Origin of the project

The Sorbonne University  Library (BSU) manages the institution's documentary collections. In the early 2010s, the library suspended its digitisation of the printed heritage collections, which were accessible until the end of 2020 on the Jubilotheque.

In addition, the BSU also manages part of Sorbonne University's artistic, scientific and technical heritage (Dupuytren pathological anatomy collections, palaeontology and palaeobotany collections, petrology, metallogeny and minerals collections, scientific instruments and educational material, works produced under the 1% artistic scheme, etc.). These collections are currently being inventoried in a database which will be put online soon.

Finally, other collection databases exist at Sorbonne University  (zoology collection, mineral collection, papyrus collection, etc.) but are not all currently available online.

The existence of these numerous databases and interfaces has led to considerations on the structuring of a portal for the enrichment of all heritage collections. The SorbonNum digital library project was launched at the beginning of 2021, and aims to offer the entire Sorbonne University  community, researchers and the general public a tool dedicated to the consultation, enhancement and enrichment of the heritage collections, particularly through collaborative annotation tools. The aim of this tool is therefore to be the single entry point to all these collections.



Scope of SorbonNum

Documentary scope

SorbonNum takes over the contents published in the former Jubilotheque, created in 2006. The contents are mainly focused on science and medicine: Charcot's manuscripts, collections of physics and chemistry, geology, mathematics, and theses from the Paris Faculty of Science. The correspondence of the mathematician Montessus de Ballore is currently being catalogued and will be reintegrated as soon as this retrospective cataloguing project is completed. A selection of works on marine biology, from the Lacaze-Duthiers collection kept at the library of the Oceanological Observatory of Banyuls, has also been integrated into SorbonNum. More than 1800 documents of various types (printed, manuscripts, iconographic documents) are available and can be downloaded.

In addition, the inventory databases of the scientific collections (geological samples, palaeontological specimens, osteological pieces and pieces in fluids, scientific instruments, etc.) will soon be put online on a dedicated tool. Interoperability work is underway to query the content created in these inventory databases directly in SorbonNum.

SorbonNum is linked to other infrastructures on a national(Gallica, ReColNat, Patstec) and international(Europeana) scale. It is complementary to other digital libraries linked to the Sorbonne University Alliance: the digital library of the National Museum of Natural History, the Auzoux collection of INSPE-Paris, Numerislav, the portal of the Institute of Slavic Studies and the portal heritage collections of the Henri Poincaré Institute.


Evolution of the collections

In parallel with the launch of SorbonNum, the Sorbonne University  Library has relaunched its digitisation projects in 2021. A multi-year digitisation plan is currently being defined, and will lead to the regular online publication of content from all BSU libraries (Medicine, Science, Humanities), archives or scientific collections of Sorbonne University

On the other hand, the BSU will be able to support digitisation projects and online projects based on more specific research projects proposed by the community.



Services offered

The documents published on SorbonNum are in the public domain. They are placed under the Etalab open licence (see conditions for re-use of images and content). All documents are freely downloadable. In each record there is a link to request a high-resolution digital reproduction of the document.

Most of the printed documents are converted to text, allowing a search both in the title and the fields of the record, but also in the full text. SorbonNum also offers collaborative annotation (OCR transcription) and virtual exhibition tools.