The Bibliothèques Virtuelles Humanistes (BVH, or Virtual Humanistic Libraries) is a project run since 2002 by a research team founded by Marie-Luce Demonet in the Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance (CESR, or Center for Advanced Renaissance Studies) at the University of Tours, France.
Its goal is to develop a digital library delivering two types of reliable digital representations, facsimile and text, closely linked together. Since 2007, the BVH website has included the Epistemon corpus of digital editions of Renaissance texts in French: the texts are directly transcribed from the original printed or handwritten document, and the critical apparatus is encoded with the XML-TEI standard, adapted to French Renaissance spelling. They constitute open philological editions, freely downloadable and re-usable. Digitization and editing of electronic texts usually follow two distinct workflows. Our main concern is to merge these two workflows, using a single XML schema and to ensure a close correspondence between these two datasets (image-text) incorporating rich metadata.
To continue the long-term project of Renaissance text corpora in the current climate of reduced funding for public research in France, we diversify projects to obtain the necessary funding: the Rabelais website and the "Montaigne at work" project provide accurate digital editions and propose particular modes of reading and navigation through masterpieces of French literature.
The last project, the “Bibliotheques Françoises”, combines a digital edition and a database. The texts of the first bio-bibliographical dictionaries of French authors, the Bibliotheque of La Croix du Maine (Paris, 1584) and that of Du Verdier (Lyon, 1585), are encoded in XML-TEI and the bio-bibliographical recordings extracted from the structured text constitute a specific database. These metadata are aligned with references of online databases like ISTC, USTC or VIAF to form a dynamic web-space of interoperability.