CCFr and collection referencing

CCFr is both a location tool and a cooperation tool, managed by BnF and populated by BnF and its partners.

As a cooperation tool, it is used by libraries and other documentation institutions to reference collections and network catalogs. It acts as a directory of organizations, a location tool, and a document access intermediary. It is used to pool library holdings.

Locating documents

The Heritage Database

In the early 1990s, the Ministry of Culture (Ministère de la Culture) launched campaigns to computerize catalogs. These campaigns covered old (pre-1811), local, and specialist collections held by 50 municipal libraries and 27 university libraries, selected for their diversity or originality.

The selected collections arose from a variety of sources: libraries belonging to the clergy and the nobility and confiscated during the Revolution; donations and bequests; acquisitions related to local personalities or history; and legal deposits by regional printers. The catalogs describing these collections had been created using a variety of media (registers, printed catalogs, handwritten or typed sheets, etc.) and following more or less specific rules depending on the period.
Millions of records were computerized, or “retroconverted”.

BnF has relaunched these programs with the aim of accelerating the computerization of library catalogs and thus making it easier to reference and locate heritage collections. Retroconverted collections thus form the Heritage Database (Base Patrimoine) of the Union Catalog of France (Catalogue Collectif de France/CCFr).

The aim of helping convert catalogs is to accelerate their computerization so as to promote access to collections.

The agreements make it possible to provide financial and technical assistance, which is often necessary for the retrospective conversion of collections undertaken in conjunction with libraries that add their records to the Heritage Database catalog or make them accessible via the Internet. New and updated records are regularly added in this way.
In addition, while waiting for their own websites to be created and/or their catalogs to be placed online, some libraries make their retroconverted old and local collections available exclusively online via this database.

Criteria for inclusion

  • Collections held not only by municipal libraries but also libraries of all types, falling outside the remit of the Ministry of Education (Ministère de l’Education nationale) (museums, archives, etc.)
  • Old collections (pre-1914 printed books) of a certain size (+/- 20,000 units)
  • local or specialist collections selected for their diversity
Heritage database April 2010

Heritage database April 2010

The Heritage Database brings together retrospectively converted catalogs of old, local, and specialist collections from 82 municipal and specialist libraries. CCFr continues to be the only way to access records for the following libraries:

  • Municipal libraries: La Rochelle and Montauban
  • Specialist libraries: Bibliothèque de l’ancienne école navale de médecine (Rochefort – Musée de la marine) and the Marseille-Provence Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Marseille-Provence)

The database holds 2,882,170 records.


The referencing of documentary heritage resources has improved significantly in both quality and quantity with the development of the Union Catalog of France.

The current version of CCFr provides access to the Catalogue général des manuscrits des bibliothèques publiques de France (CGM) and the Répertoire des manuscrits littéraires français du 20e siècle (PALME), and will subsequently provide access to the Patrimoine musical de France – RISM France database (public collections of 17th and 18th century printed and handwritten music held in the regions), as well as the current catalogs of major French libraries.

Le Patrimoine musical régional (PMR)

The project to retrospectively convert the Patrimoine musical en région collection (36 paper volumes containing 40,000 records) was launched in close cooperation between CCFr and the Music Department. The results should be made available online in mid-2010.

The Ministry for Culture and Communication (Ministère de la culture et de la communication) and BnF have joined forces to retrospectively convert and computerize catalog records for the “Patrimoine musical en région” (PMR) collection, printed from 1989 onwards and describing old handwritten and printed collections held by municipal and specialist libraries. The catalog’s 36 volumes, which represent more than 35,000 records and cover virtually every region of France, will be added to CCFr’s Heritage Database in the second half of 2010. CCFr will eventually host a specific interface as part of the international RISM (Répertoire International des Sources Musicales) program, which will enable readers to search records held by both the Music Department and the PMR program.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011