Information and Informatics Division

































UNESCO's Assistance to the National & University Library of Bosnia & Herzegovina 4

Regional Conference on the UNESCO Public Library Manifesto 6

UNAL's 2nd International Meeting of European, Latin American & Caribbean Associated Libraries 7


International Colloquium on Archives concerning the History of Algeria 10

Settling disputed Archival claims 11

International Conference on Archives of Repressive Regimes in the Open Society 13

Project proposal on the Management of the Archives of Formerly Repressive Regimes 15


South East Asia-Pacific Audiovisual Archive Association & UNESCO 1st Joint Training Seminar on Film Pres. 16


Meeting of the National Committee of the "Memory of the World" Programme 17


INFOethics 98 - Ethical, Legal & Societal Challenges of Cyberspace. 2nd International Congress 19

International Forum for a Culture of Peace & Dialogue of Civilizations against a Culture of War & Violence 19

Expert Meeting on Cyberspace Law 20

32nd Session of the UNCITRAL 21

Forum on Internet Content Self-Regulation 22


Mediterranean Virtual Library 24


Eurasia Online '98 - New Market Opportunities for Telematics Products and Services 28


UNESCO International Training Seminar in 1998 29

IDAMS available in French and Spanish 29

1st Regional Meeting of CDS/ISIS and IDAMS Distributors in Africa 30


The 1998 Editions of International Directories of Institutions and Experts Specializing in Informatics 32



National Seminar on Formulation of a Draft National Depository Act for Nepali Publications 33

Training Course of Trainers on ICT Applications in Library & Information Management 34


Initiative for Latin American and the Caribbean Virtual Libraries 36

New Alliance for Archives in Latin America and the Caribbean Region 36

Preservation of XIX Century Latin American Newspapers 36

Latin American Databases CD-ROM 37


Access To Full Text Database of UNESCO Documents 37


New Executive Director for FID 38












By Philippe Quéau

Director of the Information and Informatics Division, UNESCO



Buzz phrases like "global village" or "global information society" are mis-leading. Many people do not benefit from globalization, even though they are directly affected by it. The concept of the "Information society" mainly reflects the situation of "info-haves". "Info-have-nots" cannot benefit from information technologies, which they view as a luxury.

A context of "laissez-faire" and deregulation favours economic global-ization. Cultural, social, political and ethical "globalization" still lag behind. In the absence of a global political power, capable of redistributing global wealth and guaranteeing the global "common good", the global Information Society will not be equally beneficial to all. We need global governance, i.e. a global policy for the "global common good" and a global fiscality to implement it. Why not imagine a global "telecommunications tax", a global "computer" tax, to help redress imbalances in access to information? We need a deep understanding of what the "common good" is in the Information age.

One starting point for reflecting on the "common good" is access to the "public domain". It is of vital importance to strengthen the global public domain of information, be it physical (such as frequency spectrum or geostationary orbits) or cultural and informational (such as masterpieces of the past, governmental information or publicly funded information). If every nation decided to give its own people free digital access to its own memory, then everyone would not only have access to national cultural treasures belonging to the public domain, but also to the cultural heritage of the world. UNESCO’s policy is to promote free and universal access to the global public domain of information.

















The overall reconstruction programme of Bosnia and Herzegovina has produced significant tangible results according to World Bank reports. The encouraging development of the Library’s activities reflects this situation. The Library has increased its staff, accelerated its operations and will shortly be moving to the premises allocated to the Library in the former Tito Barracks which have been partially refurbished under UNESCO and World Bank funding ($260,000). In the first phase, the Library will have at its disposal 750 m2 for stock areas, user areas and office space. The annual library budget for 1998 is expected to be ca. DEM 1,5 Million including staff costs (presently sixty-five staff).

New premises of the Library

In the former Tito Barracks

Stock areas

Shelving system donated by ‘Die Deutsche Bibliothek’

Within the framework of a bilateral aid agreement, the Slovenian Institute for Information Sciences (IZUM, provides its Co-operative Online Bibliographic System and Services (COBISS) to the National and University Library and, in a first phase, to three other libraries in Sarajevo (Municipal Library, Library of the Faculty of Philosophy, Library of the Faculty of Mathematics). The system allows online cataloguing and the creation of an online public access to databases/catalogues with textual and graphics user interfaces. Full access to Internet will be available shortly through the Bosnian Academic Research Network (BARNET). The new premises of the Library are fully cabled for inter-connecting workstations and accessing the Internet.

