Thomas J. Watson Library

The Libraries of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Filed under: Instruction

French and other European Digital Libraries and Online Catalogs

1. Gallica 2

2. Other Art and humanities digital libraries

  • Europeana (prototype): links to 2 million digital items:

Here is a list of the organisations. They include amongst others the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the British Library in London and the Louvre in Paris, and Gallica.

This website is a prototype. Europeana Version 1.0 is being developed and will launch in 2010 with links to over 6 million digital objects.


  • National Institute for Art history, Paris. About 200 000 prints.

Texts from 16th to 19th century (French or other languages); important collection of pictures and photographs.

  • Bibliotheque virtuelle humaniste (humanities digital library)

About 2000 documents from XVth-XVIIth centuries coming from local older collections. 10 to 20 % are in text mode. Free access.

  • Napoleonica

Unpublished documents, drawings, picture from the french Empires plus links to Gallica.

  • Strasbourg digital library (BNU)

Plans, coins and medals, pictures

  • History of early socialism (XIXth century)

  • Versailles public library

Digitized scores (17th century)

  • Dictionnaire des antiquites grecques et romaines. Digitized (Toulouse university)

3. Databases & E-Journals (free & subscription)
a.    Databases

  • Michael: “Explore the European digital cultural heritage”

Through the multilingual MICHAEL service you can find and explore digital collections from museums, archives, libraries and other cultural institutions from across Europe

  • The BAM Portal

Enables the search in the Collections of the participating Libraries, Archives and Museums in Germany. Some are digitized.


1. Digitized data (texts and images)

  • Collections: the meta-database of culture ministry. 

Browses 3 million records and 2 million images. Databases browsed include works of art, archives, enlightened manuscripts, architecture: , tab “collections”

Includes among other things following databases (for the record):

2. Records and catalogs

  • DAPHNE – Data in Archeology, Prehistory and History on the Net. Powered by French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Humanities House (MSH, Maison des Sciences de l’Homme).

  • FRANTIQ. Antiquity database

A research catalog that browses 32 french antiquity catalogs:

  • Les signets de la BnF

Link database to websites and databases, authentified by BnF librarians, with alphabetic or thematic access, see Arts)

Art bibliographies with links to full text articles online:
b.    E-journals

  • Periodiques electroniques BnF (National French Library)
(electronic serials, some are free)


  • Periodiques electroniques INHA (National Institute for Art History): 600 full text serial.

  • Periodiques electroniques BNU (National College Library of Strasbourg)

Use list of themes for fine arts. Some are free.


Articles out of revues published from 2001. Free access for archives and summaries. Some articles are in full text; some other can be bought by unit or issue. Interesting for the history part: art history articles.

  • Electronic European thesis link database: (links to e-thesis)

  • Persée, portail des revues scientifiques en sciences humaines et sociales

Anyone and everyone may search, browse, and consult the documents dissiminated via the Persée portal, without restrictions, free of charge.

4. Newspapers: Art to be found on INHA site, dailies to be found on Gallica site

  • Gallica

For french digitized press :

  • Le Temps (Journal de Geneve):

First issue on January 6, 1826 / last issue on February 28, 1998. Complete collection represents 550’000 printed pages and 2’000’000 articles. A liberal newspaper, internationally known for its chronicles during WW2.

  • Projekt “Exilpresse digital. Deutsche Exilzeitschriften 1933-1945″

German library of Frankfurt am Main. Immigrate German newspapers from WW2. List available by clicking on “Informationen zur realisierung”

  • Journaux du front (1914-1918 war), National College Library of Strasbourg

5. Medieval manuscripts and varia

  • Ministry of Culture Illuminated manuscripts: free access to more than 80 000 pictures from medieval manuscripts

  • BnF: (Illuminated manuscripts database with digitized pictures)

  • National french museums manuscripts database:

Some are digitized, see “virtual tour”

  • Liber Floridus – Illuminated manuscripts from college libraries

Manuscripts from the Mazarine and Sainte-Geneviève libraries. About 1700 manuscrits and 33000 pictures.

  • The illuminated Middle Ages

Thematic pictural database based upon the 25000 manuscripts of french libraries. Database and thematic access


Lyon digital library: Merovingian and Carolingian manuscripts; illuminated manuscripts; engraving and older books.

  • Troyes (Aube) – Virtual library

More than 5000 pictures, free access.

  • Reims public library: some incunabula and manuscripts.

See “digitized collections”, then pictures or texts.

  • Le Mans public library

Illuminated manuscripts
6. Art Library Catalogs:

  • Art libraries and collections directory

RIHA (International association of Research Institutes in the History of Art), dated 1998, gathers around 20 of the most important research institutes in Europe. Access to the list and online catalogs of these institutions :


  • France: Art libraries and collections directory

Allows to browse French art libraries or art collections of public libraries by city and/or key-word.

  • France: main art Institute catalog (National Institute for Art History)

Web site:


  • France: bibliotheque de l’Ecole du Louvre (About 50 000 volumes concerning every field of art.)[in=/home/louv/isis/]/

  • Bibliothèque Kandinskycentre de documentation et de recherches du MNAM-CCI. Paris (centre Pompidou)

200 000 prints including 80 000 exhibition catalogs, auctions catalogs

  • Mediatheque du Quai Branly

A museum of non-Western arts
Entirely devoted to the arts of Africa, Asia, Oceania and America, a whole range of viewpoints, from the ethnologist’s to the art historian’s. Access to the museum online serial, museum docs, pictures and archives.