Ian Coller

French History Resources


La Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF) – access a variety of catalogues

Trésor de la Langue Française (atilf) – the ultimate online in-depth reference on the French language

The ARTFL Project’s Dictionnaires d’Autrefois can search dictionaries over four centuries and gives you the instant history of a word.

Word Reference is a wonderful online translation forum – there’s a basic French-English dictionary, but most useful are the user forums on the correct usage of words and phrases. If you register, you can pose your own question, or contribute a response.

INA (l’Institut National de l’Audiovisuel) is a great way to find videos of historic speeches etc. as well as documentaries and interviews with historians (like this one, about foreigners in the French Resistance)

Primary Sources

Primary Sources in French

GoogleBooks (amazing collection of primary sources, including many in English translation).

Gallica is the online database of the French National Library with thousands of books in image and text mode.

Primary Sources in English

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution


Resources in French

Persée offers free access to back issues of many important printed journals in French, like Annales and L’Homme.

Revues.org offers free access to a number of digital journals, and tables of contents for others.

HAL (Hyper Articles en Ligne) is a collection of very varied documents (you can go directly to the collection in historical studies)

Atelier National de Reproduction des Thèses is the place to find dissertations in French and obtain reproductions.

Resources in English

Western Society for French History – The Proceedings of the Western Society for French History publish selected, peer-reviewed papers from the Society’s annual meeting. These are excellent papers by top international historians of France.

Some discussions about scholarship in the digital age

Working Methods – Renowned historian Keith Thomas reflects in the LRB on changing practices for collecting and storing historical material

Google & the Future of Books – Robert Darnton’s article with a self-explanatory title.

The Bookless Future – David Bell’s reflections on “What the Internet is doing to scholarship.”


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