During the 1990-1992 period, the major topic among French map libraries was the emergence of an important movement towards retrospective conversion of card and printed catalogues.
The 'Commission de Documentation du Comité franþais de cartographie', considered by AFNOR, the French standard organization, as the group of experts in charge with map cataloguing, has prepared a new version of the French map cataloguing rules based on ISBD(CM), but more explicit about early maps, aerial photographs and remote sensing. It was published in september 1991.
This group has also prepared a standard dealing with the form and structure of geographic names headings. This text has been homologated on 20 october 1992 and will be published by AFNOR at the beginning of 1993.
The group has at last written a booklet of examples related to the new cataloguing rules and the structure of geographic headings. It will be published by AFNOR at the beginning of 1993.
As many map libraries are going to use computers to manage their collections, the group is now working on the MARC formats.
Pierre-Yves Duchemin wrote a manual explaining how to use the cataloguing rules, how to manage series and collections, the different ways to calculate scales, co-rdinates, how to convert any meridian to the Greenwich prime meridian, how to convert grades to degrees, etc… It was published by Cercle de la Librairie in april 1992.
With several European national libraries the Departement des Cartes et Plans de la Bibliothèque nationale is involved in the EUROCART-project as part of the European Community Action Plan for libraries. For obscure reasons, the project was not accepted in 1992. We intend to present it again. If EUROCART is accepted, it is aimed to publish in 3 years a CD-ROM containing multi-lingual geographic names related to administrative divisions, to foreign forms and to historic forms. The CD-ROM would be afterwards regularly updated. If the project is accepted, the role of France would be the design and building of the database.
With the Ministère de la Culture, a local agency and local authorities, the Dipartement des Cartes et Plans is involved in a convention aiming to convert or re-catalog early maps from the Rigion Centre public libraries in the BN-OPALINE database.
Books, serials, records and videos will leave 'Bibliothèque nationale' to 'Bibliothèhque de France' in a few years. The present 'Bibliothèque nationale' will be called 'Bibliothèhque nationale des arts'. It will gather the special collections (engravings, photographs, medals, manuscripts, printed music, maps, theatre) and other libraries such as the Louvre library, the National Museums library, the Art and Archaeology library, and the Modern Art Library. In the Departement des Cartes et Plans we do not feel clearly the link with the other libraries… Perhaps we should consider portolan maps as manuscripts, printed maps as engravings, aerial photographs as art photographs and remote sensing imagery as modern art? Anyway, this project will bring to us a great amount of money and people, and above all, more space! Larger places to store maps, new reading rooms for computers, CD-ROMs and microform-readers, etc…
Mireille Pastoureau wrote a book entitled Voies Océanes" with the sponsorship of Banque nationale de Paris. It deals with the discovery of the great sea routes from the Middle-Ages to the 17th century. This book, containing many colour photographs of early maps, is a very beautiful album.
Monique Pelletier wrote a book about the Carte de Cassini published by the Ecole nationale des Ponts et Chaussées. In this book, everything may be found about the design and creation of the map, the difficulties of the Cassinis to run the project, etc… An index of the publishing dates has been added after the text.
Due to 1492, Bibliothèque Nationale has published a series of photograph facsimiles of portolan maps including Columbus map, Caverio map, Guirard map, etc…
Pierre-Yves Duchemin, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris