School audiences

School audiences


In the 19th century, did more people write stories about love or wizards? How many books include the word “cat” in their title? How many young girls had books published, and what did they say? What did people learn for the bac in 1880? If these questions interest you, learn how to decode the secrets of BiblioBase.

What is the BiblioBase

Everything starts with a hat shaped like a mountain. Or rather, with the man who made it famous: Napoleon Bonaparte.

In 1804, a few years after the French Revolution, Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, seized power. Eager to know what was being said about him, the emperor closely examined what was written in books. Some were forbidden, others permitted.

This is not very new. However, starting in 1811, Bonaparte (who wasn’t yet on social media) devised a system to instantly communicate which books were allowed to be read. He assembled a group of specialists to announce every week, in an official journal, which books were permitted to be sold in France. This journal had several names, but for a long time, it was called the Bibliographie de la France. And the small group responsible for publishing it was the bibliographers, whose profession was to skillfully classify the books into their rightful place.

These superheroes of classification proceeded in two steps: first, they announced each week which books were authorized to be published, more or less in disorder; then, at the end of the year, they conscientiously organized all the books that had passed through their hands on a sort of paper shelf, with, for example, the sciences on one side and literature on the other. These shelves are called the “systematic tables” of the Bibliographie de la France.

And what about the BiblioBase? The BiblioBase is a search engine that includes all the books organized in these “tables,” starting with the “literature” shelf. It contains all the books that were allowed to circulate in France in the 19th century, including those that have been lost. Thanks to the BiblioBase, these phantom books are now visible! But the BiblioBase is also a toolbox that allows you to build graphs, timelines, and maps based on the questions you ask. For example, I can ask: how many poems about cats were published in Brittany during this period? Or, are there young girls who, like me, have written novels in my city?

Interested? Then stay tuned for another video to learn how to use it!

The BiblioBase, how does it work?

Work in progress!

Passing the French GCSE? A bit of help on Arthur Rimbaud

 The Cahiers de Douai are part of the French baccalaureate program. Where did Arthur Rimbaud draw his inspiration? Investigate in his notebooks to find out… You will discover the manuscripts, an analysis of the texts, and a key that will lead you to the sources of Rimbaud’s poetry. Happy researching!