UNESCO’s Memory of the World (MoW) Programme celebrated its 30th anniversary from 27 October – 5 November 2022. This programme seeks to ensure that the documentary heritage of the world is preserved, protected, and accessible – for people now and in the future. This ambition is expressed in the UNESCO 2015 Recommendation on the Preservation of, and Access to, Documentary Heritage including in Digital Form (2015 Recommendation) [PDF], which defines documentary heritage as objects which contain analogue or digital information, such as books, manuscripts, archives and audio-visual content.

To recognise this anniversary, the IFLA Preservation and Conservation Section has released their statement on Documentary Heritage:

Statement on Documentary Heritage from the Preservation and Conservation Section

Russell S. Lynch, Section Chair

4 November 2022

The UNESCO Memory of the World has an exciting theme for its thirtieth anniversary celebration of “Enlisting documentary heritage to promote inclusive, just and peaceful societies.” Documentary heritage is a critical element for libraries and our digital age. Understanding the past gives us a solid footing for the present. Historical documents come from the local, regional, or country level.

The Preservation and Conservation Section focuses on the preservation of and access to the world’s documentary heritage. It provides an international forum for all types of libraries to exchange, develop, and share knowledge and experience.

Understanding one’s heritage strengthens emotional resilience. This especially benefits children and youth.

All communities, no matter the size, have cultural traditions and memories that can inform our understanding of the world today. Documentary heritage, as records of these cultural traditions and memories, help us respect the heritage of others and celebrate our differences. We can welcome the heritage of groups large and small as we seek to preserve their significant documents and artifacts.

The Preservation and Conservation Section within IFLA congratulates the Memory of the World Programme in its accomplishments and objectives.