Google Close To Deal With National Library Of France

    August 18, 2009

Google Books may get much, much bigger in the very near future.  Although the Bibliotheque Nationale de France (BNF, or the National Library of France) criticized the project in the past, reports indicate that it should soon seal a deal, open its doors, and become an ally, instead.

Any development will be important in part because the BNF’s collection is enormous.  A precursor of the current library was founded in 1368, and by June of 2009, the BNF’s collection had grown to include an estimated 13.2 million or so bibliographic records.

If all or even some of them can be scanned, French scholars all over the world will gain easy access to stuff they’d probably never otherwise see.

Also, Charles Bremner writes, "The pact will mark a big climbdown because the BNF led a counter-attack, noisily launched under President Chirac in early 2005, against what France saw as a dangerous new American imperialism."

So Google can perhaps use the BNF’s change of heart to convince other libraries to join the Google Books project.

Anyway, although an official announcement has yet to be made, Bremner talked to the director of collections at the BNF, so it’s more of matter of waiting to hear the details at this point.