The following activities are foreseen to be implemented in 1998/99 with interna-tional assistance:



View of the heavily damaged Vijecnica, the former National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Basic preservation works were funded by the Austrian Government



The use of the former building of the National and University Library ("Vijecnica"), which was destroyed in August 1992, has not yet been determined by the national authorities. The symbolic value of the historical building has gene-rated various discussions and proposals, which could be made fruitful for a wide national debate on its future use. So far, plans brought forward by national and international personalities vary considera-bly. They include the use of the building as the National and University Library (as suggested by the Director of National and University Library and the Cantonal Minister of Culture), the Town Hall Mayor of Sarajevo, Museum and Library for rare book collections (Federal Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport), a "Monument of Inter-ethnic Peace in the World" and its use as an open centre for an ambitious inter-ethnic, multi-cultural pro-gramme including colloquia, concerts, exhibitions, etc., which was suggested by various personalities from the international community (Head of the Cooperazione Italiana, Austrian Ambassador, Repre-sentative of the World Bank etc.).

Complete restoration of the Vijecnica is delayed pending the decision of local authorities on its future use and the decision for a precise project. Possibilities should be explored to launch an international call for proposals of a new concept for the use of the library as a symbol for culture, freedom, coexistence and co-operation among people having different traditions and religions. This call for proposals could be linked to an international architectural competition.


Possible future assistance to the Tito Barracks premises of the National and University Library include:

and the National Archives as well as other library and archives institutions in the country. The main line of actions in this project part related to the documentary heritage should be: the assessment of preservation and conservation needs, the provision of preservation laboratories, the training of preservation and conservation experts and the establishment of digi-tization programmes.

The Department of Librarianship of the University of Sarajevo, has established the website of the friends of the National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina with various full text articles and a Bosniaca Bibliography ( The expertise of the students in website development and digitization should further be used for assisting the Library and the National Archives in developing their websites.

+ For more information, please contact Mr Axel Plathe, CII/INF, UNESCO, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France. Tel: (33-1) Fax: (33-1) E-mail:






24 - 27 MARCH 1998

The objective of the meeting was to promote universal access to the information in the public domain through the principles proclaimed by the UNESCO Public Library Manifesto. The public library is even more relevant today than in the past as it is the only institution providing free-of-charge access to all types of information. It is the gateway to the information society, and performs the role of a citizen's information advice bureau.

How can the influence of the Manifesto be assessed? Several participants descri-bed how the Manifesto was instrumental in developing public library services in their countries and the way the statements of principle expressed in the Manifesto are translated into practical implementation. The Pilot Public Library of Medellin established under UNESCO's assistance together with two other pilot libraries (one in New Delhi, India and the other in Enugu in Nigeria) to give practical expression to the principles enunciated in the Manifesto in its version, is still playing a leading role in Colombia and in Latin America for the development of public and school library services. One of the latest publications of the Library is 'Un Siglo de Vida en Medellin', a multimedia CD-ROM featur-ing 1,400 photographs illustrating daily life in Medellin.

The Director of the National Library in Brazil, who is also co-ordinating the public library system, indicated that only 3,000 out of the 5,000 municipalities in Brazil have a municipal library. A campaign is to be launched to promote the UNESCO Public Library Manifesto and stimulate the creation of libraries in the remaining 40% of the municipalities.

Participants highlighted work being carried out in their countries implementing the principles set out in the Manifesto. In Chile, 'La Rincón de la Memoria' is a programme for the preservation and promotion of the collective local memory of the community. One of its features is called 'Puente' (bridge) to strengthen the links between children and the elderly through storytelling. In Costa Rica, the public library network is being consolidated through extensive use of IT and a 'Centro de Conocimiento Infantil' is being created to provide street children with opportunities for access to information and knowledge. In Peru, the public library system is collecting oral tradition and other cultural expression to be recorded and disseminated. In Mexico, the national network of public libraries now includes no less than 5,600 libraries. In Venezuela, regional autonomous library institutes are set up to co-ordinate local and regional library and information work.

The participants found that the Manifesto helped them enormously in promoting public reading and public library services and supported the proposal for the adoption of a UNESCO School Library Manifesto. The IFLA Section of Public Libraries is preparing new revised guidelines and standards for public libraries based on the principles of the UNESCO Manifesto.

+ For more information about the Public Library Manifesto, please contact Mr A. Abid, CII/INF, UNESCO, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France. Tel: (33-1) Fax: (33-1) E-mail:






23 - 27 MAY 1998

The Second International Meeting of European, Latin American and Carib-bean Associated Libraries took place in Cienfuegos, Cuba from 23 to 27 May 1998 with the participation of approximately twenty foreign and sixty Cuban librarians. Special praise should go to the organisers of the seminar who managed to attract high-level support from the Province, especially from the Directorate of the Culture of Cienfuegos, as well as the attention of the media to publicise the event.

