27.02.2012 - UNESCO

UNESCO calls for nominations for Memory of the World International Register

Ancient Naxi Dongba Literature Manuscripts, inscribed on Memory of the World Register in 2003 - © Lijiang Prefecture Administration, Yunnan, China

UNESCO is inviting new nomination proposals for inscription on its Memory of the World International Register, a list of library collections and archive holdings of world significance, which was established in 1997 to promote documentary heritage of universal value. Nominations should ideally be submitted through the National Commissions for UNESCO or the Memory of the World National Committees in the countries where they are located. Proposals should be based on the selection criteria listed in the General Guidelines to Safeguard Documentary Heritage, which stipulates that the most important criterion for inscription on the Register is the universal significance of the documentary heritage.

The deadline for the submission of nominations is 31 March 2012 and no late submissions will be accepted. They should be submitted to UNESCO's Memory of the World Secretariat:

  • by email to: j.springer(at)unesco.org;
  • by mail, accompanied by an electronic version on CD-ROM or USB key, addressed to: Joie Springer, Memory of the World Programme, Knowledge Society Division, 1, rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France.

Nominations are posted on the Programme’s website and illustrations, such as photographs or slides (TIFF, GIF, JPEG formats), and sound recordings (real-media) can be included to help describe the proposal. As the images submitted may often be used by the Memory of the World Secretariat in publicity materials, an authorization for their reuse for non-profit purposes should also be included. A copy of this form can be downloaded here

At present, a total of 245 collections submitted by 98 different countries, 3 international organizations and one private foundation are inscribed on the International Register of the Memory of the World Programme. Regional registers have been created for the Memory of the World Committees for Asia/Pacific (MOWCAP) and Latin America/Caribbean (MOWLAC), and an increasing number of countries have now established national registers. Assessment for inscription on the Register is determined by a panel of experts, the Register Sub-committee and the International Advisory Committee (IAC) whose recommendations are forwarded to the Director-General for final decision.

The announcement on the next round of inscription will be made in 2013.

UNESCO launched the Memory of the World Programme to guard against collective amnesia calling upon the preservation of the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world ensuring their wide dissemination. The Programme is intended to protect documentary heritage, and helps networks of experts to exchange information and raise resources for preservation of and access to documentary material.

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