Memory of the World Programme

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Logo of the Memory of the World Programme

UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme is an international initiative launched to safeguard the documentary heritage of humanity against collective amnesia, neglect, the ravages of time and climatic conditions, and willful and deliberate destruction. [1] It calls for the preservation of valuable archival holdings, library collections, and private individual compendia all over the world for posterity, the reconstitution of dispersed or displaced documentary heritage, and increased accessibility to, and dissemination of, these items. [1] [2] [3]

Contents

Memory of the World Programme background

The Memory of the World Register is a compendium of documents, manuscripts, oral traditions, audio-visual materials, library, and archival holdings of universal value. [1] Inscription on the Register leads to improved conservation of the documentary heritage by calling upon the program's networks of experts to exchange information and raise resources for the preservation, digitization, and dissemination of the material. [3] The program also uses technology to provide wider accessibility and diffusion of the items inscribed on the Register. [3]

Any organization or individual can nominate a documentary item for inscription on the Register. During its meetings, the IAC examines the full documentation of the item's description, origin, world significance, and contemporary state of conservation. [4] In practice, however, it seems that only two proposals per country are considered in each cycle. [5]

Background and the IAC

In 1992, the program began as a way to preserve and promote documentary heritage, which can be a single document, a collection, a holding or an archival fonds that is deemed to be of such significance as to transcend the boundaries of time and culture. [1] This recorded memory reflects the diversity of languages, people, and cultures. [6] UNESCO, the world agency responsible for the protection of the world's cultural and natural heritage, realized the need to protect such fragile yet important component of cultural heritage. The Memory of the World Programme was established to preserve and digitize humanity's documentary heritage. [7]

People the world over are creating [memories] in forms that are less and less permanent—be it sound recordings, film, videotape, newsprint, photographs, or computer-based documents. It must be said that the output of the present century alone is probably greater than the total output of all previous centuries put together; and ironically and tragically, it is being lost faster than ever before. It is a tragedy indeed, for what is at stake is the recorded memory of mankind.

Dato’ Habibah Zon, Director-General of the National Archives of Malaysia, introduction from
UNESCO MEMORY OF THE WORLD PROGRAMME: The Asia-Pacific Strategy, 17 April 1999 [1]

The program is administered by the International Advisory Committee (IAC), whose 14 members are appointed by the UNESCO Director-General. [1] [3] The IAC is responsible for the formulation of major policies, including the technical, legal and financial framework for the program. Regular meetings were held by the IAC in its interim capacity beginning in 1993 to sustain the momentum gained by the program, culminating in the creation of the Memory of the World Register during its second meeting in 1995, [1] [8] with the inaugural batch of documents being inscribed on the Register in 1997, after the statutes that created the IAC as a standing committee took effect. [9] The IAC also maintains several subsidiary bodies: [10]

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789) was used to disseminate to the political community the first French Constitution. Declaration of Human Rights.jpg
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789) was used to disseminate to the political community the first French Constitution.

Memory of the World IAC meetings

IAC's biennial meetings are used to discuss and inscribe items onto the Register. The meeting takes place every odd year:

IAC SessionYearSiteDateIAC chairpersonNumber of nominations evaluatedNumber of inscriptions to the RegisterReferences
1st1993 Pułtusk, PolandSeptember 12–14 Jean-Pierre Wallot (Canada) [9] nonenone [1]
2nd1995Paris, FranceMay 3–5Jean-Pierre Wallot (Canada) [8] nonenone [1]
3rd1997 Tashkent, Uzbekistan September 29 – October 1Jean-Pierre Wallot (Canada)6938 [1] [8]
Bureau Meeting1998London, United KingdomSeptember 4–5Jean-Pierre Wallot (Canada)nonenone [1]
4th1999 Vienna, AustriaJune 10–12 Bendik Rugaas (Norway)209 [9]
5th2001 Cheongju, South Korea June 27–29Bendik Rugaas (Norway)4221 [12]
6th2003 Gdańsk, PolandAugust 28–30 Ekaterina Genieva (Russian Federation)4123 [3] [13]
7th2005 Lijiang, China June 13–18 Deanna B. Marcum (USA)5329 [6] [14]
8th2007 Pretoria, South AfricaJune 11–15 Alissandra Cummins (Barbados)5338 [7] [15]
9th2009 Bridgetown, Barbados July 27–31Roslyn Russell (Australia)5535 [16] [17]
10th2011 Manchester, United Kingdom May 22–25Roslyn Russell (Australia)8445 [18]
11th2013 Gwangju, South Korea June 18–21 Helena R Asamoah-Hassan (Ghana)8456 [19]
12th2015 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates October 4–6Abdulla El Reyes (United Arab Emirates)8644 [20]
13th2017 Paris, France October 24–27Abdulla El Reyes (United Arab Emirates)13278 [21]

Memory of the World Register

As of December 2018, 381 documentary heritages had been inscribed in the Register, with 274 of these from Europe and North America and 116 from Asia and the Pacific. [22]

RegionNumber of inscriptions to the RegisterNumber of countries/organizations
Memory of the World Register – Africa 24
Memory of the World Register – Arab States 13
Memory of the World Register – Asia and the Pacific 116
Memory of the World Register – Europe and North America 274
Memory of the World Register – Latin America and the Caribbean 93
Memory of the World Register – Other 7
Total429 main + 3 additional523 main [Note 1] + 4 additional