The quality of the presentations was very good and there were lively question and answer sessions, which contributed to the exchange and flow of information and the development of new contacts.

Major achievements of the meeting include the decision to establish national co-ordinators in each participating country of the Network in order to facilitate contacts and exchanges among members and to set up a regional committee to co-ordinate activities of the Network and help define regional priorities; formulation of proposals to improve the introduction of new information technologies in libraries; and the development of standards for research tools on the Internet.

The UNESCO Network of Associated Libraries was specifically created to bring together libraries with public-based activities interested in working in association with UNESCO and with each other to:

Membership is open to libraries serving the public, whether young or adult, and willing to further their role as centres of education and culture. In exchange, members are required to make an active contribution to the Network by organising activities in UNESCO 's fields of compe-tence and raising awareness of local, national or international problems.

Meetings such as this can therefore be useful in sensitising government officials and decision-makers to the importance of libraries as providers of information in support of national development. Libraries working together derive many benefits from their collaboration that can be passed on to their users and thereby help to contribute to a more efficient exchange of ideas and information with colleagues in other countries to sustain national, cultural and educational development.

From the presentations of the various speakers, it was clear that the Internet and new technologies are topics, which pre-occupy libraries. Electronic access to information is becoming the modus viven-di of modern civilization. After the industrial revolution of an earlier century, we are now witnessing the "information" revolution, which is inexorably changing the way information is created, interpreted, processed and disseminated. A change of outlook is required and libraries, like individuals, must be prepared to adapt or be bypassed.

Part of this process involves strengthening the role of the public library as a gateway to the information highway to guarantee access to information and to assist national development. UNESCO's strategy consists in building capacities in its Member States by continually improving information infrastructures and content. The development of the information society requires libraries, and UNESCO, to concentrate more on ethical issues such as access to information, confidentiality of access and security of information, among other considerations.

There may be a need to elaborate new national information policies defining the code of ethics and the legal framework regarding access to information, as well as the development of methodologies for a democratic use of information.

Although commercial interests cur-rently drive the market, its potential impact on other facets of civilisation must not be neglected or excluded. UNESCO must therefore ensure access to information in the public domain capable of meeting basic needs and ensuring the availability of sources of information presenting varied viewpoints, including those of minority sections of society, to ensure an equitable

balance in the information available.

Despite the obvious advantages of the information highways, there are other aspects and considerations, which must be examined in detail before national or individual library policies can be formulated.

Nowadays, practically all one's social needs can be satisfied from a computer terminal in the home. Information can be obtained on practically any subject with just a click of a mouse and distant countries can be visited virtually without the "inconvenience" of passports, travel documents and long flights.

These facilities can be particularly beneficial to those suffering from dis-abilities, which hamper mobility, as they are less isolated from the outside world. The facilities also provide for the growth of home-based job possibilities. But if regarded as the ultimate in personal development, they can destroy self-reliance, autonomy and the range of skills used for interpersonal interaction.

While the information highway can induce social transformations, it can aggravate the information divide between countries since those that are techno-logically equipped to maximise the advantages of the information society will be speeding along the information high-way, while others that need to invest in human resources, infrastructure develop-ment will be mere hitchhikers.

All types of libraries have a role to play in this new society as disseminators of knowledge and experience or as lifeguards to rescue surfers drowning in the information ocean. The UNAL Network is in advantageous position since it already links approximately 400 libraries around the world, which share common beliefs. Through local, regional or international networks, they can pool their resources and provide greater access to information resources especially through the develop-ment of twinning agreements, formal or otherwise.

Currently, most information on the Internet is from developed countries. Therefore libraries from different regions, in particular, must seek to ensure a better representation of their national or local information resources on-line. UNESCO seeks to redress this imbalance and its website is a veritable treasure trove for librarians as gradually more of the Organization's documents are being made available online in full-text versions.

The ability to access unlimited sources of information is the great advantage of the information highway but the major challenges facing libraries is to adapt to the information society while catering to the needs of their clientele. Through the UNAL network, public libraries can contribute significantly to solving the problem of limited access in developing countries by sharing information with each other and becoming part of the virtual information node being established by UNESCO. Once information is truly made accessible to all, it will be conducive to sustainable development and through the efforts of librarians, a global information society can be constructed.

+ For more information on UNAL, please contact Mrs Joie Springer, CII/INF, UNESCO, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France. Tel: (33-1) Fax: (33-1) E-mail:










16 – 19 FEBRUARY 1998.

