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Collections and services

Audiovisual department

An outstanding sound and audiovisual memory
The Audiovisual Department’s collections cover the following:
  • sound collections (music, spoken materials, sound effects, etc.)
  • video collections (fiction, documentaries, institutional and corporate communications, etc.) 
  • collections of multimedia documents (education, training, etc.) 
  • electronic publishing (software, video games, databases, electronic periodicals, etc.) 
  • devices for listening to sounds, viewing images, and consulting electronic documents (Charles-Cros collection) 
  • materials and reviews relating to the audiovisual industry (cinema, audiovisual media, and music) and its media (analysis and aesthetics of works, artists, audiovisual economics and law, professions, techniques, etc.), as well as sound recording lists and filmographies.
Audiovisual materials may cover all topics. In particular, the Audiovisual Department (département de l'Audiovisuel) has collections on the following topics:

To be noted

In room P, the Research library also has workstations for consulting collections belonging to the Inathèque de France (radio and television recordings held under the legal deposit scheme) and the digital collections of the National Center for Cinematography (Centre National de la Cinématographie/CNC) – the French film archives (les Archives françaises du film).
The department offers a range of film and television adaptations of major literary works. These are available for viewing in room B of the Reference library.
Also available for consultation in room B are recordings of BnF lectures given as part of past cultural programs.

History of the department

The origins of the Audiovisual Department date back to the Archives de la Parole, created in 1911 by linguist Ferdinand Brunot. After becoming the Musée de la Parole et du Geste in 1928, the collection developed a more “folklorist” approach, which included gathering a large amount of material abroad (e.g. in Romania in 1928, Greece in 1930, Greenland in 1935-36, etc.). In 1938, it was extended to cover phonographic publishing, which came under the legal deposit scheme that same year; the Musée de la Parole et du Geste then became the Phonothèque nationale. In 1977, the Phonothèque nationale, by that time a department of the National Library, began to receive videograms and multimedia documents under the legal deposit scheme, followed by electronic documents in 1992. From 1994 onwards, the Audiovisual Department fell within the scope of the Bibliothèque nationale de France renovation project and was established at the François Mitterrand Library (Site François-Mitterrand).
For more info

History of the BnF

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Christophe Gauthier
Secretary : 01 53 79 53 02
As a librarian (SINDBAD) : 01 59 79 53 11
Fax : 01 53 79 47 01
Email :