Bibliothèque nationale de France


The Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) is one of the largest public and research libraries in the world. Throughout its history it has always performed the task of collecting and conserving the national heritage entrusted to its care, in whatever form, for the use of all researchers, students and professionals.

BnF offers access to its digital library Gallica obtained through the library’s commitment to the digitization of selected items of its collections. Gallica currently contains about 5 million digitized documents in French and other languages: manuscripts, sound materials and music scores, books, images and newspapers issues. They cover all domains of knowledge, with a specific focus in literature and history. Together with these collections, all in public domain, Gallica gives access to digitized documents belonging to French partner libraries, as well as to a set of copyrighted documents in collaboration with the French Publishers Association, some publishers and e-retailers (more than 280 partners).

In 2016, a media site dedicated to press archives from 1631 to 1945 was launched: Retronews. The site has a high level of editorial input with pedagogical files, articles by historians, journalists or researchers and also daily reactions to news. This service offers powerful work tools to subscribers to run precise searches in the fields of history, literature, science, arts, etc.

BnF has a large experience in mass digitization and digitization process, especially OCR and text enrichment (named entities recognition, topic modeling). In 2011, was created. It is a service that aggregates data from both the catalogues and the digital library, provides link to internal and external sources, and uses semantic web technologies to link BnF resources in the data web. The BnF is involved in many European and national research projects. From 2012 to 2015, BnF has contributed along with 16 partners to improve the processes implemented on the newspapers collections digitized within the framework of the Europeana Newspapers project (CIP ICP-PSP).

Team Biographies

Jean-Philippe Moreux

Jean-Philippe Moreux joined the BnF in 2012 as OCR and digital publishing formats expert and is now Gallica scientific advisor. In addition to being a member of the ALTO Editorial Board, he currently works on all heritage digitization programs and research projects (NLP, text and data mining, OCR, etc.) BnF participated to, as well as on the application of research results to digital libraries. Prior to that, he was an IT R&D Engineer and project manager, and then worked as a science editor and a consultant in the publishing industry. He is a Graduate in Computer Science (INSA Toulouse, 1990) and postgraduate in Software Engineering (CERAM-CNRS Sophia-Antipolis, 1991).

Jean-Baptiste Vaisman

Jean-Baptiste Vaisman is deputy head of the digitization service since 2014. He manages the digitization aspects of all the international and European projects BnF is a member of.  As such, he was an active participant to the projects Europeana Newspapers and SUCCEED. He is also currently involved in many research projects about OCR, text data mining, named entities recognition, etc. As part of the Gallica dissemination team, he is well versed in promoting heritage collections online, notably on social media. He is a graduate from the Ecole nationale des Chartes.

Hélène Raymond

Hélène Raymond is coordinator for heritage digitization projects since 2016 in the Department Law, Economics and Politics, which holds the majority of BnF’s newspapers archives. Additionally, she is instrumental in their improving access on Gallica by publishing thematic collections. She previously worked at the library of the University of Nanterre and holds a PhD in Films studies from the Paris-Sorbonne University (Paris 3).

Marion Ansel is Project manager and Communication Officer in the International relations delegation at the BnF since 2012. As such, she has been in charge of the BnF’s participation in the Europeana Sounds project, and former Europeana Newspapers and Europeana Awareness projects. Previously based in Brussels, she was involved in project management as a Project Assistant in EU policies in DG CONNECT where she supported the project officers on research programme implementation actions and on communication activities.