An International Colloquium on Archives concerning the History of Algeria, was organized by the National Archives of Algeria from 16 to 19 February 1998 in Algiers. The meeting was attended by archivists and historians from Algeria and from seventeen other countries (China, Croatia, Egypt, India, Iraq, Lebanon, Lesotho, Mali, Morocco, Poland, Russian Federation, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yugoslavia). The absence of partici-pants from Western European countries, particularly from France, was regretted.

Algerian officials welcomed the large international participation in the Colloquium and underlined the necessity of uninterrupted exchange with the international community in order to demonstrate solidarity with the Algerian people in the present situation.

The Colloquium aimed at fostering the exchange of information on document collections on Algerian history held by archives abroad. Algerian historians expressed their urgent need to strengthen the study of historical sources in order to demonstrate at the country’s history as an essential element confirming national identity. It was suggested that other countries organize similar meetings with historians and archivists in order to identify unknown sources of the history of nations.

Underlying the debate was the Algerian claim for the restitution of archival documents removed to France in 1961/62. The material involved concerns documents from the 15th century up to 1962 (approximately 20,000 linear meters). Negotiations to settle this claim have taken place in the past and partial transfers of originals and copies have been made.

UNESCO has been requested to intervene in order to solve this particular conflicting archival claim. It was pointed out that UNESCO has established a number of general principles for settling archival claims which are mutatis mutandis applicable to all cases (concept of archival integrity, principle of provenance, principle of functional pertinence, concept of joint heritage, right to historical continuity). However, despite various UNESCO recommendations on the subject, the international community has not succeeded in establishing an instrument dealing with the settling of disputed archival claims and the possible restitution of archives. The Vienna Convention on Succession of States in Respect to State Property, Archives and Debts (1983) was an attempt to achieve this goal, but was not ratified by a sufficient number of State parties, and consequently, never came into force. Therefore the only options for Member States to solve problems relating to archival claims are through bilateral or multilateral negotiations and agreements taking account of the above principles.

An international survey on disputed archival claims was commissioned by UNESCO in 1997 and will shortly be published. This study underlines that international action in this area is frequently regarded with distrust and considered as an interference in national sovereignty. The study further observes that a clear preference is given to bilateral negotiations in order to achieve mutually acceptable solutions. An extract from the study is provided below:




Despite UN, UNESCO and ICA resolutions and recommendations on the subject, there has been no agreement on guidelines for dealing with disputed archival claims and the potential restitution of the archives. Neither the issue of restitution nor of state succession with relation to archives has been brought under normative acts in international law, perhaps due to the lack of interest by the states involved and the fear of the effect upon rights of sovereignty. Therefore, a signi-ficant number believe that the settlement of claims should be left exclusively to bilateral and, in some cases, multilateral agreements between states. This approach must be taken into account when dealing with problems for the restitution of archives and documents.

Given the potential multitude of claims, of different types and origins, only a pragmatic approach, based on acceptable professional and legal principles, offers a reasonable chance of success. The objective should be to resume as quickly as possible the traditional practice of dealing with disputed archival claims by means of negotiations between the interested parties. However, international consultation would appear to be essential to secure the agreement of states to the objective of settling the claims, to establish a typology of cases, to devise an adequate conceptual framework and to develop principles to be observed during the negotiation of bi-lateral agreements.

ICA was commissioned to carry out an analysis of existing international archival claims based upon the answers to a worldwide survey of eighty-three countries. Of the eighty-three archive administrations approached, forty-five did not respond at all; six national archives did not wish to participate, and did not give any reasons. Others did not think participation to be opportune for the moment; and one preferred bilateral contacts and the archive administrations of five countries reported no disputed archival claims.

The twenty-four administrations, which responded positively to the first question-naire, received a second detailed questionnaire. Responses have been received from all but six of the countries. One withdrew from the enquiry at this stage, declaring itself unable to take part, but without, however, offering any further explanation. The final seventeen detailed responses vary greatly in form and comprehensiveness, ranging from simple lists to elaborate dossiers as in the cases of Algeria, Germany and Poland. A number of inconsistencies were also noted between the answers to the first and second questionnaire as well as simple errors or other points which would need further clarification. Given the rather feeble reaction to the questionnaire the question arises as to whether an analysis based upon 17/24 responses may be regarded as representative at all. For whole regions we are left in the dark as to whether the lack of responses was due to political reasons, a lack of interest or a lack of disputed archival claims. Latin America, franco-phone Africa south of the Sahara and the Pacific region are black holes while for the rest of Africa and Asia there are only a few examples (five for Africa, four for Asia). Thus, it would appear to reduce the impact of decolonization and make the problem a mainly European one. On the other hand, we know from the results of other enquiries carried out recently that, for example, in the Pacific region archives were removed by occupying forces and that the problem of archival restitution between Europe and Asia is even larger than indicated by the answers given.

