Consulting material in the ancient archives

Particular care must be taken when consulting heritage material, and the conservation policy for these items means that they are made available only under certain conditions.

The ancient archives room

The ancient archives room, on the fifth floor of the Part-Dieu library, is dedicated to consulting the BmL’s heritage collections.

In this room, you can find the following:
- Material from before 1921;
- all material, ancient or modern, held in the reserve, including the most rare and valuable collections;
- documents in the jésuite des Fontaines collection, the Chinese archives, and the Chomarat collection

The ancient archives also offer free access to around 9,000 reference documents on the history of books, publishing, and printing. This collection, initially put together by Henri-Jean Martin, comprises works including:
- encyclopaedias and specialist dictionaries;
- printed catalogues from larger libraries;
- specialist bibliographies;
- reference publications on the Chinese archives and the jésuites des Fontaines collection;
- specialist journals on ancient books, manuscripts, and prints.
There are four computers in this room which you can use to access resources online. Simplified Chinese characters can be used on one of these computers.

Conditions for acces

For security reasons, and in order to ensure that documents are preserved in the best possible conditions, access to the ancient archives is limited to users who need to consult these documents for university, professional, or personal research.

► You must register with the reception desk.
The following documents must be provided:

  • proof of identity
  • for students, a reference from your research director
  • for authors preparing a publication, confirmation from the publisher

► Requests to consult these archives are subject to authorisation from the curator in charge of the ancient archives.

Consultation methods

- Material requested, as well as reference publications, may only be consulted in the room.
- Due to the fragile nature of the material, appropriate equipment for consulting it is available in the room to ensure items are handled properly.
- When consulting this material, requested publications can be kept to one side for the following day (apart from material in the Reserve).
- Material which has already been copied in the form of digital files or microfilm will not be given out. This material is replaced by the substitute format.
- If the temperature is in excess of 28° in the consultation room, parchments or documents with parchment bindings, documents with valuable leather bindings, and documents containing paintings will not be provided.

Please note: much of the material in the ancient archives has been reproduced in digital form and can be consulted online.