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Libraries and Archives

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Drawing by Étienne-Jules Marey, Unidentified Limb, undated, © Collège de France

1The Collège de France is comprised of sixteen libraries and an archival service across three sites, Place Marcelin-Berthelot, Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, and Rue d'Ulm.

2Head of the Direction des réseaux et partenariats documentaires (DRDP):

3Anne Chatellier. E-mail:

4Library catalogue:

5Digital Library and online catalogue of the archives:

6The libraries SUDOC (ABES University Documentation System)

General Library

7The General Library has collections related to the Collège de France’s past and present teaching and research activity. It contains documents concerning the present Chairs, the history of the institution, and the 800 professors who have suc­cessively held Collège de France Chairs since the insti­tution was founded in 1530. It also contains reserve collections bequeathed by professors, such as the Marcel Bataillon and the Georges Dumézil libraries, as well as archives which can be consulted in the same building.


Library of Mathematics


Oriental libraries

Byzantine Library

10The Byzantine library, founded jointly in Paris in 1929 by the American scholar Thomas Whittemore and the Boston Byzantine Institute, holds a specialized collection on Byzantine civilization in general and more specifically on early Christian and Byzantine archaeology and art, Byzantine history and litera­ture, the history of the Orthodox Church, and liturgy, art and history of the countries influenced by Byzantine civilization (Slavic countries, Georgia, Armenia, the Near East), as well as on Coptic art and literature. In addition, specialized col­lections in Byzantine epigraphy, numismatics and sigillography are developed within the collection of the Byzantin Institute.


Library of Arab, Turkish and Islamic Studies

12The library of Arab and Islamic Studies contains the col­lections of Louis Massignon, Jean Sauvaget, Henri Laoust, Régis Blachère, Jacques Berque, and Claude Cahen. The books it holds therefore concern all the disciplines of Arab-Islamic civil­ization, from the origins of Islam to the contemporary era. A large proportion of the library’s books is in Arabic.


Egyptology Library

14This library boasts a specialized collection of books on Pharaonic Egypt and Christian Egypt, hieroglyphic, hieratic, demotic and Coptic philology, linguistics and palaeography. It also holds collections of the epigraphy, history and archaeo­logy of Egypt and Nubia, and the portrayal of Pharaonic Egypt from the end of paganism­ to the present day. Finally, it holds the collections of scholarly archives constituted by and kept by Collège de France professors and French and foreign Egyptologists, including collections of photographic archives and videos.


Institute of the Ancient Near East

Library of Assyriology

16This library, founded in 1936 by Charles Fossey, contains a collection specializing in the history of the ancient Near East and specifically in cuneiform, Sumerian and Assyro-Babylonian documentation. It also boasts a large collection concerning Anatolia and Hittite and Hurrite studies. The archaeology of the Near East is also well represented.


Library of West Semitic Studies

18The library of the Institute of Semitic Studies holds a col­lection specializing in Semito-Hamitic (Afro-Asiatic) linguistics, western­ and southern Semitic epigraphy, and the history and archaeology of the Near East, North Africa and Ethiopia. A large part of the collection concerns the study of the Old Testament and the Qumran manuscripts. The Institute of Semitic studies also houses the collections bequeathed by André Dupont-Sommer, Jean Starcky and Marcel Cohen, as well as the scientific archives of the latter two scholars.


Library of Oriental Christianity

20This library comprises books, periodicals and off-prints col­lections concerning the study of New Testament literature and the history of Oriental Christianity. The main subjects covered are Judeo-Christianity, Gnosticism, Syrian-Egyptian monachism, and Manichaeism.


Far East Institute

22Far East Libraries’ collections, consist of personal libraries bequeathed by Collège de France professors, and collections gathered by the Sorbonne’s oriental institutes before their transfer to the Collège de France in 1972, as well as donations, transfers (the collections of the former Centre of Chinese Studies in Peking, brought back to France after 1950), and major purchases since 1973. The Chinese catalogue contains the largest number of titles and includes rare books (shanben, with a published catalogue), the finest European collection of local monographs (difangzhi) and a rich collection of collectanea (congshu, with a published catalogue). The Japanese col­lection also comprises numerous collections on religion, literature and anthropology, as do the Korean and Tibetan collections. The Indian collection is devoted primarily to literature in Sanskrit and Indo-Aryan languages, history and archaeology. In addition, the Institute of Indian Studies library has computerized map and photograph collections covering the whole subcontinent.


Institute of Advanced Chinese Studies:

25Institute of Korean Studies:

27Institute of Indian Studies:

29Institute of Advanced Japanese Studies:
Institute of Tibetan Studies:

Claude Lévi-Strauss Library
(Social Anthropology Laboratory)

31The library, together with the laboratory, was founded in 1960, by Claude Lévi-Strauss. Its collections cover all fields of anthropo­logy as well as related fields (sociology, history, pre-history and archaeology, linguistics, psychology and psycho­analysis, folk traditions and oral literature). It has been enriched over the years by the collections of Robert Hertz, Georges Devereux, Michel de Certeau, Isac Chiva, Ariane Deluz and Jean Pouillon, bringing together books, numerous offprints and archives. The library houses a paper copy of the Human Relations Area Files, a system of research, analysis, classific­ation and filing of ethnographic data.


Library of the Asian Society

33A private institution, the library of the Asian Society is not part of the Far East Institute. It covers all fields dealing with Asia, it is devoted more to history and philology than to contemporary issues. It thus holds a fine collection of periodicals in Western and Asian languages (more than 1,800 titles). In addition, it has benefited from the bequests of entire libraries of consider­able importance, primarily in the fields of Chinese studies (Édouard Chavannes, Henri Maspéro, Paul Demiéville), Tibetan studies (Jacques Bacot) and Indian and Southeast Asian studies.


35Research Institute for the History of Texts


37Greek Section:


39Arab Section:



42The Archives are run by the Direction des réseaux et partenariats documentaires. They consist in the Faculty minutes since 1656, lecture series posters since the seventeenth and the eighteenth­ century, audiovisual and iconographic documents, and professors’ manuscripts, personal papers and scholarly documents. Access to documents is governed by the French Heritage Code. See below “The Launch of Salamandre” p. 82.



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Table des illustrations

Légende Drawing by Étienne-Jules Marey, Unidentified Limb, undated, © Collège de France
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« Libraries and Archives », La lettre du Collège de France [En ligne], 8 | mars 2014, mis en ligne le 12 août 2015, consulté le 23 janvier 2018. URL :

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