The responses to the questionnaire reveal more or less what was to be expected and did not contain any great surprises. They lent, however, colour to the already

existing picture and supplied further details, which are sometimes quite significant. The major disputed archival claims have been known for many years and are relatively well documented. The disputes between Algeria and France, India and the United Kingdom or Austria and the ex-Yugoslavia are all more than fifty years old, demonstrating the enduring nature of such issues. The issue has, reached a new dimension during the last number of years with the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia and with the claims for the restitution of archives seized during or shortly after World War II which are now held in Russian repositories. It may be noted in this context that questions of state succession with respect to archives due to the break-up of the Soviet Union do not appear at all in the present survey, although we do know from other sources that such issues exist and are of major importance.

Archival claims are still mainly claims for originals and the possibility of their solution with the help of microfilms seems only to be of limited value. This is above all true for restitution cases. On the other hand it is noticeable that many Asian and African countries are prepared to content themselves with microfilm copies if these are extended beyond the legal claim to all the holdings relating to their history. A solution through the concept of joint heritage is still favoured only by a minority; but it seems to be an increasing minority, which leaves some hope for the future. Recent developments seem to indicate that this concept has been adopted for some of the claims, at least, between the successor states of former Yugoslavia. Although it would not make sense to reopen such historic cases as the Thirty Years War, archival claims may still extend far back: for Poland, the consequences of the partitions between 1772 and 1795 are still the bedrocks of her claims. However, most claims do not go farther back than our century and here, as has been shown by the

statistical analysis, the effects of World War II and of the process of decolonisation certainly prevail.

For the solution of disputed archival claims the international community has developed a number of both legal and archival guiding principles. They are, however, not known widely enough and therefore, the dissemination of relevant information and the raising of awareness remain tasks, which call for further action. One must not forget, either, that the issue is not only a professional one: it is a problem involving political interest and national pride. Where political will is lacking, a solution of disputed archival claims will not be possible. It is also for this reason that international action is very often eyed with some distrust and seen as interference in national sovereignty. Therefore, the discernible preference is for relying exclusively on bilateral negotiations in order to achieve mutually acceptable settlements. But even when all political obstacles have been removed, one must be aware of the fact that negotiations on archival claims are very time-consuming and that quick results cannot be expected. That solutions are possible, however, has been shown by the success of the concept of joint heritage practised between Austria and Hungary after World War 1, by the success of negotiations between Indonesia and the Netherlands more than twenty years ago, and by the common solution reached by Portugal with Brazil and with its former territories in Africa. Just recently, an example was set by the transfer of archives from South Africa to Namibia, which was completely consonant both with archival principles as recommended by UNESCO and ICA and with political interests.

It should be the general rule that in cases of disputed archival claims a special legal instrument be drawn up, approved by the competent authorities of the states concerned, listing specifically and as precisely as possible the archives or parts of them which shall pass from one state to another. To determine which categories of archives or records should be transferred, it will be necessary to have a set of approved, clear and uncontroversial criteria, worked out from the very beginning in Cupertino with experts in international law and archives. The organisational framework, will therefore consist of one or several bodies of experts of all the parties concerned, who will be responsible for drawing up a list of all disputed archival holdings and for negotiating an agreement. In particular, the creation of an international committee similar to that of UNESCO, for the restitution of cultural property, including the restitution of displaced archive might be useful.





4 - 5 JUNE 1998

At the invitation of the Soros Foundation, UNESCO participated in the Conference on "Archives of Repressive Regimes in the Open Society" which was organized by the Soros Foundation from 4 to 5 June 1998 in Riga, Latvia. In attendance at the Conference were archivists, historians and human right specialists from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The discussions of the conference were mainly based on the study "Archives of security services of former repressive regimes" which was prepared by the International Council on Archives on behalf of UNESCO. This text was presented by its author, Antonio Gonzalez Quintana, Spain.

The conference was organized around the following three discussion topics: "Analysis and assessment of the situation in the Baltic States in relation to the archives of former repressive regimes in the context of the recent UNESCO recommendations"; "Utilization of archives of repression from the human rights point of view"; and "Necessity of a special Code of Ethics for the handling of archives of repression". The lively discussions showed the relevance and timeliness of the UNESCO report. It was repeatedly underlined that the report is not only an important technical tool, but also crucial for creating awareness, on a governmental level, on the urgency of adequate management of archives of repression.

In all four participating countries, legal provisions have been made to guarantee free access by all citizens to the archives of the state security services of the former communist regime. However, in some cases (e.g. Latvia) these provisions are considered to be insufficient. For example, poor staffing of archives does not allow the preparation of finding aids and the handling of the records. Consequently, the access right of citizens cannot be implemented.

