Creating digital corpora

Gathering, promoting and making specific collections accessible online to as many people as possible is at the heart of the European projects in which the BnF participates alongside its partners, primarily national and university libraries.

Europeana Regia, a digital library of royal collections

Europeana Regia brings together in a multilingual virtual space three royal collections from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance that are now dispersed: the Carolingian manuscripts, the Library of Charles V and Charles VI, and the Library of the Aragonese Kings of Naples.

This digital reunification project has enabled the digitisation of more than 900 manuscripts from the 7th to the 16th century from the collections of the BnF, the Royal Library of Belgium, the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel and the Bavarian State Library in Germany, the Library of the University of Valencia in Spain and 15 French libraries, with the purpose of making them accessible via Europeana.

The Art of Reading in the Middle Ages

The Art of reading in the Middle Ages - ARMA” explores, through the constitution of a European collection of medieval objects and manuscripts, the role played by reading practices in the Middle-Ages in the construction of European identity.

The participating institutions are the National and University Library of Slovenia, which is coordinating the project, the BnF, the National Library of the Czech Republic, the Berlin State Library, the Hunt Museum (Ireland), the University Library of Leiden (Netherlands), the Europeana Foundation and the Public Library of Bruges (Belgium).

More than 22,000 digitised reproductions of medieval manuscripts, incunabula and artefacts from eight libraries and museums have been made availableon Europeana. Semantic enrichment and the implementation of the IIIF protocol facilitate the discovery and consultation of documents. These collections are also the subject of an editorial promotion initiative aimed at the general public, as well as at schoolchildren and students.

The BnF is contributing to this project in many ways, by:

  • Digitising 60 European medieval manuscripts;
  • Making digital reproductions of European medieval manuscripts, incunabula and objects from Gallica available on the Europeana platform;
  • Semantically enriching the descriptive records of these collections, to facilitate access and visibility in search engines;
  • Contributing to the editorial and promotional activities of the collections, such as the writing of a series of « Lire au Moyen-Age » (Reading in the Middle Ages) blog articles, preparing educational tutorials for students and schoolchildren, contributing to the collective virtual exhibition “The Art of Reading in the Middle Ages”, and creating image galleries on the Europeana website.

The Rise of Literacy in Europe 

The Rise of Literacy project has increased the number of collections accessible via Europeana on this theme and has enabled its users to learn about the evolution of reading and writing practices and their spread, from the Middle-Ages to the present day.

Coordinated by the National Library of Slovenia, the project brought together 13 partners between September 2017 and February 2019, including nine national libraries (Scotland, France, Greece, Latvia, the Netherlands, Wales, Portugal, Serbia and Slovenia), the Berlin State Library, the Italian Union Catalogue, the Vocabulary Institute of the National Research Centre in Italy and the Europeana Foundation.

Its achievements include:

The BnF has digitised three journals and 45 periodicals representing 351,000 pages. It has also developed an innovative prototype International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) for the mediation of Gallica, which can be seen in the series of articles on the Gallica « À la loupe » (A closer look) blog. On this same blog, a series of articles entitled « Europe des savoirs » (Europe of Knowledge) has been launched.


Drapeau européen

The Rise of Literacy and ARMA projects are co-financed by the European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility programme: grant agreement INEA/CEF/ICT/A2016/1332086 for Rise of Literacy (September 2017-February 2019) and grant agreement INEA/CEF/ICT/A2019/2072436 for ARMA (October 2020-July 2022).