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The Switch: Information Sheets for European Information People

Unofficial, periodical, very incomplete,
promoted by: Bruno Rossi-Mori,
edited by Donatella Minelli,
Documentation and Information Division of CONI, the Italian National Olympic Committee
Foro Italico - I 00194 Rome, Italy
Fax +39.6.3685.7423
Tel +39.6.3685.7763 7727 7296 7477

Iasi-Europe special edition - may 1995 a whole week for sports information in Malaga

IASI is the international Association for Sports Information. This issue reports news and comments about European activities which have been presented in Malaga during the Executive Committee meeting (10th- 17th May)

Although IASI was born in Europe (Rome 1960) - or probably for this reason - the specific interaction among the European members is still limited, if compared with the larger international one.

It is true that - on the one hand - all of us have the present or future chance to connect ourselves through Internet with all the places in the world, but - on the other hand - with the ever increasing number of members the practical possibilities of cooperation are progressively concentrating in a regional area.

We should try to increase the recognizability of the inter-European connections and to stimulate the awareness of the common needs which may find answers at a continental level.

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Action target 94-95: improving the connections between different European networks

The analysis done in 93 and 94 showed that sports information in Europe flows through different cooperation networks, operating in not too distant frameworks.

Some connections between theses networks are being now established, in the belief that a Acontamination@ is interesting and productive for all the participants.

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Malaga as a laboratory

This week in Malaga 95 has represented a small laboratory, in which some people interacted, coming from different realities: IASI people, Sport Information Officers (SIOs) of the Council of Europe, representatives of the Olympic Movement.

Next IASI initiatives (Israel 96 and Paris 97) will perhaps allow us to prosecute toward this direction . It has been proposed a seminar to be held in Israel 96 about sport on Internet: it will be a good common strategic item. The informal meeting of the SIOs (13th May) had a special significance. The reading of the comparative list SIONET/IASI (see annexed sheet) is full of hints, both for what concerns the already existing connections, and for detecting areas which are not yet very active.

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A warm welcome to Renée Gautron

The attendance of Renée Gautron (Sports Division of the Council of Europe). IASI member since 1995, gave us a lot of satisfaction. Her membership means for us a recognition of interest that our work rises also in non-specialized environments.

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Sport in Europe between public and private

The recall to the Council of Europe (in this framework about 40 different countries are cooperating in sport at inter-governmental level) reminds us a meaningful fact: in this continent central and local Governments have decisively encouraged the development of sport participation and sport organisations with support policies during several decades.

For what the European sports systems are concerned, those have reached a considerable matureness, with a certain balance between voluntary non-profit associations, profit sports section and public intervention.

Consequently in Europe sports information has well structured and multifaceted contents - also due to the many cultures from which it arises - and offers a wide range of experiences.

On the other hand there are many differences between the several countries (organizations, management philosophies, languages, technologies...).

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The dialogue East-West

After the fall of the iron curtain, the previous contacts in the field of sports information are now developing through initiatives of cooperation.

Thanks to the SPRINT programme of the Council of Europe, technical training seminars (ref. Remans, Rossi Mori) are taking place in some countries like LATVIA (September 94), SLOVENIE (June 95) and BULGARIA (November 95).

It is being proposed the use of the ISIS-UNESCO software for the management of national databases, with the bilingual record structure compatible with the IASI database: this is what we may call a medium level\ technology.

With this formula, the indexing of scientific literature will be extended to documents and news about sports policies, to which the public authorities and sport decision keepers are mainly interested.

The Slovenian Ministry of Sport stressed also the need of collecting and managing data about the sport system: participants, sport clubs, sports facilities... Sport statistics seem to receive an ever increasing attention.

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Sport statistics

All the possible supports have been given to the creation of the International Committee of Sport Statistics established in Florence in 1993.

CONI edited a book with all the papers of the meeting. A first directory of people and bodies active in sport statistics is enclosed. Some special fields of interest are shown for each name listed in there. All the IASI and SIONET members should receive it soon.

After the next Committee meeting (Beijing, August 1995) a connection would be desirable in view of the IASI Congress in Paris. Some space - parallel to the IASI Forums - could be offered for the organization of free meetings among sport statisticians in 1998 and 2000.

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IASI and the Olympic Movement

But the most sensitive area seems to be the Olympic one, that from the central nucleus (the IOC) is issued through the many parts of the Olympic Movement. After the recognition of IASI by the IOC (Lillehammer, February 1994), IASI took officially part in the Olympic Congress, represented by A. Remans and B. Rossi-Mori (who spoke on the item Beyond the information Border). Further contacts took place in March 1995.

IOC is paying a lot of attention to the item of olympic information. The TV broadcasting in the media is obviously the first priority, but we speak now about documentation which is necessary to the Olympic Movement and , for instance, to the Sport Museums. In each country this will have the attention of the National Olympic Committees and the National Sport Federations.