There was strong emphasis on the fact that the management of archives of repression must remain independent from political influence. The representative of the Lithuanian Civil Rights Association, stated, that this basic pre-requisite was not ensured in his country where key persons in archival management were replaced after the last change in government. Lithuanian archi-vists participating in the conference ensured, however, that access to the records of the former state security organs is being granted to all.

The discussions highlighted that in the Baltic States the management of records of former state security services are intimately linked to the problem of archival claims against the Russian Federation as successor state of the former USSR. Major parts of the former KGB archives have been moved to the Russian territory during the withdrawal of the Russian administration making them inaccessible. The help of UNESCO was requested to settle these claims. It was pointed out that UNESCO has established a number of general principles for settling archival claims. (See preceding article)

The success of the Riga Conference illustrates that it is of primary importance to foster discussions of archival conservation standards, usage and their application in concrete political environments, particu-larly in countries of the former USSR. The scope of the debate on the management of these archives must be widened in order to include a variety of expert participants including historians, lawyers, and human rights experts. Such discussions and conferences are essential to helping the successor states use the documents to procure the future safety of human rights in their countries as well as reconstruction of national identity to ensure social stability. A project proposal for submission to potential donors has been developed.






  1. Issues to be addressed
  2. The majority of successor states of formerly repressive regimes are ready to guarantee the liberties and responsibilities conferred upon by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. One of the means to achieving this goal includes the adequate management of the state security archives from formerly repressive regimes. These records once used as tools of persecution must be converted into tools of liberation, helping to create new ethical and legal structures, as well as establishing new social and political relationships. The way young democracies administer and make use of these archives symbolizes, and proves their desire and capacity to be truly democratic.

    A UNESCO expert group has developed safety standard controls for preservation of and access to records of former repressive regimes, as well as guidelines for their appraisal and disposal. These provisions have been made to aid citizens in utilizing the documents for the rehabilitation of their rights, which were mutilated by the repressive institutions of non-democratic regimes.

    Fostering discussions of archival conservation standards, usage and their application in concrete political environments, particularly in countries of the former USSR, is of primary importance. In addition, the scope of the debate on the management of these archives must be widened in order to include a variety of expert participants including historians, lawyers, and human rights experts. Such discussions and conferences are essential to helping the successor states use the documents to procure the future safety of human rights in their countries as well as reconstruction of national identity to ensure social stability.

  3. Project objectives in the immediate and longer term

  • Assisting in the application of international standards to ensure the safeguarding and accessibility of records of formerly repressive regimes in new democracies
  • Using the records as tools to assist citizens in rehabilitating their rights and properties
  • Guiding the debate on human rights issues in connection with the handling of archives of formerly repressive regimes
  • Contributing to the establishment of societies based on respect of human rights and emphasizing of social stability

  1. Project implementation strategy

  • In close co-operation with the International Council on Archives UNESCO led a study on the management of security archives of former repressive regimes. The results of this study suggested that the main strategy of a project of this nature should be to provide a framework for the discussion of the issues raised by the documents. Vehicles used to open discussions will be the organization of national colloquia, exhibitions, and other such gatherings.
  • Helping experts to ensure safeguarding and accessibility of the documents according to international established standards through training (organization of workshops and fellowships) and the usage of technology for more advanced access tools (computerized finding aids, catalogues, etc.) are also among the primary goals.

  1. Innovative nature of the project

The proposed project combines the technical aspect of the management of highly sensitive information with the promotion of human rights issues. This is especially crucial since in these countries a large portion of the population was subject to flagrant violations of their rights and dignity. In addition, the project seeks to link several other international projects in the area of access to and promotion of public access to information (ICA, Council of Europe), to the discussion of human rights issues.

Potential partners

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe, International Council on Archives, Soros Foundation, National Truth Commissions, National Archives in the Region

Contribution sought

$450,000 Seed money ($25,000) provided by UNESCO




+ For more information about Archives activities, please contact Mr Axel Plathe, CII/INF, UNESCO, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France. Tel: (33-1) Fax: (33-1) E-mail:









12 - 23 OCTOBER 1998

A two-week advanced training seminar on the treatment of vinegar syndrome and mould affected films will be held from October 12 to 23, 1998 at the Vietnam Film Institute in Hanoi, Vietnam. This practical hands-on training seminar is a course on the methods and techniques that can be applied to various film deterioration problems, particularly vinegar syndrome and mould which are the major preservation concerns in the Asia-Pacific region and is the first joint project to be undertaken by the South East Asia-Pacific Audio Visual Archive Association (SEAPAVAA) and UNESCO.

