Since years, the volumes of the ``Séminaire de Géométrie Algébrique'', by Grothendieck and his co-authors, are out of print. Because of the importance of these books, we would like to make them available, electronically and for free, in the form of a LaTeX2e source file. When I asked Dr. Catriona M. Byrne (Senior Editor Mathematics at Spinger-Verlag) about this, she told me:
The various volumes of the ``Seminaire de Geometrie Algebrique'' of Alexandre Grothendieck, published by Springer in the Lecture Notes in Mathematics more than 20 years ago are sold out and no longer available. We were not able to reprint the volumes, because Professor Grothendieck withheld his permission.
Given the time that has elapsed, the copyright for the content of the volumes has reverted to the authors and volume editors involved. Thus, for any projects that you might initiate to make this material available again, you will need to obtain the permission of each author concerned. Springer requests only that you indicate in full the source of the original publication.
Hence, if the authors are not opposed, the project can go ahead. It seems to be impossible to reach the main author, Grothendieck himself, but I (Bas Edixhoven; I do take responsibility for this statement) do not expect him to be against this project.
We note that all of the SGA's (except volume 5) already have been made available in jpeg format (and a derived ps format) by Frank Calegari, Jim Borger, and William Stein, at the following address. That version, obtained by scanning photocopies, is easy to use, but a LaTeX source file would have many advantages: the output (dvi, ps or pdf) is much nicer to read, one may search in it for certain words, it may be transformed into hypertext, it could be used to print a book, at some stage one might take lists of errata into account, etc.
We want to start our project with the first volume, SGA 1. For this volume, the only author other than Grothendieck is Michèle Raynaud, and she has given her permission for the project. This book has about 450 pages. We ask for volunteers to participate in the typesetting. See here for information on how to participate and about what is asked. Note that you do not need to have access to a copy of SGA 1, since you can use the files in jpeg format mentioned above.
Once the tex file is complete, and has been reread and ``debugged'', two versions will be submitted to the arXiv.org e-Print archive (see here for a nicer interface, called ``front end''), so that the texfiles will be available for everybody, and at all (foreseeable) times. The first version should reproduce the original text (but will contain the reported ``bugs'' in the form of comments), the second version will take these bugs into account. Pierre Colmez has the intention to use these files for a reedition in the series "Documents Mathématiques" of the Société Mathématique Française.
For other projects (with a wider scope) on making old mathematical texts available electronically, see NUMDAM.
In order for the status of the tex file to be clear, let us say that the first aim of the project is to produce a tex file that reproduces the contents of the original text (with of course a different layout). In particular, no changes to the text should be made.
I would like to thank Reinie Erné and Rutger Noot for their help in preparing this project. René Schoof gave me the idea to use the internet to distribute the work of typesetting. I thank Pierre Berthelot, Kevin Buzzard, Pierre Colmez, Jean-Claude Raoult, Ottavio Rizzo and William Stein for useful comments on a preliminary version of these web pages.