarify and project our ideas to the future, which is already here. Now I'm back with renewed vigor, with batteries charged.
Port-Vendres, typical Mediterranean fishing port
Personal branding and online reputation
In today's labor market, the old concept of career is no longer relevant. In order to stand out, now it's necessary to develop a good personal brand. You must what makes you valuable, useful and reliable to be perceived as the professional that is worth working with. That's actually the ultimate goal of any brand: to be seen as the best choice available.
Having a well-positioned and positively valued personal brand favors success when we want to be chosen among many options. That's why, on the session on professional guidance «After graduation, what then?», I have offered the talk «Your personal brand» on the importance of building and projecting a strong personal brand.
LinkedIn — © MSNBC
eMEDia consortium meeting in Tampere
The adventure of the eMEDia project will continue in Finland. This month the partner institutions have met in Tampere. This gentle and relaxed city, the second largest urban area in the country, set between two vast lakes, has hosted the second interim meeting of this international project.
eMedia works to promote cross-media journalism education on an Euro-Mediterranean perspective. It's an institutional cooperation project funded by the European Commission under the Tempus programme.
This meeting has given me the chance to get to know the friendly Tampere, the northernmost place I've been so far, and also, on my way back home, to discover the impressive Stockholm, in Sweden, in a rewarding lightning trip.
Visiting TV3 documentation centre
Each television manages its audiovisual material really differently. This work varies according to the objectives of the TV company, the resources available and the needs of its users. However, it's the task to which documentation centres assign more resources, both human and material, because the economic value and heritage of audiovisual documentation is enormous.
To confirm this in first person, my students from Audiovisual Documentation Management, the course I'm teaching together with Javier Guallar, have visited Televisió de Catalunya (TV3) documentation centre.
On the Telenotícies (daily news show) virtual set
Spring break in the Netherlands
The bucolic splendor of the Netherlands is visible in each of its cities. This small country of green and flat landscape, universally known for its windmills, tulips, cheese, dikes and canals also offers a varied range of stunning places.
Amsterdam is a sophisticated city of great cultural interest, world famous for its canals, colorful houses, coffee shops and avant-garde culture. And the refined Maastricht, one of the few fortified cities, surrounded by beautiful natural areas and soft hills, reflects a palpable joie de vivre.
In these charismatic cities we have spent some holidays, to have fun and also to learn, since Holland was always land of geniuses.
As a specialist in information management, I lecture at the University of Barcelona, where I teach Library and Information Studies and where I'm also involved in a series of research projects.
I've authored various papers on digital information handling and related topics. Helped by innovative technologies, I'm interested in audiovisual archives and personal information management.
Among the numerous hobbies I enjoy, worth mentioning is my devotion for trekking, photography and travelling. And I have a passion for music: I'm an occasional composer, arranger and performer of contemporary music.
In the making
New composition in the works
I've embarked on an attractive art project: I'm writing music for a contemporary choreography. Composing music to serve the purposes of a ballet is a challenge I always wanted to take on, and a golden chance has come up. The project also involves a dancer and choreographer, two visual artists, a multimedia artist and a location scouting expert. The show will hopefully be premiered in the Netherlands over the next year.
Information overload: when more is less
We live inundated with information, but we're scant of really useful information. Overabundance makes information harmful, because it's excessive; we can not handle the myriad of inputs we receive every day, so we become overwhelmed. As I've studied this phenomenon, which I contributed to popularize in the press, I've had the good fortune to be interviewed, together with Alfons Cornella, for a news report shown on TV3, the Catalan public television station, which tries to explain the causes and effects of information overload.
The ideas explained remind Nietzche's Human, all too human (1878-1880), so current: «There is no time for thinking, and no rest in thinking. [...] With the tremendous acceleration of life, we grow accustomed to using our mind and eye for seeing and judging incompletely or incorrectly, and all men are like travelers who get to know a land and its people from a train.»
Andreu Sulé, Miquel Centelles, Jorge Franganillo, Jesús Gascón. «Aplicación del modelo de datos RDF en las colecciones digitales de bibliotecas, archivos y museos de España». Revista española de documentación científica, vol. 39, no. 1, January-March 2016.
Resumen. This article discusses how and to what extent the RDF data model is applied in major Spanish digital collections of heritage materials. This model, as well as Open Data and Linked Data initiatives, are introduced. Fifty-one digital repositories were analysed to determine whether they expressed their records in RDF, offered SPARQL query points searchable by external agents, and used references as property values. The Europeana EDM and OntoWeb models are also described. It is concluded that the use of RDF is unequal and excessively conditioned by the use of applications that automatically convert records into RDF triples. Few of the collections analysed give SPARQL points for external queries. Also, the use of references is linked to applications using different models: EDM or OntoWeb. Collections should enrich their data and define aggregation levels for generated RDF data in order to be disseminated, made accessible, and adapted to the semantic web.
