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International news in 2009

The BnF offers 500,000 books to the Library of Alexandria

Image illustrant le don de la BnF à Alexandrie
In the framework of its international cooperation activity, the Billiotheque nationale de France decided to give the Library of Alexandria 500,000 works that it possesses in duplicate to enable the library to open a department of francophone Literature. These are all the works published in France between 1996 and 2006. This exceptional collection covers all fields and all sectors of French publishing for this period.

Dossier de presse [fichier .pdf – 241 Ko – 01/12/09 – 8 p.]

[December 2009]

Mission to Cambodia to enrich the French-speaking digital library

In the framework of the Réseau Francophone des Bibliothèques Nationales Numériques (RFBNN) a digitisation mission was sent to Cambodia, funded by the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.

From 7 to 18 December 2009, two specialists, one in digitisation, Mme Dominique Maillet, an engineer at the BnF, and the other, Jean-Jacques Donard, manager of the VALEASE programme (valorisation of written works in south-east Asia) visited the principal heritage libraries in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap: the National Library of Cambodia (BNC), The National Museum of Cambodia, the National Archives of Cambodia, the Centre for Khmer Studies, etc.

This mission, organised in close liaison with the Cambodian authorities, has the following objectives:

  • to select the collections of francophone periodicals preserved in Cambodia which, when digitised, could form part of RFBNN collections;
  • to examine the conditions for quality digitisation (resolution, colour, OCR or not, metadata for display, online accessibility, consultation tool, archiving, etc.);
  • to provide training to seven staff of the BNC by organising an initiation into the organisation and setting up of a digitisation chain;
  • • to draw up the specifications translated into Khmer for the BNC, which will select its local service-provider to carry out the digitisation of its old francophone collections.

New cooperation projects with Cambodia to prolong the 2009 mission are contemplated in 2010.

[Novembre 2009]

A Franco-Brazilian digital portal

Image illustrant le portail franco-brésilien

The Bibliothèque nationale de France and the National Library of Brazil have launched a joint portal « A França no Brasil / La France au Brésil ».

Put online on 13 November 2009, this new portal is the fruit of a digitisation programme covering a compilation of documents representative of the history of relations between France and Brazil, from the first decades of the 16th century to the early 20th century.

Hosted on a server unique to the National Library of Brazil, this free and bilingual portal offers access to over a thousand documents – printed texts, drawings, prints, photographs and maps – selected from the collections of the two libraries.

This operation closes in a significant and enduring fashion the Year of France in Brazil and testifies to the will of the two nations to promote exchanges between their two cultures.

For more info

Communiqué de presse [fichier .pdf – 64 Ko – 04/06/09 – 1 p.]

[November 2009]

« Culture Profession » 2010: appeal for applications from foreign professionals

From 2004 to 2009, in the framework of its « Culture Profession » programme set up by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Bibliothèque nationale de France received 49 foreign professionals: librarians, restorers, cataloguers, musicologists, incunabula experts, numismatists, iconographers, sound archivists, teachers, sociologists, etc. During their stay, the guest professionals, each one backed up by a BnF mentor, carried out in-depth research in their field. Closer relations will be built between our institutions, based on these exchanges of knowledge.


The « Culture Profession » research residence lasts an average of three months.

The professional is housed individually in Paris and receives a grant of 1,000 euros per month.

The return air ticket between the home country and Paris is paid by the professional (or his/her institution).


Those of you interested in this programme are invited to send your application by email to
The application involves:

  • a CV (including date of birth, post currently occupied, personal address and address of the institution);
  • a covering letter – proposing a solid research project related to the collections and services of the BnF;
  • your availability periods (1st half of 2010, 2nd half of 2010, specifying the months).


The candidates must be able to understand, read and write French.


Please also send a copy of your application to the French Embassy (or French Consulate) of your country (specifying « Programme Profession Culture ») for the attention of the Service de Coopération et d'Action Culturelle.


The final date for receiving applications is Friday 20 November 2009.
The selection committee will meet in mid-December 2009.
The research residences will begin in January 2010.

For more info

Profession Culture

[October 2009]

The BnF takes part in the World Library and Information Congress

The Bibliothèque nationale de France was present, as in previous years, at the World Library and Information Congress organised by the IFLA and held in Milan, from 23 to 27 August 2009. The theme was "Libraries create the future: building on the cultural heritage" and the discussions focused on the functions and services of libraries at a time when access to the cultural heritage is being remodelled by the development of technologies.

