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GIROPHARES is a collaborative indexing platform that enables everyone to contribute to improving the description of the archival fonds of the Archives nationales de France by describing digitized archival images.

Specific actions

Access the platform, find out about the various collaborative projects, view the digitized archives and index them according to a form previously set up by the archivists. Exchange information on the various projects with a network of volunteer contributors and enthusiasts.

Project created

Type of project : Online

Participation period : No commitment : depending on the contributor’s desired investment.

Level of involvement : Case by case



Sur la page d’un projet, accéder à la visionneuse à partir de laquelle tout contributeur peut réserver un lot d’images
Pour réserver un lot d’images : cliquer sur « contribuer »
Une fois votre lot d’images ouvert, il vous est réservé : laissez-vous guider par le formulaire d’indexation préparé par les archivistes.

Project description


The Archives nationales de France, an establishment of the French Ministry of Culture, is the largest archive center in Europe. As the memory of France, it preserves and communicates to the public the archives of the State since the Middle Ages, those of Parisian notaries and private archives of national interest. 

Collecting, preserving, communicating, promoting understanding and enhancing the value of their archival fonds, and encouraging young people to learn about citizenship : these are the fundamental missions of the National Archives.

In 2017, a website named « Archives nationales participatives » hosted on Hypotheses.org was created to propose initial collaborative transcription, annotation and indexing projects. Internet users wishing to contribute to one of the projects had to contact the National Archives, which would send them batches of images to be indexed, using a form. Several of these projects have now been completed (Natnum, Testaments de Poilus, Ponts et Chaussées and La Communale). In order to simplify participation and centralize the various participative projects of the National Archives, a unique platform named GIROPHARES was opened to the public in 2023, enabling any volunteer to contribute directly on the platform in an open data approach.



The French National Archives hold several billion pages, and several million have been digitized and put online. But how can you find a document quickly if it hasn’t been accurately indexed? This is the ambition of the GIROPHARES collaborative platform: to enable everyone to contribute to improving the description of the collections held by the Archives nationales de France. 

GIROPHARES is a unique tool that enables users to find out about proposed collaborative projects, view the images, and index or transcribe them, according to a form pre-configured by archivists.

Several projects have already been proposed, ranging from the 17th to the early 20th century :

– Born or died at sea: Civil status of the merchant navy from 1872 to 1919

– From the colonies to metropolitan France: Declarations of slaves and free men of color in the 18th century

– Catholic clergymen from 1881 to 1905: Indexing of 80,000 individual records

– Emigrants during the French Revolution: Transcription of around 100,000 individual or family records

– « Vous êtes priés d’assister au convoi et enterrement… » (You are requested to attend the convoy and burial…): Indexing of 8,000 Parisian death notices

– « Dans le secret du Conseil du roi Louis XV » : Transcription of analyses of King’s Council rulings

– In the archives of the Court of cassation : Appeals before the criminal chamber (1871–1910)


For each project, the progress of contributions is indicated, as well as the number of contributors and the level of complexity (beginner, confirmed, expert), enabling a wide range of users to participate.

Volunteers’ indexations are then checked by archivists and published.


How to participate

Join the community and help make the resources of the Archives nationales de France better known and more accessible!

Anyone can contribute, however modestly. You don’t necessarily need to have studied history or be a specialist in a particular field: each archive collection proposed is the subject of a presentation, and a help sheet explains how to index or transcribe the documents, explains the abbreviations encountered or directs you to other online resources.

Create an account on the GIROPHARES platform.

Choose from the projects on offer and reserve the batch of images you wish to transcribe and index.

GIROPHARES has been designed to be accessible to the widest possible audience. Its simple, intuitive interface makes it easy to learn. If you you have any questions or difficulties, video tutorials (creating an account, reserving a batch of images, using the viewer for indexing) and an FAQ are available on the platform. Project managers and the community are also on hand to help.

The platform provides a space for discussion between contributors and with archivists. You can share your finds, ask questions about the meaning of abbreviations, request help in identifying places or reading ancient writings.

Once you’ve completed your mission, the data collected will be added to the archive descriptions freely accessible online at: siv.archives-nationales.culture.gouv.fr.

And, because human exchanges are also important, to celebrate the platform’s first year and get to know contributors better, the Archives nationales will be organizing a community meeting in may 2024.

The participation

Training required

No training is necessar y: everyone is free to sign up and participate in GIROPHARES projects. Tutorials on how to use the tool are available, and each project includes a data entry help sheet listing the instructions and main abbreviations likely to be encountered.

Required equipment

You need a computer, an Internet connection and an e-mail address to create an account.


Zoé Navarrete

Zoé Navarrete

Responsable scientifique de la plateforme GIROPHARES

Archives Nationales

Direction des fonds

Zoé Navarrete