Brussels, June 7, 2017 – Members of the Réseau francophone numérique (RFN) [Francophone Digital Network], including Library and Archives Canada (LAC), unveiled a new digital library at their annual general meeting in Brussels on April 26. The Bibliothèque numérique du RFN (in French only) includes over a thousand records from the heritage collections of 10 Francophonie member nations and states.
The launch represents a major milestone in the development of the activities of the RFN, which has worked for more than 10 years to preserve Francophone heritage and disseminate it online. The RFN recently became an independent legal entity (in French only) and established its head office in Belgium, at the Royal Library of Belgium.
A digital library for the Francophonie
The new digital library provides 274 million French speakers1 with research and consultation capacities based on the Bibliothèque nationale de France’s Gallica Marque Blanche technology. The Bibliothèque numérique du RFN includes documents that vary both in format (printed materials, geographical maps, images, newspapers, etc.) and in the four broad themes of exchanges between nations and states, human rights, shared history, and the French language. A documentary policy underpins the development of the library, which will grow as member institutions add to it.
At present, the library contains records from LAC, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, the Royal Library of Belgium, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit, Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg, Bibliothèque et Archives Universitaires d'Antananarivo–Madagascar, Bibliothèque nationale du Royaume du Maroc, Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noire–Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Senegal, and the Swiss National Library.
The new Bibliothèque numérique du RFN not only offers an innovative online showcase for Francophone heritage, but also provides members with a permanent hosting and storage solution. Members may choose to use the library to disseminate their digital records and also to preserve them. The library may thus answer the needs of RFN institutions that do not have their own technological infrastructures.
Additional information is available on the Bibliothèque numérique du RFN website (in French only).
About Gallica Marque Blanche
Gallica Marque Blanche came into being so that the Bibliothèque nationale de France could share developments in its digital library, Gallica, as well as the institution’s expertise, with its partners in France and abroad. Gallica Marque Blanche allows the creation of a digital library that is based on the Gallica infrastructure but configured and personalized for contributing partners.
About the Réseau francophone numérique
The Réseau francophone numérique (RFN) is an international association created by the 26 largest documentary institutions of the Francophonie (Belgium, Benin, Cambodia, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, France, Haiti, Morocco, Quebec, Senegal, Switzerland, Vietnam, etc.). These institutions, already involved in programs to digitize their documentary heritage or eager to develop such projects, are pooling their efforts to enhance the influence of Francophone cultures and the French language. By increasing the visibility of unique heritage collections that are often little known and sometimes face deterioration, the RFN is active in the intense cultural exchanges that arise from sharing the French language. With financial support from the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, digitization and training activities may also be undertaken in several countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.
The RFN has a three-fold mission: to enhance the diversity of French-speaking documentary sources globally in terms of duration; to help member countries to preserve and piece together their documentary heritage, wherever it may be held; and to nurture the development of coherent digitization programs.
Additional information is available on the RFN website (in French only).