The BnF teams are contributing to this movement and mobilising their skills in many fields and on projects undertaken in the different professional units of the IFLA. This contribution is expressed this year notably through:

  • chairing discussions by different sections about themes such as the evolution of professional techniques, the methods and strategies for accompanying the change of the professional environment and the preservation of the cultural heritage;
  • communications on and feedback from the projects undertaken by the BnF on the digitisation of documents and the Web archiving in particular;
  • participation in drawing up tools, new recommendations and best practices, for example in the field of national bibliographies.

A stand designed by the BnF for the exhibition allowed the congress participants to discover or explore in more detail its collections, services and projects. Documents in French, English and Italian were available on the stand, which also featured:

  • a presentation of the new online service proposed to publishers since July 2009 to facilitate the legal deposit of books;
  • a visit-navigation through the new version of the Gallica digital library and its advanced functionalities such as the vocalisation of texts;
  • information on the principal projects ongoing in the BnF, from the renovation of the historical Richelieu site to developments in the research library and the catalogue.

[August 2009]

The BnF adds bibliographic data from its catalogue to WorldCat

The Bibliothèque nationale de France and OCLC signed a collaboration agreement for adding bibliographic records from the general catalogue of the BnF to the catalogue of the OCLC, WorldCat. About 13.2 million bibliographic records of the BnF will be loaded into WorldCat, giving them increased visibility and accessibility.
The OCLC and the BnF are already collaborating on joint projects such as the cooperative project for the creation of a virtual international authority file which groups several authority files in a single service, as well as the translation into French of the Dewey decimal classification system.

Communiqué de presse [fichier .pdf – 55 Ko – 12/06/09 – 1 p.]

[June 2009]

Biodiversity Heritage Library for Europe: digitising biodiversity

Different insects - drawing Jean-Jacques Lequeu Delin

Different insects  [drawing]

The European Commission has given its support to the Biodiversity Heritage Library for Europe project (BHL-Europe), for which the kick-off meeting was held from 10 to 15 May 2009 at the Museum für NaturKunde in Berlin.

28 institutions in 13 European countries came together to coordinate their digitisation efforts, in the wake of the American BHL project, in order to bring to Europeana about 25 million pages concerning biodiversity.

This three year programme will reinforce the scientific dimension of Europeana, show the contribution of European scientists in the field of biology, and give access to founding (?) documents (the works of Darwin, Linné, von Humboldt, Wallace, Cuvier, Merian, etc.) as well as artistic achievements (botanical and zoological drawings, colour plates, etc.).

The Bibliothèque nationale de France is taking part in this project as a content provider. The Museum national d’Histoire naturelle, closely associated with the BnF, is the other French partner of the project.

[June 2009]

The KEEP project: preserving long term access to digital documents

The « Nordic Game », conference, organised on 19 and 20 May 2009 in Malmo, Sweden, provided an ideal forum for presenting the KEEP project and making the players in the video gaming world aware of the challenges of long term preservation of digital cultural heritage.

Launched in February 2009, the KEEP project seeks to find solutions to preserve the long term access to digital documents by pursuing three objectives:

  • to establish a formal framework for the transfer of data from different types of media (floppy discs, optical discs, etc.);
  • to define a formal approach to programming emulators in line with the needs of researchers;
  • to produce a universal virtual machine capable of running these emulators and that is portable.

Undertaken with the support of the European Commission within the framework of its action in favour of the preservation of digital heritage, KEEP coordinates the efforts of cultural heritage institutions and private companies in Europe. Apart from the BnF, coordinator of the project, the partners are the national libraries of the Netherlands and Germany, The Video Games Museum of Berlin, the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom, two IT firms and two communication firms.

The work undertaken as part of the KEEP project must take into account the requirements regarding the rights of authors while enabling the preservation of the elements of the contemporary cultural heritage made up of electronic documents.

[June 2009]

Launch of the World Digital Library

The World Digital Library was launched on 21 April 2009 at the headquarters of Unesco in Paris. It publishes rare books, maps, manuscripts, films, photographs and sound recordings from libraries and cultural institutions around the world. The initiative of this multilingual portal open to the cultures of the world came from the Library of Congress in Washington and Unesco.

