Gallica: French Online Document Archive

Grant Barrett gbarrett at MONICKELS.COM
Sat Mar 31 15:56:40 UTC 2001

In my studies here in France I've searched largely in vain[1] for decent online
document archives similar to what I have access to in English. I did, however, come
across the following that you might find useful.

A project of the Bibliothèque Nationale Française, Gallica has 80,000 documents
(text and image) scanned and online, including a seriously heavy collection of
dictionaries, most of them specialized. It is not clear to me if that's 80,000 items or 80,000
pages, but I suspect it's *items*, meaning millions of pages. It is also not clear if
the digitized pages are then run through optical character recognition and indexed,
although a search returns healthy results. In any case, there's nothing else quite
like it in scope, in French. I think it bests ARTFL <
L/ARTFL.html>, at least in the ways I prefer: it's free and original images of the
pages are available. It requires Adobe Acrobat to view the PDF pages (though there is
a TIFF option, my opinion is that the PDF files are better). Full documents or single
pages can be downloaded. [The main BNF page, including a variety of useful online
catalogues, is at]

[1] Lexis-Nexis stupidly encodes all of its French-language text without accents and
other marks. I find it difficult to read French text like that; it's almost like
learning to read another language.

PS: I ran jazz and variants across Gallica with no interesting results.

Grant Barrett
New York loves you back.

More information about the Ads-l mailing list