Preservation at BnF: policy, laboratory, and sites

Throughout its history, the National library of France has developed techniques appropriate to its preservation responsibilities. Alongside traditional curative care and binding, new activities have been added: prevention and preservation, staff training and awareness-raising, digitization, research, and technology monitoring.
BnF’s laboratory enables a truly scientific approach by developing methods for analyzing materials and the ways in which they age and degrade.
Activities are spread across four distinct sites, coordinated within the Preservation department by a central team based at the François Mitterrand Library (Site François-Mitterrand).

Laboratory: standards and publications


BnF’s laboratory plays an active role in working groups that draft French (AFNOR) and international (ISO) standards in relation to preservation (standards on paper, inks, storage conditions, and preservation conditions applicable to exhibitions):


“Information and documentation” general committee; “Document preservation” National Committee


“Preservation of cultural assets” standardization committee; “Methodology for understanding cultural assets, etc.” and “Environment” groups


BnF’s laboratory disseminates its work not only by publishing articles in French and foreign journals, but also by submitting papers to national and international symposiums.


  • “Low corrosive environments in cultural heritage: interpretation of field studies” – M. Dubus, T. P. Nguyen, T. Prosek, J. Tate, and M. Aucouturier in Museum microclimate. Not yet published.
  • “Indoor air pollution in the new building’s storage areas of the BnF: effects on the corrosion of copper and silver and on the paper cellulose-I. First results” – T. P. Nguyen, M. Dubus, and S. Bouvet in Journal of Art technology and preservation. Not yet published. 
  • “The National Library of France: indoor air pollution in the storage rooms as a consequence of an ill-suited air purification system” – T. P. Nguyen and M. Dubus in International Preservation News, issue 41, pp. 14-18, July 2007 
  • “PaperTreat, évaluation des procédés de désacidification de masse” – T. P. Nguyen in Culture & Recherche, Vol. 110, p. 16, Autumn 2006 
  • “Les principaux procédés de désacidification de masse : situation en 2004” – N. Buisson in International Preservation News, issue 39, pp. 9-13, October 2006 
  • “Programme de recherche de la BnF 1994-2000 : conclusions de l’étude comparative des quatre procédés de désacidification de masse” – N. Buisson in International Preservation News, issue 39, pp. 14-19, October 2006 
  • “La sélection d’un cuir de tannage végétal destiné à des traitements de restauration de livres anciens : une étude en cours à la BnF” – C. Barbe, T. Aubry, T. P. Nguyen, and F. Juchauld in International Preservation News, issue 39, pp. 4-8, October 2006 
  • “La conservation des documents papier : point sur l’évolution des techniques et des stratégies” – T. P. Nguyen and P. Vallas in Bulletin des Bibliothécaires Français, vol. 51, issue 4, 2006 
  • “Qualité de l’air dans les magasins de la Bibliothèque nationale de France, I - Premiers résultats” – T.P. Nguyen, M. Dubus, M. Saheb, and S. Mareynat in Support Tracé, vol. 6, pp. 48-57, 2006 
  • “Etude comparative d’encres d’estampillage de marque Tiflex” –T. P. Nguyen and S. Bouvet in Support Tracé, vol. 6, 2006 
  • “Sélection d’un cuir de veau de tannage végétal destiné à la restauration de livres anciens, premiers résultats” – C. Barbe, T. Aubry, T. P. Nguyen et al. in Support Tracé, vol. 5, pp. 79-87, 2006 
  • “Les ennemis du livre” – C. Laffont and R. Mouren in BBF, issue 1, pp. 54-63, 2005 “Gelatin as adhesive: a short introduction into a promising material” – T. P. Nguyen in PapierRestaurierung, vol. 6 (4), pp. 31-34, 2005 
  • “Mise au point d’une technique de nettoyage préalable à la numérisation des disques à gravure directe” – T. P. Nguyen, L. Verrier, and A. Carou in Support Tracé, vol. 4, pp. 56-62, 2004
  • “Contribution à l’étude du vieillissement des CD, recherches sur les collections de la BnF” – A. Carou and T. P. Nguyen, 2005 This article was delivered as a lecture: “Twenty years after: degradation survey of a large collection of optical discs” – presented at JTS (Joint Technical Symposium) in 2004, Preserving the Audio Visual Heritage (24-26 June 2004 , Toronto, Canada) 
  • “Preventive preservation, a day to day work” – T. Basset in International Preservation News, issue 41, pp. 14-18, July 2007


  • "Les grands globes de Coronelli" 2007 (Paris, France – 22-23 mars 2007)
    N. Buisson : "Analyse de la matière picturale du globe terrestre de Coronelli"
  • IFLA 2006 (Paris, France, 9-11 mars 2006) “La conservation en trois dimensions : catastrophes, expositions, numérisation”
    B. Leclerc : "Exposition et conservation : de la norme à la réalité"
  • Rencontres thématiques de l’ARSAG 2006 (Paris, France - 6 avril 2006)
    T. P. Nguyen : "Analyse comparative d’encres d’estampillage"
  • Healthy Buildings 2006 (Lisbonne, Portugal - 4-8 juin 2006)
    T. P. Nguyen : "Indoor Air Quality at the BnF"
  • INP 2006 (Paris, France - 13 décembre 2006) "Les animaux naturalisés, quelle approche pour leur traitement ?"
    F. Juchauld : "Méthode d’étude et d’analyse des animaux naturalisé"
  • IADA (International Association of Book and Paper Conservator) "This will stick forever, Attaching and Releasing" (Budapest, Hongrie -  25-27 mai 2005)
    T. P. Nguyen : "What is gelatine ?"
  • Durability of paper and writing (Lubiana, Slovenie - 16-20 novembre 2004)
    T. P. Nguyen : "Effects of gelatine sizing on iron gall ink corroded paper"

Friday, July 1, 2016


Chemistry Section
Organic chemistry
- Stéphane Bouvet
- Alain Lefebvre

Inorganic chemistry
Nathalie Buisson

Biology - Preventive Conservation Section
- Caroline Laffont
- Clémentine Kumar

- Valentin Rottier