Congress theme: “Future Libraries: Infinite Possibilities”

Preserving our past for the future

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UNESCO Session

At the UNESCO Open Session

“At present, digital information is being lost because its value is underestimated and also because of the absence of legal and institutional frameworks or because custodians lack knowledge, skills and funding. It is essential that we explore these issues in-depth and obtain solutions to preserve as much digital information as possible.”
–Joie Springer, UNESCO

Martin Berendse, Director of National Archive of The Netherlands and President of the International Council on Archives (ICA) spoke on “Towards a Roadmap for Preservation of Digital Memory of the World” and emphasised the benefits and importance of archiving records. He said it was extremely vital for all to start developing and implanting a global digital roadmap so that even after many years down the road, the information we may need to retrieve for research analysis purposes will be as complete as it can be and easily accessible.

Former IFLA President Ellen Tise spoke next about the action plan for the rehabilitation of cultural heritage of Mali and the safeguarding of ancient manuscripts, highlighting three key objectives:

  • rehabilitate cultural heritage;
  • undertake measures for sustainable protection of manuscripts;
  • provide capacity-building activities with the view to establishing appropriate conditions for the conservation, maintenance, management and safeguarding of cultural heritage and manuscripts.

Ismail Serageldin, director of Egypt’s Bibliotheca Alexandria gave an update on the development and focus of the World Digital Library. The World Digital Library makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in a multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.  “We are concerned about the increasing amount of digital information and we have to preserve such enormous digital information to the best of our ability.”

IFLA Governing Board member Genevieve Clavel closed the session with a discussion of IFLA’s Key Initiative 4. She stressed that ensuring the survival of cultural heritage will guarantee the development of societies and that it is good to be prepared. Therefore IFLA would be creating a simple, comprehensive, cultural heritage Risk Register template.  Following this, a joint, cross-sector, central database will be created to help identify and protect at risk cultural heritage possibly from conflict or natural disaster.