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Audiovisual and electronic archives

Since the early 1980s the Archives Nationales has been implementing an active policy to collect electronic record groups and audiovisual archives from central State administrations, public operators, and private archive holders. This very diverse record group is an essential complement to the other contemporary groups conserved by the Archives Nationales.

Audiovisual archives

The Archives Nationales conserves a set of over 50,000 sound and audiovisual records from many varied sources. An overview of 35 years of acquisitions provides a general overall finding aid for all audiovisual archives (www.siv.archives-nationales.culture.gouv.fr/siv/IR/FRAN_IR_052868).
Certain record groups were produced by ministries or by the President's Office of the French Republic. These include recordings of speeches, press conferences, and official communication campaigns. Others were produced by public services in carrying out their missions (the farming film collection), to illustrate some of their activities, or to document public appearances by ministers and their cabinets.
Another category of sound documents come from a campaign to record oral testimonies, conducted by the Archives Nationales from 1981 to 2004 Most of these interviews are about the role men and women played in the Second World War, but some relate to other themes. The Archives Nationales also holds other oral testimony campaigns of great interest, carried out by public institutions, foundations, associations, historians, or individuals. You can listen online or via the reading room intranet to the archives of the Fondation de la Mémoire de la Déportation (deportation memory foundation), which contains 247 individual accounts about political deportation and internment during the Second World War.
Further information
The Archives Nationales has also received several sets of "audiovisual justice records". This is the name given to sound or audiovisual recordings of certain trials recognised as being of major historic interest (such as the Klaus Barbie trial, the Badinter/Faurisson case, and the AZF case).
The final part of these archives comprises sound recordings and films that have been given or deposited by private individuals (such as the AIDES association and so on).

Electronic archives

Since the 1980s the Archives Nationales has devised and implemented a dedicated policy for conserving the State archives produced in native digital format. An overview of 35 years of acquisitions provides a general overall finding aid for all electronic archives (www.siv.archives-nationales.culture.gouv.fr/siv/IR/FRAN_IR_053803).
Initially this policy focused on gathering information contained in numerous databases (INSEE, INED, Ministry of Agriculture, and Ministry of Equipment). Some of these were among the first databases to be created in France.
Other types of documents have been gradually added to these electronic archives: images and photographs, sound recordings, films, and "office automation" documents produced by ministries.

The Archives Nationales has undertaken a complete overhaul of its IT platform to upgrade record conservation and improve access so as to accompany these changes and continue carrying out its mission. The project is called ADAMANT: Administration Des Archives et de leurs Métadonnées aux Archives Nationales dans le Temps (Administration of the Archives Nationales' Records and their Metadata over Time).

The files in the electronic archives may currently only be consulted by appointment. For databases it is recommended that you start by consulting the documentation about them, to help you understand what they contain and how they are organised. This documentation, often in print form, may be freely consulted, also by appointment.

Contact for further information

« Quand l'archivage devient électronique... ». (When archiving goes digital) ». Proceedings of the conference held in February 2013.
"Quand l'archivage devient électronique... ». Publications des Actes du colloque 2013.The French Archives Nationales and Archives Diplomatiques held a conference about electronic archiving, symbolising the partnership between these institutions. The two study days provided an opportunity to open up new lines of enquiry in archival science, by looking at real-life cases of setting up electronic archiving systems, in both the public sector (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Finance, and the European Union) and the private sector (Orange France Télécom, and La Poste). The two institutions wanted to launch this debate at an international level by inviting colleagues from the Swiss Federal Archives to participate. The purpose of these two study days was to take the time to examine how concepts in archival science have been fundamentally refashioned by the designing and operational deployment of electronic archiving systems, and enquire into the attendant adaptations in archiving methods.
-  Archives nationales
Pdf - 689Ko- 106 pages
- France diplomatie
Further information