The BnF

Philosophy, History and Humanities Department

© Béatrice Lucchese / BnF
The Department of Philosophy, History and Human Sciences houses and enhances encyclopaedic collections in the field of human and social sciences. The Department proposes a wide variety of printed and digital documents, either in open access or available on request when housed in closed stacks. It also holds numerous parish bulletins and builds up compendia of ephemeral publications (tracts, mail order catalogues, advertising documents ...).
The Sociétés en débat resource centre, located in room J of the Reference Library (Haut-de-Jardin level) proposes to focus on major contemporary issues according to a pluridisciplinary approach based on all the disciplines dealt with in the Department.

Collections of the Philosophy, History and Humanities Department

Silkscreen poster. Ecole des Beaux-Arts

Silkscreen poster. Atelier populaire de l'École des Beaux-Arts de Paris.

The Philosophy, History and Humanities Department (département Philosophie, histoire, sciences de l'homme) maintains and adds to collections on the following topics:

The department has a large number of Catholic parish bulletins. It also compiles compendia of short-lived publications: propaganda flyers, mail order catalogs, advertising materials, etc.

For more info

History - Compendia

The collections of Philosophy, History and Humanities Department are indexed in the Catalogue général de la BnF.

Sociétés en débats resource centre

Located in room J, the Sociétés en débats resource centre makes available major debate magazines: Esprit, Commentaire, Critique, Le Débat, Cités, Les Temps modernes, Études. These publications play a major part in the French intellectual life. They offer fundamental analyses, take a stand in the public space and propose a temporal point of view different from papers specializing in analysis and commentary. They allow to focus on major issues of our contemporary society from a critical and absolutely essential point of view.

See also

Portail Sociétés en débat Portail Sociétés en débats
Online documents to complement the collections about societal issues in room J. A pluri-disciplinary approach combining history with philosophy, sociology and anthropology is used to analyze today's issues.

History of the department

The decision to create the Philosophy, History and Humanities Department was made when designing what was to become, in 1994, the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
This institution was formed by merging the former National Library with the Établissement public de la Bibliothèque de France.

The department’s collections include both:

  • Heritage documents arising from the topical division of collections belonging to the former Printed Materials Department of the National Library. These collections include extensive material obtained under the legal deposit scheme and revolutionary seizures, as well as acquisitions, donations, and bequests. They include the majority of documents printed in France since the 16th century.
  • Documents acquired from 1991 onwards for the open-access collections held at the François Mitterrand Library (Site François-Mitterrand).
For more info

History of the BnF

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Fabien Plazannet
Secretary : 01 53 79 50 53
Fax : 01 53 79 41 20

To write to the department, use our « Ask a librarian service » (SINDBAD).
Ask a librarian (SINDBAD)