BnF and Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence - 2021 - Illustrations: C.Ardenti et L.Giocanti
What is the common point between: a query to find your little brother’s doppelganger on Gallica, a comparison between several handwritten music notations to identify the scribe who copied an ancient score, and the ability to anticipate how BnF collections should be processed to ensure their best conservation?
These three tasks can be supported by artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. The area of AI applications encompasses all the activities and services of the Library thus opening exciting perspectives and research approaches.



AI projects can be organized in five main fields at the BnF. These fields are related to its missions of collecting, preserving, cataloguing and disseminating remarkable collections in their volume, variety, and historical scope:
  • Support to cataloguing activities
  • Collections management
  • Searching, analysing content and improving access to content
  • User engagement, putting content in perspective
  • Decision-making and governance


Building a consistent, unifying, and accountable AI policy
AI-based processes, developments and projects require a consistent policy, able to engage an AI community within the Library and to addess ethical issues such as the evolution of relationships between human and machines. In order to meet these challenges, a roadmap has been designed for 2021-2026.
Five actions
Presented in December 2021 at the BnF, during the 3rd international conference about Artificial Intelligence in Libraries, Archives and Museums, the document sets out five actions:
  1. Making AI challenges and projects a part of the Institution’s global strategy
  2. Improving R&D organisation and implementation at the BnF
  3. Developing new skills
  4. Adapting infrastructure and data management
  5. Designing a multi-year programme with other stakeholders


Read AI Roadmap (visual summary)