01.08.2018 - UNESCO Office in Beirut

Enhanced dissemination and collaborative redocumentation of Syrian photographic archives (1920-1977)

World Heritage site of the Ancient Villages of Northern Syria, Jebel al-A'la, Qalb Lozé, circa 1939 ©UNESCO/Ifpo

The French Institute for the Near East (Ifpo) is today at the service of all the disciplines of the humanities and social sciences covering Antiquity up to the contemporary period. Ifpo promotes an understanding of the Near East in general and the societies and cultures of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Iraq in particular.

In the framework of the Emergency Safeguarding of the Syrian Cultural Heritage project, UNESCO and Ifpo collaborated to redocument and enhance the dissemination of photographic collection about Syria from 1920 to 1977. This initiative is part of a series of activities to safeguard archives concerning the archaeological sites, historic cities and monuments is essential to preserve the institutional memory and provide reference documentation to the teams which will be involved in rehabilitation works after the conflict. The collection is now available in Open Access through the MediHAL Open Archive website: https://medihal.archives-ouvertes.fr/IFPOIMAGES

MediHAL is indexed by all major search engine and give the collection the ability to be disseminated through scholarly communication tools and channels such as specialized search engine and integration in publications. This Open Access dissemination meets the policies and standards of the French Ministry of Higher Education, European Union as well as UNESCO. This initiative is deeply committed to the Open Science international movement through the FAIR principle: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable by the scientific community and the general public.

“From a scientific perspective, the outputs of this collaboration exceeded our expectation,” stated Jean-Christophe Peyssard, Head of Digital Humanities at Ifpo. “community responded with great interest in helping redocumenting and indexing the collection and the general public is engaging with the images through the Ifpo’s social media platforms.”

The “Emergency Safeguarding of the Syrian Cultural Heritage” project is a pioneering initiative funded by the European Union and supported by the Flemish Government and Austria. The main objective of the project is to contribute to restoring social cohesion, stability, and sustainable development through the protection and safeguarding of cultural heritage in view of the on-going and growing destruction and loss of Syria's rich and unique cultural heritage.

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