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.

IFLA Environment, Sustainability and Libraries (ENSULIB) Standing Committee Member and Librarian at the Parliament of Ghana, Amanda Delali Fie, discusses the role of preservation in information transmission in Parliamentary Libraries.

Preservation of parliamentary documents plays a crucial role

The Parliament of Ghana Library is the custodian of various types of documents such as act, bills, agreements, reports, newspapers etc., and is accessible to members of parliament, staff and researchers, who can update themselves with information for plenary and debates.  These documents are collated and bound for preservation.

The documents in the library face different kinds of deterioration; mechanical (continuous handling, photocopying), chemical (high humidity and acids/gases from fumigation), and insect infestation. To mitigate these, the library is digitising the collections to preserve and enhance access for patrons.  The library uses  DSpace, an open-source software, to preserve the memory of Parliament of Ghana. Authentic documents are scanned and uploaded intothe library repository. The software is user-friendly, and information can even be accessed on mobile devices. The same uploaded documents can be accessed by thousands of users concurrently from many locations without any financial burden to users, apart from the cost of data. The process helps reduce the volume of paper that must be used, ultimately reducing the carbon footprint of the library. It also makes information more accessible and secured for future generations.

Currently parliamentary records on proceedings on the floor of the house and other documents, captured daily, are uploaded into the repository. There are over  two thousand articles in the repository and can be accessed at  https://ir.parliament.gh. The library is drafting policies to seek approval to only receive electronic copies in the near future, so to further reduce the carbon footprint and make a shift towards a green library.