Call for speakers: Preserving and providing access to digital heritage at 2nd Inter-regional Conference for the Memory of the World

Call for speakers: Preserving and providing access to digital heritage at 2nd Inter-regional Conference for the Memory of the World

5-8 November, 2019, Republic of Korea: To support the preservation and access to the rich documentary heritage, including digital heritage, held in libraries, archives, museums and private collections from across the Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean, the UNESCO Recommendation Concerning the Preservation of, and Access to, Documentary Heritage Including in Digital Form (2015) is an important standard-setting instrument.

To implement the Recommendation at the national and institutional levels, UNESCO organized a series of consultations in 2017-2018 across the Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean, involving delegates from more than 80 countries. In 2018, the 1st Inter-regional Conference for the Memory of the World was held, bringing together the different regions to discuss the implementation of the Recommendation and to exchange experiences and ideas.

The results of the consultation showed that while a number of important initiatives are taking place in regions relating to analogue documentary heritage, preserving digital heritage is a major challenge, with limited knowledge, expertise and guidelines available on the topic. This also extends to access, with outdated copyright laws, a lack of open access policies, and limited use of free and open-source software being key issues. 

At the global level, UNESCO and international partners are developing a number of important policy guidelines, tools and strategies relating to the preservation of digital documentary heritage. These include the Digital Strategy for Information Sustainability (PERSIST) initiative; UNESCO/PERSIST Guidelines for the Selection of Digital Heritage for Long-Term Preservation; UNESCO Software Heritage Initiative; and the Executive Guide on Digital Preservation developed by the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) in cooperation with UNESCO/PERSIST.

Conference objectives:

In this context, the conference bridges the gap between developments at the global, regional, national and organization levels for digital heritage preservation, and provides clear information to Memory of the World Committees from Asia/Pacific, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean on strategies and initiatives they can use. 

Following the conference, this information will be disseminated to national level stakeholders in government, archives, libraries, museums and the private sector through existing national and regional Memory of the World (MoW) Committee structures.

The meeting will also provide an opportunity for UNESCO MoW National Committees to report back on challenges and opportunities for digital heritage preservation, which is expected to lead to informal developments at the global level.

In addition, the meeting will build on the outcomes of the 1st Inter-regional Conference for the MoW held in Panama in October 2018, to further enhance cooperation between the established regional MoW Committees: Memory of the World Committee for Asia/Pacific (MOWCAP), the African Regional Committee for Memory of the World (ARCMOW), and UNESCO Memory of the World Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean (MOWLAC).

Conference themes:

The conference will be arranged around the five thematic areas of the UNESCO Recommendation: (1) Identification of digital documentary heritage, (2) Preservation of digital documentary heritage, (3) Access to digital documentary heritage, (4) Policy measures for digital documentary heritage, (5) National and international cooperation.

Within this framework, the conference speakers will share current tools, initiatives, guidelines and best practices covering:

Conditions for participation

Experts and delegates from National Memory of the World Committees in the Asia-Pacific are invited to attend as speakers. Travel and accommodation support will be available for selected speakers.

If you are interested in becoming a speaker, please complete the registration form and send it to Ms. Kamonwan Petchot, Communication and Information, UNESCO Bangkok (k.petchot [at] unesco [dot] org) no later than 10 September 2019 (COB, Bangkok time).

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