What is the Bibliothèque Diplomatique Numérique?

Through its its Digital Diplomatic Library (Bibliothèque Diplomatique Numérique (BDN)), the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) disseminates, preserves and promotes documents on the history of diplomacy, international relations, government organization and international law.

The aim of this digital library is to promote and share part of the physical library’s significant heritage collection (500,000 volumes, 3,000 magazines and newspapers) which the public can consult in the reading rooms at the Diplomatic Archive Centres in La Courneuve and Nantes.

The Bibliothèque Diplomatique Numérique was created in close cooperation with the National Library of France (BnF).

From 2009 to 2016, the MEAE library provided the National Library of France (BnF) digitization service with 301 titles (i.e. 15,202 documents containing 357,732 pages) which were added to Gallica, the BnF’s digital library.

In 2015, the MEAE and the BnF began a new digital partnership to create a thematic digital library using a technical platform shared with Gallica. The MEAE library can thus add documents which it has itself digitized. The BDN officially opened on 12 March 2018.

An extensive and expanding collection

The Bibliothèque Diplomatique Numérique is accessible to everybody free of charge and currently has 2,643 heritage documents, split into eight categories:

  • Diplomatic history
  • Foreign Ministries
  • Diplomats: activities, stories and portraits
  • Diplomatic documents
  • International law
  • Treaties, agreements and conventions
  • French protectorates and mandated territories
  • Official foreign and intergovernmental publications

The originals are held by the MEAE library, the BnF and its many partner libraries. ,000 new titles are currently being indexed. They will be available for consultation at the BDN in the coming months. Eventually, manuscripts and certain rare printed documents from the MEAE library, such as documents from archive collections, digitized by the printing service at the La Courneuve Diplomatic Archives Centre, will be viewable online. Each year, the database will be enriched through campaigns to add further documents.

Last updated on: 9 October 2018