BnF cooperation with America and Asia

The BnF is at the center of an international reflection on the specific roles played by national libraries and more broadly on the challenges that libraries face as a whole along with other cultural establishments. It is involved in a variety of cooperative programs.


Cooperation Agreement between the National Library of China and the BnF

A cooperation agreement was signed on 29 March 2007 between the National Library of China and the BnF.

This agreement focuses on four main lines:

  • documentary exchanges;
  • cultural collaboration on topics of common interest;
  • professional exchange on the practices of each institution;
  • residency of interns in the context of the "Profession Culture" program.

Cooperation also focuses on the digitisation of a corpus of texts devoted to sinology.


Press release (in French): le communiqué de presse du 30 mars 2007 [fichier .pdf – 44 Ko – 05/06/09]

Korean Manuscripts Housed at the BnF

Since 1886, the Bibliothèque nationale has been keeping 297 volumes of Korean manuscripts seized from Korean Royal archives by French soldiers as a retaliation for the murder of missionaries.

For several years, the property of these documents has been a contentious issue between France and Korea. Actually, the Korean party requires the restitution of the manuscripts.

One of the volumes (identified "Coréen 2495") was delivered to the Korean government on September 1993, on the occasion of a state visit by Président François Mitterrand, following legal conditions that are not interpreted the same way by both parties (long-term loan according to France, which is confirmed by the regular renewal of the authorization for temporary exit of the document; restitution according to Korea).

In 1999, Jacques Sallois, Counsellor at the Cour des Comptes, was commissionned to seek for the terms of an agreement with the Korean governement. The idea of a long-term loan exchange of archives that was considered for a while did not come off.

Some progress was made to provide better access to the manuscripts and an agreement was confirmed on two points in June 2006 on the occasion of the official visit to Paris by Ms. Han Myeong-Sook, Prime Minister of Korea:

  • Access procedures to the BnF are made easier for Korean researchers who would need to consult the original version of Korean manuscripts;
  • Digitisation of 30 volumes of manuscripts (unica) according to specifications established on a common basis with Korean experts who are also associated to the major phases of the quality control. Digitisation operations were finalised at the beginning of 2008 and digital copies delivered to the Korean government on 14 March 2008.
The manuscripts digitised can be consulted online simultaneously on the websites of the Korean Agency for Cultural Heritage and the BnF.

Friday, October 30, 2015