Following the successful establishment of the Register, UNESCO and the Memory of the World Programme have encouraged the creation of national and regional organizations, presumably in part to streamline applications and fund-raising, as well as national and regional registers, which are to focus on documentary heritage of great regional or national importance, but not necessarily of global importance. In the Asia-Pacific region, in 2014–2015, there were 18 member nations of MOWCAP (6 without national committees), while in 2016, there were 16 national MOW committees. [23]

The program is not without controversy. During the 2015 cycle, for example, there was a significant degree of conflict within East Asia, as registry with the MOW Program was becoming viewed as an approval of particular views of contested history, specifically with respect to the Nanjing Massacre and the comfort women. [24]

Jikji Prize

The Jikji is the earliest known book printed with movable metal type in 1377. SelectedTeachingsofBuddhistSagesandSonMasters1377.jpg
The Jikji is the earliest known book printed with movable metal type in 1377.

The Jikji Prize was established in 2004 in cooperation with the South Korean government to further promote the objectives of the Memory of the World Programme, and to commemorate the 2001 inscription of the country's Jikji on the Register. [14] [25] The award, which includes a cash prize of $30,000 from the Korean government, recognizes institutions that have contributed to the preservation and accessibility of documentary heritage. [6]

The prize has been awarded biennially since 2005 during the meeting of the IAC. [6]

Recipients

See also

Footnotes

  1. Some of these were joint submissions.

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The first inscriptions on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register were made in 1997. By creating a compendium of the world’s documentary heritage—manuscripts, oral traditions, audio-visual materials, library and archive holdings—the program aims to tap on its networks of experts to exchange information and raise resources for the preservation, digitization, and dissemination of documentary materials. As of 2013, 193 documentary heritages have been included in the Register, among them recordings of folk music, ancient languages and phonetics, aged remnants of religious and secular manuscripts, collective lifetime works of renowned giants of literature, science and music, copies of landmark motion pictures and short films, and accounts documenting changes in the world’s political, economic and social stage. Of these, 12 properties were nominated by countries from the region of Africa.

The first inscriptions on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register were made in 1997. By creating a compendium of the world’s documentary heritage—manuscripts, oral traditions, audio-visual materials, library and archive holdings—the program aims to tap on its networks of experts to exchange information and raise resources for the preservation, digitization, and dissemination of documentary materials. As of 2013, 193 documentary heritages have been included in the Register, among them recordings of folk music, ancient languages and phonetics, aged remnants of religious and secular manuscripts, collective lifetime works of renowned giants of literature, science and music, copies of landmark motion pictures and short films, and accounts documenting changes in the world’s political, economic and social stage. Of these, thirteen properties were nominated by countries from the region of the Arab States.

The first inscriptions on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register were made in 1997. By creating a compendium of the world’s documentary heritage, including manuscripts, oral traditions, audio-visual materials, library and archive holdings, the program aims to promote the exchange of information among experts and raise resources for the preservation, digitization, and dissemination of documentary materials. As of December 2018, 429 main documentary heritages had been inscribed in the Register, with 116 of these from Asia and the Pacific.

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The first inscriptions on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register were made in 1997. By creating a compendium of the world’s documentary heritage—manuscripts, oral traditions, audio-visual materials, library and archive holdings—the program aims to tap on its networks of experts to exchange information and raise resources for the preservation, digitization, and dissemination of documentary materials. As of 2013, 193 documentary heritages have been included in the Register, among them recordings of folk music, ancient languages and phonetics, aged remnants of religious and secular manuscripts, collective lifetime works of renowned giants of literature, science and music, copies of landmark motion pictures and short films, and accounts documenting changes in the world’s political, economic and social stage. Of these, seven properties were nominated by international organizations.

The first inscriptions on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register were made in 1997. By creating a compendium of the world’s documentary heritage—manuscripts, oral traditions, audio-visual materials, library and archive holdings—the program aims to tap on its networks of experts to exchange information and raise resources for the preservation, digitization, and dissemination of documentary materials. As of 2013, 193 documentary heritages have been included in the Register, among them recordings of folk music, ancient languages and phonetics, aged remnants of religious and secular manuscripts, collective lifetime works of renowned giants of literature, science and music, copies of landmark motion pictures and short films, and accounts documenting changes in the world’s political, economic and social stage. Of these, 33 properties were nominated by countries from the region of Latin America and the Caribbean.

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References

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  18. MotW IAC (2011). "10th Meeting of the International Advisory Committee Memory of the World Programme Manchester, United Kingdom, 22–25 May 2011 Report" (PDF). UNESCO. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
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  20. MotW IAC (2015). "12th Meeting of the International Advisory Committee". UNESCO. Retrieved 2016-04-29.
  21. MotW IAC (2015). "13th Meeting of the International Advisory Committee" (PDF). UNESCO. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  22. "Statistics OF Memory of the World" (PDF). UNESCO. Retrieved 14 November 2020.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  23. Mayumi Yamamoto, "Heritage and Diplomacy: A Cultural Approach to UNESCO's Document Registry Program in East Asia", Annual Journal of Cultural Anthropology, vol. 11 (2016)
  24. Mayumi Yamamoto, "Heritage and Diplomacy: A Cultural Approach to UNESCO's Document Registry Program in East Asia", Annual Journal of Cultural Anthropology, vol. 11 (2016)
  25. UNESCO/Jikji Memory of the World Prize
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  28. "UNESCO / Jikji Memory of the World Prize 2020 awarded to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (Cambodia)".