A Global View from Istanbul, Where East Meets West Head-On; Delegates at IFLA's 61st Conference Tackle Issues of Free Expression, Diplomacy, and the Worldwide Explosion of Electronic Communication and Publishing

By Kniffel, Leonard | American Libraries, October 1995 | Go to article overview

A Global View from Istanbul, Where East Meets West Head-On; Delegates at IFLA's 61st Conference Tackle Issues of Free Expression, Diplomacy, and the Worldwide Explosion of Electronic Communication and Publishing


Kniffel, Leonard, American Libraries


"My strength is that I am not alone in this big world," wrote Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet. "The world and its people are no secret in my heart, no mystery in my science. "

Now generally acknowledged as Turkey's greatest modern poet, Hikmet died in exile in 1963, having spent over 18 years in one of those infamous Turkish jails many Americans have feared since they saw the 1978 film Midnight Express.

Hikmet's crime was free expression, for which - like writers and artists the world over - he paid a terrible price. But he was correct in the knowledge that he was not alone; the world, its people, and free expression are no mystery in library science either.

Against this backdrop of history, in a place where civilizations were born and died, most of the record 2,390 delegates to the 61st Council and General Conference of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, Aug. 20-26 in Istanbul, assumed an almost ambassadorial role.

There to explore the conference theme of "Libraries of the Future," with the aid of simultaneous translations via headphones, delegates from 103 countries found a more-varied-than-ever assembly with whom to share ideas. "The attendance was a surprise to all of us," IFLA President Robert Wedgeworth told American Libraries. "There were 20 Mongolian librarians that no one had ever seen anywhere before," he said proudly, "and 210 new faces from the former Soviet republics.

However the diplomatic decorum that permits such global interchange was breached in Istanbul, if only briefly, when two American delegates circulated a resolution scolding various agencies of the government of Turkey" for, among other things, human rights violations against individuals "for ideas which they expressed in public forums." A watered-down reprimand was eventually presented to IFLA Council and overwhelmingly defeated, in apparent deference to the host nation's pride.

Open arms, receptions, networking

In "some of the most splendid and exotic venues in Istanbul," as Wedgeworth called conference activity sites, delegates practiced the true core program of IFLA: receptions. Lest a one conclude that IFLA is therefore frivolous, it is important to note that given the range of cultures represented in the federation - not to mention the range of political and religious conviction - it is essential to find common ground over and above a commitment to library service. Good food, good music, and hospitality fill the bill.

Among the receptions were a stylish outdoor soiree at the Ciragan Palace and a splendid affair at the Yildiz Palace hosted by the Ministry of Culture and featuring dancing, singing, a mini-bazaar, and a lavish spread of Turkish food. Open-air theater performances of Turkish folk music and a classical music concert were also part of the agenda, all infinitely superior to the tacky belly dancing shows that awaited those who ventured to the tourist traps of Istanbul.

IFLA is, perhaps above all, about networking and making contacts. Evgeny Kuzmin of the Russian Ministry of Culture, for example, reported that OCLC is exploring the possibility of establishing operations in Russia and is looking for Russian partners to develop a Cyrillic software program. David Buckle of OCLC Europe hosted a private cruise up the Bosphorus to give 140 OCLC users and potential users an opportunity to mingle.

Visits to the Istanbul Archaeological Museum, the Topkapi Palace Library, the Beyazit State Library, and others, gave conferees an opportunity to hear from Turkish librarians on the job, and many American delegates found the Women's Library Documentation Centre - partly by the mere fact of its existence - particularly interesting.

Global free expression

In a paper titled "Istanbul as a Center for East-West Information Transfer in the Twentieth Century," Pamela Spence Richards of Rutgers University referred to "the city's critical role as East-West information transfer point" and observed that "there could hardly be a more appropriate site than Istanbul for the conference of an organization concerned with the dissemination of information.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Global View from Istanbul, Where East Meets West Head-On; Delegates at IFLA's 61st Conference Tackle Issues of Free Expression, Diplomacy, and the Worldwide Explosion of Electronic Communication and Publishing
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.