Preserving Documentary Heritage

The memory of the peoples of the world is of vital importance in preserving cultural identities, in linking past and present and in shaping the future. The documentary heritage in libraries and archives constitutes a major part of that memory and reflects the diversity of peoples, languages and cultures. But that memory is fragile. UNESCO, therefore, takes actions to help in the preservation of documentary heritage.

The first and most urgent need is to ensure the preservation, by the most appropriate means, of documentary heritage that has world significance. It is also important to make this heritage accessible to as many people as possible, using the most appropriate technology, both inside and outside the countries in which it is located.

Examples include:

  • the digitizing of the sound archives of Samoa’s history and heritage held by the Samoa Broadcasting Corporation. The archive's 2,500 tapes contain recordings of the country’s music and culture as well as political and religious events of more than 40 years of Samoa's history. However, these documents are highly endangered. Cyclones, which are occasionally hitting the islands, have taken their toll and the introduction of digital technologies is rendering the analogue tapes obsolete. Under the project ‘Digitalization of Radio Archives’, that is funded by UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) conducted a 7-days workshop for Samoa Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) from 27 January to 4 February 2005 in Apia aiming at digitizing and preserving its sound archive.
  • Another project funded by the IPDC seeks to facilitate the digitization of the archive at the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation. Actions include provision of advisory services, purchase and installation of equipment and establishment of protocols for the digitization process.

For further information, click here.

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