The BnF is one of the partners from 19 countries associated with the project from the launch phase. Ten digitised documents selected from its treasures will be proposed, including one of the first recordings of La Marseillaise from 1898, the first known writing of François Rabelais, the autograph manuscript of Bizet's opera Carmen, a celebrated cookery book dating from 1495, a set of portraits and dramatic roles of Sarah Bernhardt, etc.

[April 2009]

A French Website for the Dunhuang collections preserved in France

The collections of manuscripts and works of art discovered by Paul Pelliot in 1908 at Dunhuang in China are now accessible in a French presentation on the Internet:


Projet International Dunhuang [fichier .pdf – 574 Ko – 04/06/09 – 2 p.]

Divinites - Département des Manuscrits orientaux - Pelliot Chinois 4518 (7)


[April 2009]

The BnF a partner of the European ARROW project

The BnF is currently carrying out interviews with the administrators of bibliographic databases (libraries, publishers, broadcasters, consortia) to learn about their practices in managing digital data. This action is undertaken within the framework of the European ARROW project (Accessible Registries of Rights Information and Orphan Works towards Europeana) of which the BnF is a partner.

ARROW is a project run jointly by libraries/publishers /rights management organisations which aims to develop a database of orphan works and to study how to give access to contemporary digitised in-copyright works via the Europeana digital library in respect with the rights of authors.

In France, Numilog, a e-retailer, is also one of the partners. The Syndicat national de l'Edition (French Publishers’ Association) and the Centre Français d'Exploitation du Droit de Copie (authors and publishers owned organisation created to licence books and press publications'reproduction rights) are supporters of this project.

[March 2009]

Cycle of PAC/IFLA conferences: Conservation and the four elements

The IFLA Preservation and Conservation (PAC) programme, hosted at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, is organising a cycle of four international conferences in 2009-2010 on conservation and the four elements: air, water, earth and fire.

The first of these conferences, dedicated to air, and organised in collaboration with the BnF, was held in Paris on 5 and 6 March 2009. It was entitled: « Between two airs: Interior/Exterior. Libraries, Archives, Museums: from climate change to microclimates, strategies for conservation ».

Final registration date: 28 February 2009.

[February 2009]

New international training course: « Audiovisual resources in libraries »

A new course on audiovisual resources in libraries is proposed this year to managers and professionals of libraries and audiovisual centres around the world. The purpose of the course, organised in partnership between the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Bibliothèque publique d'information, is to understand the stakes involved in the development of audiovisual resources in libraries and to give precise information about the whole chain of processes for digitising audiovisual documents.

Final registration date: 30 March 2009.

For more info

Group internships

[February 2009]

« Culture Profession » programme 2009: selected candidates

The Selection Committee of the "Culture Profession" programme, confirmed on 8 December 2008 its selection of 8 candidates for research residences at the BnF in 2009 in the framework of this programme for foreign culture professionals. They are:

  • Germany: Mr Stefan Kröger, librarian at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, to work on the collection of scale models of stage sets held by the Bibliothèque-Musée de l’Opéra;
  • Canada: Mr Rémi Castonguay, librarian at Yale University in the United States, to study the links between musicological research and multimedia, based on the collections of the Music department;
  • China: Mr Chu Xiaoquan, librarian at Fudan University in Shanghai, to analyse the constitution of a French language collection in the Literature and Art department;
  • China: Mrs Guo Changling, librarian at the National Library of China, to study the diffusion in the West of great classical Chinese texts in the Literature and Art department;
  • Georgia: Mrs Nestane Chkhikvadze, cataloguer at the National Manuscripts Centre in Tbilisi, to work in the Manuscripts department on the catalogue of Georgian manuscripts;
  • Mali: Mr Saadou Traoré, librarian at the Institut Ahmed Baba in Timbuktu, to work in the Manuscripts department on the description of African manuscripts;
  • Russia: Mrs Anna Petrova , musicologist at the State Conservatory of Saint Petersburg, to study the condition of the Montpensier collection in the Music department;
  • • Vietnam: Mrs Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung, librarian at the National Centre for Scientific and Technical Information in Hanoi, to carry out research into old books on Hanoi in the collections of the Philosophy, History and Human Sciences department.

Each resident researcher is welcomed in a department of the BnF and accompanied on their project by a Library specialist in the field concerned.

For more info

Profession Culture

[February 2009]

Tuesday, March 18, 2014