The Malaga workshop about olympism was a first attempt to focus this specific item, but a special effort will be made for the IASI Congress 1997. The organization of the Congress in the Maison du Sport, sear of the National Olympic Committee of France, is a very positive coincidence, that may suggest a special invitation to the Olympic Committee, especially the European ones.

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The many circumstances, the 1997 Paris Congress is for IASI a great promotional occasion, which should be used at its most. Probably Europe will not have the chance of organizing a new Congress in a short time, so it will be reasonable to concentrate efforts on this deadline.

We should try to obtain the most for sports information within the European framework and also for the connection between Europe and the rest of the world.

Also for what concerns the contacts between IASI and the world outside, Paris is a promising appointment: we should look at international bodies which are particularly sensitive to the development of sport and of information, and to those countries or fields which do not yet participate to exchanges and to the international cooperation. The liaison with the FID (International Federation for Information and Documentation) may be very fruitful to enlarge and reinforce our sensitivity. B. Rossi-Mori met briefly the FID President (Mrs. Ritva LAUNO) in Rome, May 1995.

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A glance to the Europe of sports information

If we look at the levels of development reached in Europe we may see three kind of countries:

- those which already have an advanced level of informatic management (France, Germany, Scandinavian countries...), also for what the access networks are concerned;

- those which are already working with national databases, and are just now adopting the network=s criteria (Spain, Italy...) - the medium level;

- those which still are at a low technological level, which would like to start with their national databases and would be favoured in learning from the IASI environment.

It is necessary to make clear the needs of these three groups, especially for what concerns their possible users, in order to take into account the future IASI initiatives.

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Questions for today and tomorrow

The intercontinental breath that IASI has reached today imposes a consideration about the ways of cooperation and common action which are desirable and possible at that level.

European relationships toward the technologically advanced countries (USA, Canada or, with a different spirit, Japan and Australia) and toward those countries which are linked with linguistic and historical links (Latin America, India, Southern Africa...) May be strong and active. Some uncertainty still characterizes the relationships towards the large Arab.. and Chinese areas.

How are these mutual relationships seen in the other continents? Which is the needs ranking of the documentation centres operating in each area? We should understand the ways that each continent would like to cover, in order of feeling therefore what would be the intercontinental cooperation of tomorrow.

What is the best organisation for IASI in the future?

The informatic highways will be a great instrument of unity, but we must also be progressively aware of the great differences which characterize the real life in the countries of the world.

The European sport information people should promote these explanations, aiming both at developing the usefulness of IASI toward themselves, and at updating the structure of IASI for its ever increasing intercontinental tasks.

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Which tasks for IASI-Europe from now to 2000

We may affirm, reminding a famous sentence by Socrates, that finally we know that we don't know.

The IASI-Europe Bureau should have then as its first target the identification of the principal needs of the European members (and not-yet members) and the promotion of the possible initiatives.

In the same time it should be developed the reflection about similarities and differences compared to other continents, in order to increase the projectuality about the associative structure of IASI.

Looking at the 97 Paris Congress as an unreplaceable moment of plenary discussion, we will try to set up some preparatory theses@before Israel 96. We could therefore hope that during the period 1997-2001 the IASI-Europe activity will be based on a planning paper settled with the contribution of all the members.

Relationships between Europe and extra-European countries

As said above, between Europe and the other continents many relationships are crossing (and they will even more cross). Many differences also depend on the connection that each European country has had during the last centuries with the rest of the world.

A special interest in IASI (especially in regard to the IOC and to the targets of the dialogue that has just been started) have the preferential relationships held by some specific European countries with some particular extra-european geographical areas.

We refer in particular to the French-speaking. English-speaking and Ibero-American relationships.

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The francophone CONFEGES project

The Ministers of Youth and Sport in the French-speaking countries hold a periodical conference (CONFEGES) within the Permanent Council of the Francophony. The Confeges Secretariat is in Dakar (Senegal). A short report to inform IASI for further considerations has been asked from our French friends.

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o-American project

Thanks to a recent initiative of Spain, the cooperation network in Latin America has been definitely established. The newsletter that Aquesolo (UNISPORT Malaga) sends to all IASI members informs us in due time about the developments of this project. Hopefully with the common know-how reached about the Spanish language, the centres of this network will be soon able to have fruitful relationships also in the other principal languages and with other countries.

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The role of Great Britain for the Anglophone cooperation

Right now we don't have elements for reporting about the support that Great Britain gives to the Anglophone cooperation in the field of sports information within the British Commonwealth area.

In this field there are many countries (like USA, Canada and Australia) which give their contribution for a strong English-based offer. Furthermore, English is seen today as the more suitable language for exchanges between different countries having different languages, and consequently there are many centres which are able to operate in English.

Nevertheless the cooperation with the English-speaking developing countries will necessarily refer first to the bodies which use English as the principal language. Which one would be better than the British ones?

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