United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
New collections proposed for inscription on the Memory of the World Register

The International Advisory Committee of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme will examine proposals from 27 countries to inscribe 41 library and archive collections on the Memory of the World Register at a three day meeting in the Town Hall of the city of Gdansk, Poland (August 28 to 30).

The documentary collections submitted for inscription this year come from: Austria, Barbados, Brazil, Chile, China, Croatia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Serbia and Montenegro, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, United States of America, Uruguay.

The list highlights a wide range of human activities as it includes, for example, the earliest known Moslem inscription in Arabic (dating from 664 AD, it is carved on a rock south of Qa'a al Muatadil in the northwest of Saudi Arabia); the rich archives of the Republic of Venice from the earliest days of the Republic to the Treaty of Campoformio (1798); Chile’s human rights archives covering the period of military dictatorship (1973 until 1989); the endangered collection of ancient manuscripts of the Naxi people of China, whose ancient culture is known as Dongba; and free, open source, computer software.

The documentary properties proposed for inscription are preserved on very different media. They include rocks carvings, manuscripts, maps, books, musical scores, cinematographic and video footage, radio tapes, and software.

The meeting is organized in cooperation with the Polish National Commission for UNESCO. Its opening ceremony will take place in the Gdansk Shipyards, cradle of Poland’s Solidarity social movement. The “Twenty-One Demands”, which marked the birth of Solidarity in August 1980, are also among the proposed inscriptions for the Register.

The Memory of the World Register at present numbers 68 documentary heritage properties from 33 countries. Established in 1993 to preserve and promote important documentary heritage, the Memory of the World Programme helps networks of specialists exchange information and raise resources for activities such as preservation, digitization and dissemination of documentary material.

The inscriptions are decided by the International Advisory Committee, a body of 14 leading experts appointed by the Director-General of UNESCO. During the meeting the Committee will also discuss UNESCO’s draft Charter and Guidelines on the Preservation of Digital Heritage, a standard-setting instrument to be submitted to the Organization’s Member States for adoption at the forthcoming session General Conference of UNESCO (September 29 - October 17). Members will also consider measures for the restoration of Iraq’s cultural heritage, notably the country’s archives and libraries.

Source Media Advisory No.2003-68
Website 1 (URL) Memory of the World - Website
Editorial Contact: Roni Amelan, Bureau of Public Information - Tel +33 (0)1 45 68 16 50
- Email r.amelan@unesco.org
Publication Date 26 Aug 2003
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