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Gallica is the digitization project of the French National Library and one of the largest worldwide. It was founded in 1997 and expanded after the Google Book Search project was announced . The French National Library digitizes more than 100,000 documents every year.


Copyright-free books (since the incunable period ), pictures and sound files are recorded. In Gallica (as of April 2016) around 2,400,000 digitized documents are freely available: more than 657,000 individual books and 3,500 journals (over 1.6 million issues), around 917,000 pictures, 76,700 maps, 75,300 manuscripts, 34,600 audio files, 41,000 scores, 354,000 objects etc.

The books are mostly offered as digital facsimiles and displayed page by page as PDFs . However, they can also be downloaded in whole or in part as PDF or TIFF files or read aloud: 270,000 books and journal volumes (and the trend is rising) have been processed with optical character recognition and their content is searchable.

Gallica serves as a service provider for other French digital libraries indexed by the OAI Protocol for Metadata Harvesting .

Before the Monumenta Germaniae Historica started the DMGH project, Gallica was the only website to offer most of the older volumes of this predominantly Latin source collection in digitized form. Gallica not only contains a huge number of books on French history, but also a wealth of foreign-language literature, especially in English, German and Italian.

Latin prints in Gallica are individually indexed in the Analytic Bibliography of Online Neo-Latin Texts .

Most of the content is in the deep web , so it can not be found with a Google search. However, the holdings can be searched through OAIster .


A large number of foreign-language works are insufficiently indexed through metadata . It is not uncommon to encounter incomprehensible gaps in multi-volume works. Older digital copies of microfilms are sometimes of low quality.

Cooperation with Wikisource

The Bibliothèque Nationale de France aims to work with the approximately 13,000 employees of Wikisource . The purpose of this collaboration is to process at least 1,400 works by Gallica in which, for example, a single letter cannot be read by the software. This fact means that words and entire sentences are not read, which means that the display becomes incomplete and incorrect.

The head of the BNF Bruno Racine hopes that through the participation of Wikisource the reader will be offered a quality that can only arise thanks to the correction by humans taking into account the original.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Current stock figures

Web links

Commons : Gallica  - collection of images, videos and audio files