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Like society as a whole, the Bibliothèque nationale de France has, over the last several years, undergone a transformation linked to both the development of digital technology and the emergence of new practices and a new culture.

Libraries are, by nature, familiar with those methodologies. Their missions, their action modes and their vocabulary were already that of digital technology before that technology had become omnipresent. They have always been in the business of organising knowledge and, to that end, using the notion of files, referencing and cataloguing to create close proximity between two artificially distinguished worlds.

However, future changes will be major ones. The change in scale, from the point of view of data and resources as well as the point of view of collaborative perspectives, makes us look beyond standard institutional stakeholders. The change of attitude of the audience, now more volatile and eager to explore, reuse, make and share its own content, leads us to conceive new services.

Faced with a mass of information, the development of digital media and a prospective vision too often based on a marketing approach, libraries must also affirm and cultivate their differences. In a globalised and increasingly collaborative knowledge economy, they must of course innovate, and be absolutely up-to-date with regard to providing the best innovative tools. However, they must also assert their roots in a centuries-old policy of collecting and preserving cultural heritage, hold high their sense of responsibility in data production, and stand for what they are - key stakeholders in producing and disseminating knowledge.

Ten years from now, libraries will be transformed and offer new services and will thus become even more powerful and reassuring in a complex democracy.

Discover more perspectives on the future of digital culture from our ten cultural innovators

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