Defining and Building a Decision Support System: the Experience of the
Bibliothèque Nationale de France
by SUZANNE JOUGUELET &THIERRY PARDE
The Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) has chosen to adopt a decision support system. This paper presents the
context of this choice and its goals. Secondly, it describes the process, from the needs analysis to the choice of pilot
projects, covering two topics: preservation and human resources.
We define a decision support system as a set of organized data, tools and reports which provide the means to manage
and plan the different activities of an institution.
WHAT IS THE CONTEXT AT THE BNF?
The core activities are well covered by the information system, but the organized delivery of results for acquisitions,
cataloguing, etc. is insufficient. An objective-driven culture is developing, but we lack supporting tools. Our internal
users expect us to have a single source system and our management needs good and organized data to have a better
understanding of the organization now and to plan for the future. Besides that the French state has become more
focused on targets and is asking for performance indicators which means that we are obliged to sign a ‘performance
The objectives, which we are trying to meet, are as follows:
• We want to provide performance indicators to assess compliance with the strategic aims of the library over
alerts, trends, measurement of outcomes;
output performance indicators;
• We need long-term historical analysis. The tool should therefore enable us to analyze the trends before
deciding on appropriate action: e.g. providing complex analysis, forecasts, and simulations.
• We want to allow data and information from different computer applications to be compared, and to have
simplified access to information:
transparent information sharing
speeding up dissemination of information.
Our users have a broad spectrum of expert