French Studies Indexes And Resources

by Adam Siegel – April 7, 2020

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The basic principle underlying the organization of any library is the imperative to describe the documents it contains so that they may be located.  All libraries create sets of records which describe the documents in their collections.  Catalogs are sets of records to documents that share a location.  Indexes are sets of records to documents that share some other attribute (generally subject matter). Below are the most comprehensive and significant article indexing (and corpus) databases for international French Studies scholarship.

Adam Siegel

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In this Guide:

The Melvyl catalog allows users to search for documents held by the UC Davis and other UC libraries.  When configured for “Libraries Worldwide,” the catalog allows users to find documents (books, media, reports, etc.) held by libraries throughout North America and Europe.

The online catalog of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

SUDOC Contains some 10 million bibliographic records (books, theses, periodicals, manuscripts, a significant number of high quality images accessible online through links, and other document types). Includes library locations (look for the button “localisation” near the bottom of the results screen).

Use this resource also to locate French language humanities and social sciences theses and dissertations held at member libraries. Coverage begins with 1972. For coverage of US and Canadian dissertations, see Dissertation Abstracts International [DAI/ProQuest] (remote access to DAI limited to UCD users only).

The online catalog of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) .

Der KVK ist eine Meta-Suchmaschine zum Nachweis von mehreren hundert Millionen Büchern, Zeitschriften und anderen Medien in Bibliotheks- und Buchhandelskatalogen weltweit.

The Karlsruhe Virtual Catalog is a meta-search engine for locating hundreds of millions of books, periodicals, and other media in library and book trade catalogues throughout the world.

This database is the combined archive  of two bibliographic indexes, Pascal and Francis. They provide multidisciplinary and multilingual coverage of humanities and social sciences. Source documents include journal articles, books, conference proceedings, dissertations, and reports.  It was produced and is now hosted as an open access resource by the Institut de l’Information Scientifique et Technique of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.

Coverage: 1972-2015

BASE is one of the world’s most voluminous search engines especially for academic open access web resources. BASE is operated by Bielefeld University Library.

Indexes worldwide publications on literature, language, linguistics, folklore, film, television, and theater from 1923 to the present.
Coverage: 1926-present
Tags: Language, Literature
Biographies, bibliographies, and critical analysis of authors from every age and literary discipline. Covers more than 120,000 novelists, poets, essayists, journalists, and other writers. Combines the core Gale Group literary databases: Contemporary Authors, Contemporary Literary Criticism, and Dictionary of Literary Biography. Complements Literature Criticism Online.

One of the world’s most advanced digital library collections, providing online access to millions of books, periodicals, images, videos, maps, sound files, manuscripts, and scores. Searchable in basic or advanced modes, and browsable by publication type. Originally an attempt to provide coverage of the Bibliotheque Nationale’s vast holdings in French literature from the Middle Ages to the present, it now has digital access partnerships with a number of other major library collections substantially increasing its offerings. Includes links to other relevant sites.

A portal of great significance for all French-language scholarship in the human sciences, Persée is a controlled, open access backfile of a wide-ranging selection of key periodicals. Registered users can access advanced functionalities facilitating downloading, printing, annotation and note-taking. Representative journals from Archaeology, Anthropology, the Arts, Economics, Law, and Literature.

Coverage: Goes back to the beginning of each title, and forward to a moving wall determined separately for each title. No current issues.

This growing collection of historical images from France is a collaborative project of several academic and cultural institutions and the French government. The images are carefully selected and fully described.

Tags: France, History

A collection of electronic text versions of works by a number of major French philosophers and novelists (e.g. Descartes, Leibnitz, Pascal, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, Corneille, Racine, Moliere,Balzac, Flaubert, de Maupassant, Rostand, Stendhal, and Zola . 288 electronic text versions of public domain works of 101 authors, and a number of dictionaries.

Of special value to scholars with an interest in French language philosophers, historians, and social theorists. Authors represented include Descartes, Bayle, Diderot, Saint-Simon, Voltaire, Sainte-Beuve, Durkheim, Mauss, and Gaston Bachelard. Includes both French originals and a significant number of French translations of works originally appearing in other languages.Digitized texts are usually downloadable in three file formats (MS Word doc and rtf, and pdf).

Coverage: 17th through 20th centuries
Tags: Social Science



“La Bibliothèque Française,” actually a portal providing entry to five databases, has links to many full text literary works by francophone authors (some simply link to other full-text resources mentioned here), to anonymous works in French, and to translations from and into French. Also provides links to other sources of information in Europe and the USA.

A free service of the Technical University of Munich. At somewhere near 500,000 entries LEO is the online dictionary of choice for users of the above-named languages(substantial one volume hardcopy dictionaries contain between 120,000 and 150,000 entries, so a source like this is comparable to significantly larger multivolume dictionaries). Currently expanding its coverage beyond French and English to include Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, and Polish, making it even more valuable to comparativists.



The “Project for American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language,” better known as ARTFL, offers access to a collection of texts in a web-based digital format, ranging from classic works of French literature to various kinds of non-fiction prose and technical writing. The eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries are about equally represented, with a smaller selection of seventeenth century texts as well as some medieval and Renaissance texts.

Coverage: Medieval Period to 20th Century
Tags: France, Language, Literature, Poetry

Draws on about 2,000 French language texts published since 1789. Enter also from ARTFL links.

Coverage: Begun 1981; ongoing.
Tags: France, Multidisciplinary

Official site of the Academy. Provides information on its role and history in the study and development of the French language and its literatures.

UC Davis Library Catalog

Browse “Library Search”

UC Davis Mabie Law Library Catalog

Melvyl (UC System) Library Catalog

Worldcat [via FirstSearch]  Icon

Karlsruhe Virtual Catalog (European Libraries)

“Library Search”

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