Memory of the World

  • UNESCO’s programme Memory of the World aiming at preservation and dissemination of valuable archive holdings and library collections worldwide.
  • Documentary heritage reflects the diversity of languages, peoples and cultures. It is the mirror of the world and its memory. But this memory is fragile. Every day, irreplaceable parts of this memory disappear for ever.
  • UNESCO has launched the Memory of the World Programme to guard against collective amnesia calling upon the preservation of the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world ensuring their wide dissemination.

Programme Objectives; Registred heritage; news archives; Projects; Background; Secretariat; Newsletter;
Activities by region /country: Africa, Arab States, Asia and the Pacific (and also the Memory of the World Committee for Asia/Pacific MOWCAP), Europe and North America, Latin America and the Caribbean;

Objectives: The vision of the Memory of the World Programme is that the world’s documentary heritage belongs to all, should be fully preserved and protected for all and, with due recognition of cultural mores and practicalities, should be permanently accessible to all without hindrance. 

The mission of the Memory of the World Programme is:

  • To facilitate preservation, by the most appropriate techniques, of the world’s documentary heritage. This may be done by direct practical assistance, by the dissemination of advice and information and the encouragement of training, or by linking sponsors with timely and appropriate projects.
  • To assist universal access to documentary heritage. This will include encouragement to make digitized copies and catalogues available on the Internet, as well as the publication and distribution of books, CDs, DVDs, and other products, as widely and equitably as possible. Where access has implication sfor custodians, these are respected. Legislative and other limitations on the accessibility of archives are recognised. Cultural sensitivities, including indigeneous communities’ custodianship of their materials, and their guardianship of access will be honoured. Private property rights are guaranteed in law.
  • To increase awareness worldwide of the existence and significance of documentary heritage. Means include, but are not limited to, developing the Memory of the World registers, the media, and promotional and information publications. Preservation and access, of themselves, not only complement each other – but also raise awareness, as access demand stimulates preservation work. The making of access copies, to relieve pressure on the use of preservation materials, is encouraged.

Link: UNESCO’s sitemap.

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