Digitization of the world’s heritage increases day by day. Now, ProQuest and the Biblioteque national de France have joined to digitize about 70,000 books from the library’s collection of European books printed before 1700. The collection includes 3,000 works that were printed before 1501.
According to the press release:
The BnF’s collection is vast and wide-ranging, containing many rare or obscure texts on subjects from literature and history to science and engineering, from law to aesthetics and art criticism, from politics to philosophy and theology. The books themselves come in many forms, with popular chapbooks (which were widely distributed but rarely preserved) at one end of the spectrum and luxury editions aimed at a wealthy, courtly audience at the other. Landmark works include early editions of French writers such as the poet Clement Marot and the historian Philippe de Commynes; the first editions of major scientific texts including Christian Huyghens’ Horologium oscillatorium (Paris, 1673) and Pierre de Fermat’s collected works (Toulouse, 1679), among many others. Many important printers and booksellers will be covered by this project, such as Sebastien Cramoisy, Antoine Vitre , Augustin Courbe , Claude Barbin , and the houses of Coignard and Ballard.
The library is the fifth major library to participate in ProQuest’s program. The others are the Danish Royal Library, the Biblioteca Nazionale Central di Firenze, the National Library of the Netherlands, and the Wellcome Library.