SEAPAVAA is an association of audio-visual archive institutions and individuals whose primary aim is to provide a forum for addressing common issues and concerns related to the collection, preservation of, and provision of access to the audio-visual heritage of the region. The association was officially established in February 1996 in Manila, Philippines and, to date consists of twenty-four full institutional members, five associate institutional members and twenty-one associate individual members from the Asia-Pacific region.

The advanced training seminar in Hanoi, which will bring together about twenty preservation officers from the Asia-Pacific region, aims to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To provide participants with standard and appropriate treatments for film deterioration as well as theoretical understanding and practical experience in the treatment techniques.
  2. To identify equipment and chemicals, suppliers and possible modifications of existing equipment and facilities for film treatment and restoration applica-tions.
  3. To develop a core group of regional officers equipped with skills and technical knowledge in the various treatments of films and specialising in film preservation techniques appro-priate for the region.
  4. To promote professional development and Cupertino in the region and to serve as a forum to facilitate exchange of information on the practices and concerns in film archiving.

Resource persons for this training seminar will come from the Vietnam Film Institute, the Philippine Information Agency and the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, all SEAPAVAA member institutions which have been carrying out a number of research and treatments addressing the problems of film restoration and preservation. The course will include an overview of archiving in the region, lectures and discussions, open forum and practical hands-on workshops.

Due to the advanced nature of the seminar and to ensure maximum benefit from the course, participants will have to satisfy a number of criteria such as an extensive experience in the field of film preservation, carry out reading assignments as required and have the ability to echo learnings to colleagues in the institution or country represented.

For more information about this training seminar, please contact the SEAPAVAA Secretariat through: Ms. Belina Sb. Capul, Secretary-General SEAPAVAA, c/o Motion Picture Division, Philippine Information Agency, Visayas Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines. Tel. No: (632) 920-7705 / 921-7941 loc. 4112; Fax No: (632) 920-4395; Email: or to the SEAPAVAA Training Committee through: Mr. Teoh Yan Sing, Chair, SEAPAVAA Training Committee, c/o Tun Abdul Razak Broadcasting Institut Peti Surate 1199, Jalan Pantai Baru, 59700 Kuala Lumpur. Tel. No: (603) 282-1752; Fax No: (603) 282-4796; E-mail: /

+ For more information on Audiovisual archives, please contact Mrs Joie Springer, CII/INF, UNESCO, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France. Tel: (33-1) Fax: (33-1) E-mail:






29 MAY 1998

The meeting of the National Committee of the ‘Memory of the World’ Programme was held on 29 May 1998 in the Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw. The meeting, chaired by the Director-General of the National Archives of Poland and President of the Committee, was attended by the fourteen members of the Committee and by the Secretary-General of the National Commission for UNESCO and his Deputy.

The meeting was devoted to a discussion about the nominations prepared by members of the National Committee for inclusion in the ‘Memory of the World’ Register. About hundred institutions, historians, archivists and librarians have been involved in the discussion. The nominations prepared represent different facets of the rich Polish documentary heritage and could be considered as the nucleus for a national Register. Illustration materials provided by the different Polish institutions have already been digitized and the corresponding texts and images will appear under the section 'Nominations' of the ‘Memory of the World’ web site.

Selection criteria and the work involved in submitting nominations for the ‘Memory of the World’ Register were discussed in detail. The International Advisory Com-mittee reached an agreement to submit eight nominations for consideration. These include:

It was also agreed that the remaining nominations will not be submitted to the International Advisory Committee, but will be considered as the first elements for the setting up of the National Register and perhaps as components of a possible regional Register for Central Europe.

Two important projects were discussed: the Reconstitution of Polish Archival Memory Project and the Common Archival Heritage Project. The first initiative would lead to the reconstitution of Polish archival heritage dispersed in several countries whether in microfilm or digital form. The latter project is a co-operative regional scheme that would involve not only Central and Eastern European countries but also Israel, Italy and Turkey as they have considerable archival holdings pertaining the Central and Eastern Europe. A first international conference on archives of the States of Central and Eastern Europe which took place in Galowice, Poland in October 1997, discussed the concept of common archival heritage as proposed by UNESCO. From the proceedings of the Conference, it appears that participants agreed to co-operate in exchanging information about their respective holdings, copies whether analog or digital, and whenever possible original documents. The proceedings make in many instances specific references to UNESCO and its ‘Memory of the World’ Programme and the Polish National Committee hopes that this project would be carried out under the auspices of UNESCO and the Council of Europe.

