The INSEP image library was set up in 1996 and is still to this day the only structure in France specialised in collecting and recognising the importance of images of sport and physical activity. It holds over 70,000 photographs, representing an exceptional collection drawn from the archives built up by the École de Joinville, the Institut National des Sports, the Institut National des Sports et de l’Éducation Physique and INSEP itself. The library offers a unique narrative on the history of these civilian and military establishments and more widely speaking on the history of sport and physical education in France.
The cinema collection has over 3,000 films, primarily in 16mm format, and 2,500 videos dating back over a century produced at the Ecole de Joinville, upon the request of Georges Demenÿ. This collection includes work from a variety of divisions and ministries in French sport, stretching back from the 1920s to the present-day era. It expands year on year with new material being added from INSEP’s own productions and donations from private individuals or institutions.
The Armadillo database collates INSEP’s photo and film collections. New material is added to the database at regular intervals. The work held within the image library constitutes a unique memory spanning all physical and sports disciplines that bears witness to the progress in terms of technique, technology and training throughout the 20th century.
The image library continues to digitise, index and conserve INSEP’s assets. These efforts involve formatting the extensive quantity of documents held in the library, glass plate photographic negatives and positives in a variety of formats as well as films in a variety of formats.