UNESCO presents handbook for better protection of paper-based documents
UNESCO Office in Tashkent released a new publication entitled “Handbook Policies and Procedures – Principle, Recommendations and Guidance for: Acquisition, Storage, Conservation and Communication”. Presentation of the handbook took place at the Al-Biruni Institute of Oriental Studies under the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Mr. Bakhrom Abduhalimov, Director of the Al-Beruni Institute of Oriental Studies, welcomed all guests at the opening ceremony and expressed gratitude to UNESCO for an invaluable contribution to the conservation and restoration of the Institute’s collection of manuscripts, ongoing in the framework of UNESCO project “Preservation of manuscripts of Al Biruni Institute of Oriental Studies”, funded by Saudi Arabian government. Within the framework of this project the state of the book storage has completely changed, significant restoration works were done. Modern equipment for conservation of manuscripts and maintenance of favorable environment in library and laboratory was purchased and established in the Institute.
The author of the Handbook, international expert on conservation of paper-based documents, Mr. Antonio Mirabile (Italy) introduced the publication to the invited specialists from Tashkent Islamic Institute, National Library of Uzbekistan, Museum of History, Institute of Oriental Studies, media and public. He widely explained basic set of principles and recommendations for the establishment of policies and procedures of library and archive collections with the master plan that every document must be protected at all times from all sort of damage and with the recognition that these collections, as documentary heritage, must be transmitted to future generations. The conclusion of his presentation was followed by vivid discussion with the audience. Dozens of examples were presented to specialists and guests of presentation.
Special guest of presentation, His Excellency Mr. Abdurahman bin Abdullah al-Shaeh, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Uzbekistan, highlighted the importance of this project, especially in the framework of 20 years anniversary of cooperation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Uzbekistan in his welcome speech. “Uzbekistan has very rich cultural heritage which is a base for the sustainable cooperation between our countries and this project is a good verification to it”, said the Ambassador.
“We are also very glad to have an opportunity to enhance paper-conservation capacity of professionals on local level. Three specialists from the Al-Biruni Institute of Oriental Studies were trained by especially invited international experts on book binding, conservation and restoration and had an opportunity to visit King Faysal center in Riyadh(Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) for 6 weeks training on paper conservation”, - noted Mr. Jorge Ivan Espinal, Head of UNESCO Office in Tashkent.
In 2000 the collection of manuscripts of the Al-Biruni Institute of Oriental Studies, under the Academy of Science of the Republic of Uzbekistan, was inscribed in the UNESCO List “The Memory of the World Register”. This unique collection is one of the most important in Central Asia. Collection includes works by the great scholars, poets and thinkers of Central Asia. It contains many original manuscripts and rare copies of major works on history, literature, philosophy, law, astronomy, physics, chemistry, pharmacology, geography, music, mathematics, mineralogy, economy, fine arts, etc. written in Uzbek, Arabic, Farsi, Tajik, Urdu, Pushtu, Tatar, Azeri, Turkish, Turkmen, Uighur and other languages. The Collection is of great significance for the study of the history and culture of the peoples of Central Asia, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and the Arab world, and of the political, diplomatic and cultural relations between them. Many works are invaluable sources for the study of Central Asian history, such as the tenth-century Takhkiki Viloyat' and Bukharo Tarikhi' by Ibn Jaffar Narshani, which describes the foundation of Bukhara, the architecture of the city,
its topography, the surrounding villages, and the prominent scholars and rulers of that time. A number of historical works relate to the Moghul dynasty founded by Babur. Many of the works relate directly to major historical figures of world significance (Ibn Sina, Ulughbeg, Temur, Chingiz Khan, Navoi, Beruni), and several are in the author's own hand. One of the oldest manuscripts (by Ibn Salam) dates to 837 A.D. To date the library numbers over 18,000 manuscripts.
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