14 million books and publications, 360,000 magazines, 12 million prints, photos and posters, 530,000 coins and medals… but also a million digital documents, virtual exhibitions, on-line conferences, portals…
The French National Library (the Bibliothèque nationale de France or BnF) has committed itself wholeheartedly to digital technologies, and is gradually transforming itself into a flagship digital library. Some of the most recent examples of this include Gallica, a digital library featuring over one million digital documents accessible on line , and now PLATON, the PLAte-forme sécurisée de Transfert des Ouvrages Numériques or Secure Platform for Transferring Digital Works.
PLATON provide digital support for people with disabilities
The PLATON platform is designed to improve access to reading material for people with disabilities. On 2006, the French government passed the DADVSI law (the law on author’s rights and related rights in the information society), which introduced an exception to copyright rules in favor of people with disabilities. Under this law, publishers are obliged to supply the necessary digital files for the creation of works on suitable media. In 2009, the BnF was designated as an official depository for such files: so it’s role now involves organizing the transfer of the file to approved bodies who then transcribe the material into Braille or digital audio productions. This has significantly speeded up the transcription process and means many more works are being adapted for this group of disabled people.
Secure workflow with specially adapted portals…
Bodies involved in adapting material for disabled readers make a request via a special portal, provided as part of PLATON. Once it has been checked and verified, this request is sent on to the publisher, who has two months to transfer the digital file into PLATON’s workflow system. The file is then stored, made secure and then transmitted on to the organization who submitted the initial request.
The PLATON platform manages the entire workflow via three portals:
§ One designed for organizations who adapt material for disabled readers, enabling those body to submit requests and download the resulting files
§ One for publishers, for acknowledging that they have received requests and transferring the relevant files
§ One for the management team at the BnF.
… and a strategic choice to use Open Source and NovaForge®, Bull’s software development platform
Bull provided the whole platform, from the servers and storage subsystems right through to application development. As Serge Pizzio, Mission and Project Co-ordination Manager at the BnF explains: “In a project like PLATON, which involves many different players, it is essential to avoid any kind of ‘tunnel’ effect, so exchanges can happen continuously. Bull suggested using a very interesting, iterative software development methodology based on using the NovaForge software development factory. This ensured that we met the deadlines, which were very tight, because we only effectively had around seven months to complete a huge amount of development work.”
The BnF has made a strategic decision to use Open Source; so Bull used Open Source components for virtually the whole solution.
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