Bibliothèque nationale de France External
The National Library of France (BnF) is the repository of all French publications including books, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, patents, databases, maps, stamps, prints, drawings and manuscripts. It holds approximately 40 million items spread across several buildings. They offer a system for online reference called SINDBAD which is similar to Ask-A-Librarian. The BnF also maintains an ever growing digital collection, Gallica, which was established in 1997. The National Library of France was originally founded at the Louvre Palace in 1368, and the collections grew to over 300,000 volumes during the French Revolution since private libraries of the privileged aristocrats and clergy were seized. Napoleon took a strong interest in the Library as well and populated it with many of the spoils from his conquests (that were eventually returned).