Cover

According to an exclusive report on the front page of the business daily La Tribune, "the French National Library (BNF) is negotiating a possible deal with Google for the digitization of part of its collection. The talks mark a significant shift in policy, because in 2005 the BNF was at the vanguard of a European initiative to oppose the Google's plan to create a vast digital archive of printed material." Jean-Noël Jeanneney, the president of the BNF at the time, published an essay "Quand Google défie l'Europe" (Google's challenge to Europe), in which he warned against "the risk of an overwhelming American domination of the worldview of future generations."

The BNF's U-turn is primarily motivated by the heavy costs involved in digitizing its collections. Quoted in the business daily, Denis Bruckmann, the current Deputy General Director and Collections director, takes a more positive view: "If Google can help us to move forward more quickly, why shouldn't we work together?" Twenty-nine of the world's major libraries, including the Bodleian Library in Oxford, have already concluded agreements with Google.