Jorge Franganillo. «Los desafíos de la información cuántica». ThinkEPI, 4 December 2012.
Resumen. Quantum physics, the science of the infinitely small, is so surprising and mysterious that it sounds like science fiction since it certainly defies common sense and forces us to radically change the way we perceive reality. The results of its experiments are irrefutable and they revolutionize even the world of information. Now scientists are studying how to use fundamental laws of quantum physics to improve information transmission and processing, which promises exciting new technologies in the future. Yet, it is not without its difficulties and limitations nor it suggests that
quantum computers might somehow replace conventional electric computers.
Jorge Franganillo. «El aparente declive del correo electrónico». Anuario ThinkEPI: análisis de tendencias en información y documentación, 2012, p. 250-253.
Abstract. Some companies have started to restrict the use of email with the conviction that the resulting information overload undermines productivity. However, the problem is not the tool, but excessive exchange of messages, often with irrelevant information. Therefore, the real solution is to establish appropriate management strategies and avoid excessive communication. Some initiatives are committed to moving corporate internal communication to social media, although it tends to fragment the information required to complete tasks.
Sílvia Argudo, Andreu Sulé, Jorge Franganillo, Teresa Mañà, Anna Rubió. «Introducción de la semipresencialidad en el grado de Información y Documentación: evolucionando con la sociedad». Congrés Internacional de Docència Universitària i Innovació (2012: Barcelona). Paper.
Abstract. From the 2011-2012 academic year, blended learning is being introduced in the Information and Documentation Degree of the University of Barcelona's Faculty of Library and Information Science. All first-year subjects are offered in this format for a group of 30 students. The planning has involved establishing the conditions and degree of the blending, creating teaching materials on a virtual campus, and setting up indicators and mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation. First results suggest relevant differences with respect to the on-site model.
Mireia Ribera, Bruno Splendiani, Miquel Térmens, Marina Salse, Irene Llerena, Jorge Franganillo, Miquel Centelles. «Accessible teaching documents». Congreso Europeo de Tecnologías de la Información en la Educación y en la Sociedad: una visión crítica. (3rd: February 2012: Barcelona). Paper. Barcelona: Esbrina, 2012, p. 504-506.
Resumen. «Accessible teaching documents» is a second step on an initiative to promote best practices in the preparation of accessible teaching material by university professors. This initiative started with the publication of the Guide to accessible digital content, which explains basic techniques to make accessible office documents. «Accessible teaching documents» goes further on this initial objective, providing templates for the creation of office documents, and easy procedures to create alternate versions of them. Those alternate versions will include changes in color, fonts or other presentational attributes and also conversions to different digital formats, thus promoting inclusive education in the university by the integration of alternative formats in everyday contents.
Jorge Franganillo. «El Manuscrit Voynich i la bellesa de l'il·legible». Núvol, 27 January 2016.
Abstract. No one knows who wrote it, nor for what purpose, nor in which language: the Voynich Manuscript is an intriguing puzzle that resists being solved. Perhaps it has no message and no other intention than enlightening the irresistible beauty of the unreadable. The symbolic universe and the obscure writing of this and other books inspired the artist Luigi Serafini to conceive the exquisite Codex Seraphinianus, a visual encyclopedia of an unknown world, illustrated with images which lead us to an imaginary world of impossible language and objects. Both books share a common virtue: the ability to raise a singular fascination with the indecipherable.
Jorge Franganillo. «Imatges d'arxiu, testimonis d'un passat». Núvol, 5 December 2015.
Resumen. Los documentos audiovisuales tienen un valor histórico y cultural incuestionable por su carácter de testimonio de la historia y por su valor sociológico. Los espectadores están cada vez más habituados a ver imágenes de archivo, y es muy positivo porque gana aún más sentido el esfuerzo de televisiones y filmotecas por digitalizar y difundir sus fondos. La custodia es cara y compleja, pero muy necesaria para facilitar la investigación histórica y para garantizar el rigor de posteriores productos informativos.
Jorge Franganillo. «GPS, o la lección del Dakar». Uno, 2 January 2012, p. 18.
Abstract. Dakar is a competition that stands out from other motor events because of its countless peculiarities. An example of this is that drivers are not allowed to use GPS to find their way. Instead, they must follow the directions written on a paper roll. GPS, which is useful in innumerable areas, is held by the U.S. government, which can disrupt or modify the signals if they want to, as it has done on occasion. One day it might happen that our dependence on this positioning system, whose absence in the Dakar makes this adventure even more adventurous, causes a massive disorientation.
Jorge Franganillo. «Documentación audiovisual en televisión». Revista española de documentación científica, vol. 36, núm. 4, October-December 2013. Review of the same-titled book by Jorge Caldera and Pilar Arranz.