France Pledges $1.1-Billion to Digitize Archives

France will spend $1.1-billion on digitizing its archives, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced on Monday, in an effort to maintain control over its literary history. But the investment doesn’t mean France is dismissing collaborating with Google, The New York Times reported.

An announcement earlier this year that the French government was working with Google to digitize its history angered the French publishing community and raised questions about entrusting its culture to an American company.

“We won’t let ourselves be stripped of our heritage to the benefit of a big company, no matter how friendly, big, or American it is,” Mr. Sarkozy said, according to The New York Times.

The president of France’s National Library, however, said the announcement didn’t rule out working with Google, adding that the government would have to find private-sector partners to help pay for the project.

A former president of France’s National Library wrote that Google’s library project is culturally biased in a 2005 essay published in a major French newspaper. Later that year, then-President Jacques Chirac asked government officials to plan to make European literary works available online.

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