Frédéric Mitterrand, Minister of Culture and Communication, René Ricol, Commissioner General for Investment, and Bruno Racine, President of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) launched Wednesday, July 6, 2011, a call for partnerships within the framework of the Investissements d'Avenir for the digitisation and valorization of the BnF collections.

For the past ten years, the BnF has been committed to a policy of digitization of its collections that enriches its digital library Gallica, currently composed of one and a half million documents. These are also accessible via Europeana, the European digital library, of which the BnF is one of the first contributors. These digitization programs are funded by a grant from the National Book Centre (CNL) and the BnF’s own budget. The envelope
Since 2007, the annual amount has been around €7 million.

To strengthen and accelerate the digitization of its collections, the BnF wishes to be part of the Investments for the Future program, wanted by the President of the Republic. To this end, it has identified the following 12 corpus, which are likely to be digitized in partnership with private actors who would like to promote them commercially: the old book from 1470 to 1700; a set of 3 to 500,000 French prints in the public domain; the French press from 1780 to 1940; 78 rpm discs and
microsillons; medieval or modern manuscripts; portrait collections; genealogy and family history; territories: cartography and representations of France and foreign countries; local history; musical scores; photography; French cinema from the origins to the Second World War.

Some of these corpus are likely to be expanded nationally, which will allow other libraries, in Paris and in the regions, including municipal or university, to benefit from the Investments for the Future.

The overall cost of these digitisation programmes would amount to some 150 million euro, the equivalent of more than 20 years at the current rate.

The digitisation of all these sets with private partners, which, in exchange for commercial exploitation, would contribute to the financing of digitisation, would triple the current volume of Gallica in a few years.

With the support of the National Fund for the Digital Society (FSN), a fund set up by the State and managed by the Caisse des Dépôts as part of the “Development of the Digital Economy of “Future Investments” programme, the BnF will create a wholly-owned subsidiary, BnF-Partnerships. Its mission will be to conclude agreements of digitization and commercial valorization of its collections taking into account the recommendations of the Committee of Sages of the European Union. This subsidiary will be set up before the end of 2011. The resulting projects are likely to be funded by the NTF.

Finally, a separate call for partnership focuses on the enhancement of the Distributed Preservation and Archiving System (SPAR), developed and used by the BnF since 2007 for the long-term preservation of its digital resources.

To learn more about future investments, visit: