With source code playing an essential role in the way our digital world works, efforts to preserve and give access to it are essential if libraries are to maintain the historical record. A UNESCO conference, organised together with INRIA, will explore the challenges around this, and what can be done.

Much of the progress brought by digital technology is based on code. The lanaguges used to develop software and programmes are far less visible to users than the paper on which books are printed, for example, but are no less indispensible. 

Yet code is not eternal. Unlike books, whcih may only go through new editions every few years, code can be continuously updated. It is also at risk of being lost. When this happens, the programmes and documents created using it risk becoming unreadable, affecting not only the historical record, but also the possibilities to reproduce research. 

A number of libraries are already active in the field of source code and software preservation, but challenges around practices and laws remain. This UNESCO meeting, organised in conjunction with INRIA (the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation), will bring together experts in the field to establish potential priorities for future.

Nicholas Rougier (INRIA) and Grégory Miura (Université Bordeaux-Montagne) will represent libraries at this event.

You can read more about the event on the UNESCO website.