The BNF is the French National Library.
For years, and especially when Jean-Noël Jeanneney was in charge of the BNF (2002-2007), BNF has refused to discussed with google to scan it’s books.
Jeanneney wrote a book about it : “Google and the myth of Universal knowledge : a view from Europe”.
The argument is that google is a US private company so :
- they will make money with it, wich is against french idea of universal access to books
- they will not scan everything, but they will make choices, and the criteria will be an US angle
At one point of time French people wanted to launch an initiative “against” Google initiative to scan books Gallica.
Today we learn that some discussions are ongoing between Google and the BNF.
The reasons are easy : governments do not give money to do Gallica, and google proposes to do it for free.
This is a very important news, it should make a lot of noise …