The Minitel and France's Legacy of Democratic Information Access


Although the Minitel is a relic in the world of online information technology, there is more to this outdated machine than the history of its failure. The Minitel grew out of a French tradition of information transfer and was uniquely suited to serve its target population. Competition provided by the Internet is stiff, but the Minitel staved it off through the turn of the millennium. Indeed, the French cannot be blamed for keeping hold of their Minitels as long as possible, as the Minitel came to be not only the homegrown purveyor of democratic access to information, but also a symbol of national pride. Now, as France moves with the rest of the world to embrace the Internet, it is not without a certain sense of déjà vu. [Copyright &y& Elsevier] Copyright of Government Information Quarterly is the property of Elsevier B.V. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)


MSU Libraries

Document Type




Publication Date


Journal Title

Government Information Quarterly