Gallica – The BnF digital library

Gallica is one of the major digital libraries available for free via the Internet. It provides access to any type of document: printed documents (books, press and magazines) in image and text mode, manuscripts, sound and iconographic documents, maps and plans.
Gallica is intended to all readers, whether users just having a look, booklovers, students or academics.


A heritage and encyclopaedic library

The documents selected by the BnF illustrate the French written heritage and its influence in Europe and worldwide. They compose an encyclopaedic and comprehensive library, representative of major French authors and of the various trends of reflection and research over the centuries. Gathering rare or not easily available documents, this selection is completed by documents allowing to place these works in their intellectual context. They are illustrated by contemporary writers’ memoirs or described and commented in reference tools (dictionaries, bibliographies).

Staff members responsible for the enrichment of Gallica also work with researchers to collaborate on the major current research trends.

Various fields of interest – history, literature, sciences, philosophy, law, economics and politics – are represented.

In digital collections, priority is given to French-speaking culture; however, some foreign classics are also available in their original language or in a translated version.

The Gallica collection

The Gallica collection provides access to the following collections.

Royalty-free collections or collections which rights were negociated with rights holders

These collections are digitized by the BnF in the framework of mass digitization and/or backup programmes.

Collections housed in partner public institutions

These collections from public partner institutions (libraries, research centres…) were selected because of their scientific complementarity and technical compatibility with the BnF collections. These documents are indexed in Gallica but remain available via the partner institution’s website.


    A library turned towards its users

    To accompany the web-users in the discovery of its digital contents, Gallica created:

    International cooperation

    In cooperation with European national libraries and publishers, the BnF works about the construction of Europeana, the European digital library providing access, via the Internet, to several million digitized documents representative of the European historical and cultural heritage. To this end, Gallica content is regularly harvested by Europeana.

    The BnF enriches other digital libraries in partnership with American countries (France in BrazilFrance in America, network of French-speaking digital libraries).


    The other digital databases

    The BnF proposes two other more specific repositories of digital documents:

    • The Banque d’images from the Reproduction Department, resulting from customers’ orders.
    • Mandragore, iconographic database dedicated to the identification and indexation of the decoration of manuscripts kept at the BnF.




    Gallica, la bibliothèque numérique de la BnF et de ses partenaires BnF Durée : 1 min 58 s