About L'Argonnaute

La Contemporaine digital library offers online access to an extensive collection of resources covering European history since the beginning of the 20th century. Its name, L’Argonnaute, is a tribute to the First World War trench journals, with which the library started its digitization program some years ago.



Including digital copies of books, pamphlets, serials, leaflets, archives, artworks, photographs, posters, drawings, political cartoons, objects, etc., L’Argonnaute already offers online access to more than 130,000 items from different periods and covering different topics, making it one of the richest digital libraries in the French university library system.


  • First World War : artworks including of artists fighting on the front, trench journals and unit magazines or histories, trench art, photographs of the front-line and of the homefront, propaganda leaflets and posters, soldiers’ letters and albums, archives, etc.


  • International relations (Boer Wars, Russo-Japanese War, Russian Revolution, Spanish Civil War, World War II, international migration, peace movements, human rights, etc.): archives, photographs, serials, etc.


  • Contemporary French politics since 1871 (Paris Commune, Third Republic, Fourth Republic, Fifth Republic, Algerian War and Wars of independence, etc.): archives, posters, photographs, political cartoons, etc.


Searching L'Argonnaute


  • Simple search and advanced search tools
  • Explore by date (timeline) or subject
  • Discover by “guided tours” on particular topics
  • Viewing tools dedicated to the different types of documents (turning-the-pages, full-screen display, zoom, rotation, etc.)


A collaborative digital library


Linked to L’Argonnaute, a blog highlights newly available digital collections and allows anyone to participate by adding comments and observations on the documents.


The images and the texts produced by La contemporaine are published under the terms of  Etalab (French open data) and Creative Commons licenses. They may be freely reused, as long as they are attributed.


Digitised materials may be shared on social networks and exported to other websites.


La contemporaine internal digital portal


Readers of La Contemporaine premises may also browse La Contemporaine internal digital portal, which offers access to digitised materials that cannot yet be published online for copyright reasons (e.g. political cartoons about trials in France in 1944 and 1945, materials about human rights in Latin America, some archives of the CIMADE, contemporary posters design, oral history archive about the Algerian War, etc.).


La Contemporaine library is freely open to anyone who wishes to work on its collections. A La Contemporaine reader’s card is free. Readers may register by presenting a valid ID.