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Within the Memory of the World Programme, a number of regional and inter-regional projects with flagship character has been launched for demonstration and promotion purposes. Some of these projects are presented here.

    Memoria de Iberoamerica
    African Postcards
    Photographic collections in Latin America and the Caribbean
    Slave Trade Archives Project
    The archives of the Dutch East Indian Company (VOC)
 

 

  Memoria de Iberoamerica

The national libraries of twelve countries (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Peru, Portugal and Venezuela) are taking part in the project on the nineteenth-century press. It has led to the drawing up of a computerized inventory of some 6,000 newspaper titles and other press organs.

The second phase of the project is to arrange for the conservation of the listed collections and their transfer to microfilm and digital form with a view to exchanges between national libraries, the organization of exhibitions and special publications.

     Links

     Contact : Aziz Abid, UNESCO Communication Division
 

 

  African Postcards

The historic postcards chosen for this project constitute a pictorial treasure and are related to the 16 countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). These postcards are very rare because they are scattered in many countries, mostly in Europe. Only their presentation on a CD-ROM or a Web Site could bring them together, at least partially, under one theme or in an historical and geographical framework. The CD-ROM, prepared in collaboration with the Association Images et Mémoires and ICG-Mémoire Directe, features 3.000 postcards, which represents only a small part of the 50.000 which exist for the same period (1890-1930) and the same countries.

     Links

     Contact : Aziz Abid, UNESCO Communication Division
 

 

  Photographic collections in Latin America and the Caribbean

National Library Venezuela

The huge number of photographic collections scattered around the world led the promoters of this project to limit its scope, in a first stage, to Latin America and the Caribbean and to public collections of the XIXth century held in national archives and libraries.
Through the prints stored in the stocks, often in inadequate preservation conditions, it is the whole life of the nations which resurges with its important moments and the portraits of those who have influenced the course of history.
A CD-ROM containing more than 3.000 prints illustrating the main stages of the history of some ten countries of Latin America and the Caribbean and a presentation on the Web of a representative sample of images (video quality) with comments in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish, will enhance the value of this fragile heritage, in danger of disappearing. It is hoped that this will then help libraries and archives to ensure that preservation of their photographic collections is a priority

     Links

     Contact : Aziz Abid, UNESCO Communication Division
 

 

  Slave Trade Archives Project

UNESCO has launched the Slave Route Project and set up an International Scientific Committee for the Slave Route Project with the mandate to examine the whole question of the slave trade and its impact on the prevailing economic and political situation in a number of countries as a means of promoting intercultural dialogue based on the history of the Atlantic slave trade. This Committee has stressed the importance of archival materials as the basis for the study of the slave trade. The feasibility study of the Slave trade archives project will be carried out in close co-operation with the broad guidelines set out by that body. The study will be carried out within the framework of the ‘Memory of the World’ Programme of UNESCO in close co-operation with the International Council of Archives (ICA).
The feasibility study will identify national archives and related institutions in six African countries (Angola, Benin, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria and Senegal) and in Brazil, Haiti and St. Croix to upgrade their facilities and services in order to ensure adequate preservation of original records; obtain copies in appropriate formats of records held elsewhere; and ensure training of technical staff as a means of improving access to the records and other documents pertaining to the slave trade and slavery held in Africa and elsewhere.
The feasibility study will identify the direct beneficiaries of the project and also all those who will benefit from the project as they will be made more aware of the common bondage of history.
The safeguarding of Africa's imperilled oral traditions will be addressed and specific actions will be recommended in co-operation with competent institutions such as CELHTO in Niamey which maintains important collections of oral recordings and has been recommended as co-ordinator of international research on oral traditions and the slave trade.
The feasibility study will focus on enhancing access to, knowledge and exploitation of, slave trade records, with a view to furthering the study of the origins and the modalities of the slave trade and highlighting the impact and lasting consequences it generated.
Technical specifications will be prepared for an integrated set of databases on:

  • slaving expeditions;
  • wrecks of slaving ships;
  • researchers and institutions studying the slave trade and the African diaspora.

A strategy for access will be outlined, with a view to establishing on-line access through the UNESCO web site and other dedicated sites, and through publication of multimedia CD-ROMs on slave trade, including information on acts of resistance to slavery, etc.

     Links

     Contact : Aziz Abid, UNESCO Communication Division
 

 

  The archives of the Dutch East Indian Company (VOC)

The interest in the archives of the Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie - VOC) has grown steadily in recent years. UNESCO, within the framework of the Memory of the World programme, now co-operates with VOC to make these archives more widely available. Attention focuses particularly on material remains from the period in which the VOC formed the largest commercial enterprise then operating in the world. Considerable interest has also been directed at the historiography of how different cultures interrelated. In many places the VOC's presence is seen increasingly to be a significant aspect of that country's history. The VOC is gradually losing its image as an organisation of pre-colonial domination. The tendency now is to incorporate the company as a seminal influence on the development of the country's identity and its historical self-image.

UNESCO will co-operate within the framework of the Memory of the World in the project of making electronically accessible the VOC archives which represent a unique source of information about the 17th and 18th century history of many countries and cultures of Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. The history of the East India Company is not merely that of a large Dutch business conglomerate symbolized by many architectural monuments such as warehouses, meeting halls or ship wharves. The records of this Company deal with its operations in Asia, and thus shed considerable light on Asian history as well. The aim of the project is safeguarding the extensive material heritage this trading company has left behind in the Netherlands and Asia, and how this mutual heritage can made be accessible and available for further use.

     Links

     Contact : Aziz Abid, UNESCO Communication Division
 

 

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