One of the highlights of the new Bibliothèque de France will be the Poste de Lecture Assiste par Ordinateur (PLAO)- French for "computer assisted reading station"which will turn a personal computer into a personal library. Due to be installed at the library's 1995 opening with 1 Gbyte of storage, each PLAO workstation will be able to store all documents and images needed by a researcher. Before coming to the library, a researcher would telephone a reservation for the PLAO workstation. At the library, the researcher would go to a catalog access station and request to have his or her "personal library" of documents downloaded to a work station, where the researcher could then work. The personal library would not necessarily be downloaded each time the researcher used it. The information could be left on the workstation for several days to support ongoing work in progress.
Copyright, not technology, is the major issue still to be full resolved. The Library has already dealt with a good number of copyright questions and is working with publishers to address the ones that remain.