Bibliotheque National Francais – more bloodsucking

Very angry this morning with the BNF.   They’ve just demanded $30 per page for a copy of two manuscripts. 

People will recall that I ordered reproductions of these two mss from them.  They charged me $400 — a huge, bloodsucking sum, enough to win them the March 2009 Bloodsucker award.  What arrived was some incredibly cheap and nasty scans of a microfilm!!! (I nearly typed “scams” instead of “scans” – maybe I was right first time!)  Worse, the results were actually unusable, because the ends of the lines were blacked out.

Their reaction was to offer me a refund!  They don’t seem to grasp that what scholars need is copies.  As far as they are concerned, they’re just selling products.

I’ve written them a courteous but angry email.  What all this means is that I cannot obtain a reproduction of those mss.   I’m trying to get work done on al-Makin, and simply can’t obtain the manuscripts to do so!

Still, with initiatives like the Virtual Manuscript Room, soon we will all look back at this exhibition of irresponsible greed and shake our heads.


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