L’Harmathèque's platform offers a large volume of content in the form of ebooks, articles, videos, and audio recordings on many subjects in the humanities and social sciences. One notable subject area is Africana.The content of the ebooks comes from a variety of French publishing imprints, including L’Harmattan, Pagala, Odin, and IXE.
Sources for this review include information publicly posted or obtained directly from the publisher, data collected by CRL staff and members, and examination of the digital collection when possible. Other sources are noted where cited.
Center for Research Libraries
Judith Alspach - Project Coordinator, Global Resources Network
Virginia Kerr- Digital Program Manager
L’Harmathèque's platform offers a large volume of content in the form of ebooks, articles, videos, and audio recordings on many subjects in the humanities and social sciences. One notable subject area is Africana. The content of the ebooks comes from a variety of French publishing imprints, including L’Harmattan, Pagala, Odin, and IXE.
Currently the platform contains more than 26,000 ebooks, 17,000 articles, 400 films, and 600 audio files available. At least 2,300 new titles are added to the collection annually (the publishers estimate that around 230 ebook titles are added monthly). This large number of ebooks covers a wide range of subject areas in the humanities and social sciences, novels, and children’s books. Note that one source of content for the publisher L'Harmattan is theses from MA or licentiate and doctoral candidates. An article in the French edition of Wikipedia on the extent of L'Harmattan's publishing efforts notes criticism of their method of claiming revenues from the sale of theses.1
According to the description provided on the website, article content is from journals and book chapters, although no further selection criteria are given (See Appendix A for a journal title list). The videos are primarily documentaries and theatrical productions. The audio collection includes many audiobooks, in a variety of languages.
The interface is in French. In the portals, ebooks are divided by subject into browsable “bouquets”. An advanced search option allows the user to narrow down the large amount of content. Unfortunately, the user cannot search by language of the material.
Ebooks can be read either on the platform’s online reader, or downloaded using Adobe Digital Editions. Articles are read using Adobe. Viewing the videos requires the use of DivX. The audio content is available through Flash.
Strengths and weaknesses
The database has the advantage of having a wide variety of subjects and formats within the areas of the humanities and social sciences, including an impressive number of newly added texts, as well as the children's ebooks, audio books, and videos. It would be nice to have resources in the sciences as well. The periodicals content is not as extensive as the variety in CAIRN, but it does offer periodical titles not in CAIRN (mostly those issued from Harmattan, such as L'Homme et la Société, and Cultures et Conflits.)
Comments from CRL members during trial access included:
- Downloading a book requires installation of Adobe Editions. One advantage is its compatibility with iPads.
- Instructions for printing full document did not work successfully.
- Need a better display of the date of a periodical article.
- Limiting a search to "North America" delivers mostly content from the United States, although there is some content from Francophone Canada and Mexico.
1"Éditions L'Harmattan," Wikipédia, accessed March 5, 2013.
Direct from Publisher
|Subjects covered||Psychology, economics, management, education, fine arts, law, sociology, ethnology, history, geography, linguistics, philosophy, political science, media studies, literature (novels, drama, poetry)|
|Geographic coverage||Europe, Africa, Caribbean, Latin America, Asia, and Indian and Pacific Oceans|
|Chronological coverage||contemporary (from 1975 to present)|
|Content types||journals, monographs, collective works, films, audiobooks|
|Source formats||paper, video and audio recording|
|P||Total titles||26,500 ebooks, 170 journal titles, 430 films, 600 audiobooks|
|P||Total pages||6–7 million|
|P||Digital collection launch date||2010|
|Update frequency||monthly (c. 230 ebooks added monthly)|
|Browser compatibility||IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera|
|Authentication options||IP recognition|
|Archiving solution – master files||NA|
|Archiving solution – derivative files||NA|
|Availability in web discovery tools||Y|
|Open URL target||NA (but ebooks have URL "permalinks")|
|Federated searching, z39.50||NA|
|Local host option||N|
|Full text displayed||Y|
|P||Color images||Y (10%)|
|Search full text||Y|
|Search within results||Y|
|Limit results by dates and/or document types||Y|
|Display highlighted search terms||Y|
|Display snippet -- search term in context||N|
|Download HTML||Y (epub files for 6000 titles)|
|Print full document||Y (only as an extra option)|
|Restrictions on use||Y|
|Publisher / Distributor||L'HARMATTAN|
|Address||5–7 rue de l'Ecole Polytechnique, 75005 Paris, France|
|CRL Profile of Publisher|
|Multiple year payments option||Y|
|List of purchasers available||Y|
|Sample license available||N|
|MARC records purchase fee||N|
|Price tier basis||NA|