UNESCO organized an international conference The Memory of the World in the Digital age: Digitization and Preservation, in September 2012 in Vancouver, Canada, to explore the key issues affecting the preservation and long-term accessibility of digital documentary heritage. IFLA was represented and actively involved in this conference through the IFLA President, Ingrid Parent, the Programme Director of the Preservation and Conservation programme Christiane Baryla, and the Chair of the Copyright and other Legal Matters (CML) Committee, Victoria Owen.

UNESCO, as a follow up to this conference, has now published the Vancouver Declaration which includes as some of the main recommendations:

  • a cohesive, conceptual and practical digital strategy to address the management and preservation of recorded information in all its forms in the digital environment;
  • digital preservation frameworks and practices for management and preservation;
  • an international legal framework of copyright exceptions and limitations to ensure preservation of and access to cultural heritage in digital format;
  • closer collaboration among international professional associations and other international bodies to develop academic curricula for digitization and digital preservation, and implement training programmes for management and preservation of digital information; multi-stakeholder forum for the discussion of standardization in digitization and digital preservation practices, including the establishment of digital format registries;
  • strategies for open government and open data that address the need to create and maintain trust and reliance in digital government records;
  • cooperation with the private sector for the development of products that facilitate the  long term retention and preservation of information recorded in a digital format.
  • Through this conference, UNESCO has shown its leadership in the area of long-term preservation. The challenge will now be to follow up and ensure continued political and intellectual leadership in this field.

Read the full Vancouver Declaration.

IFLA welcomes the Vancouver Declaration and is looking forward to support UNESCO with achieving the goals outlined for the digitization and preservation of cultural heritage.