In keeping with its principal missions of conservation and transmission, in 2014 the Musée de l’Elysée launched a crucial project for future generations to digitalize its library devoted to photography. Containing 20,000 works, the museum’s library records the history of photography with unreleased editions, rare books and works that have since been lost.

With its digitalization project, the museum hopes to make this unique legacy accessible to the public and to researchers. Using an automatic scanner that can digitalize up to 1,500 pages an hour, the museum eventually aims to offer the first dematerialized library of photography books and in doing so, intends to confirm its place as a flagship for research and digital excellence. 

For this project, the Musée de l’Elysée teamed up with EFPL’s Laboratory of Digital Humanities to develop a navigation platform that will allow for comprehensive research on the texts and images of all the digitalized books.

This digitalization project has been made possible thanks to funding from the Jan Michalski Foundation, the Le Cèdre Foundation and the Coromandel Foundation.

Digital library

Since January 2017, the digital library project has reached a new milestone and is now available online. Using the bêta version of the platform, it is now possible to consult the archive, do text searches within the books, and to leaf through them online. By applying Big Data logic to photography books, the Musée de l’Elysée thus intends to create new prospects for research and accessibility.

The platform is available online www.photobookselysee.ch