+ For more information about the Memory of the World, please contact Mr A. Abid, CII/INF, UNESCO, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France. Tel: (33-1) Fax: (33-1) E-mail:





















INFOethics '98




1 - 3 OCTOBER 1998

The human and social implications of communication and information techno-logies are immense, far-reaching and hard to predict. Globalisation and convergence in the emerging information society raise complex ethical, legal and societal issues. There are difficult questions to answer about freedom of expression, access to information, and the right to privacy, intellectual property rights and cultural and linguistic diversity.

By its Constitution, UNESCO is called upon to promote "the free flow of ideas by word and image", and the Organization will seek in every way the challenge to champion equality, social justice, multi-culturalism and multilingualism in the globalisation process. UNESCO will pro-vide a Forum to the international commu-nity in its search for a concept of "the highest common good" in an Information Society for all.

INFOethics '98 is a part of this process to raise awareness about the opportunities and challenges of the Information Society for citizens all over the world.

Participants from all regions of the world are invited to INFOethics '98 where politicians, researchers, philosophers, experts from telecommunications, com-puter sciences, mass media, audio-visual productions, education, culture and international law, information and social sciences will discuss the cultural, social and educational dimensions of the "Global Information Society".

The following are the three major themes on the programme:

+ For further information on the Congress, please contact Mr Victor Montviloff, CII/INF, UNESCO, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France. Tel: (33-1) Fax: (33-1) E-mail:





15 - 19 MAY 1998

The International Forum was held in Kishinev from 15 to 19 May 1998 on the initiative of the Moldova intellectuals and scholars. The President of the Republic of Moldova, Mr Petru Lucinshi, the Director-General of UNESCO and the Mayor of Kishinev participated in the opening of the Forum along with some one hundred and fifty participants. Approximately thirty countries were represented, but the majority were from Moldova and Russia. The objective of the Forum was to strengthen intellectual solidarity to pro-mote a culture of peace and tolerance as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Division of Information and Informatics participated in two Round Tables (one involving youth leaders at the University of Education and the other, a meeting on the role of figures of culture and mass media) and the closing ceremony of the Forum, contributing comments on the increasingly important role of the media and new information technologies, including the Internet, in the promotion of the culture of peace and on the risks the media present if they under-react or over-react to content of information they convey to the public at large.

The debate showed two trends in the opinions expressed; some felt the discus-sion was futile, others, giving examples from history (cannibalism, nuclear conflicts), were supporting the imperative character of resistance to violence and intolerance. It was admitted that the new open world, dominated by the globaliza-tion of technologies and economy, stresses the necessity to speed up the formulation of ethical, cultural and moral values. If the latter continues to lag behind, as it is today, we will not be able to live together. Special mention was made of the mass media in helping to stop violence instead of, as it is happening now, to spread it, as they become too often the new arms of violence. The society was also accused of banalizing violence, particularly through films and toys, of which the Internet is a particularly important ‘contributor’.

The necessity of having a new code of conduct for journalists (similar to the Hippocratic Oath) was felt to be necessary, possibly a Charter of Human Responsi-bility should complete the Charter of Human Rights. The increased value of education was emphasized; a suggestion to build a monument to the creators of human history rather than to war heroes) was made. An emergency aid to devastated cultures was evoked. The debate con-cluded with the certainty that the world will not change unless we try together - we should think local but aim global.

At the closing ceremony, the Kishinev Declaration "For a Culture of Peace and Dialogue of Civilization" and a Plan of Action in Support of the Transition from a Culture of War and Violence to a Culture of Peace and Dialogue" were adopted.

+ For more information on the Forum please contact Mr Victor Montviloff (See address above).




29 - 30 SEPTEMBER 1998

An Expert Meeting on Cyberspace Law, will take place in the Principality of Monaco from 29 - 30 September 1998. Co-organized by UNESCO and the Principality of Monaco, it will be convened by the Director-General of UNESCO and will precede the INFOethics meeting. Organized within the framework of the United Nations Decade for International Law and the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, it aims at implementing Resolution of the General Conference concerning legal issues relating to cyberspace.

A collective work entitled 'Interna-tional Dimensions of Cyberspace Law' and commissioned by UNESCO, will be published after this meeting. It will include relevant contributions presented by the authors to the Symposium.








19 - 30 JANUARY 1998

At the invitation of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), UNESCO was represented at the thirty-second session of the Working Group on Electronic Commerce in Vienna from 19 to 30 January 1998. The session was attended by representatives from twenty-six Member States of the Working Group and by observers from twenty-four States and from fourteen international organizations.

This session was devoted to substantial discussions on legal problems raised by emerging international trade and trans-border data flow on the Internet.

Meetings were also held with the Secretary of the Working Group, and the Director of the Center for International Crime Prevention, concerning UNESCO’s planned publication on International Dimensions of Cyberspace Law (See preceding article) and our ongoing and future interagency activities. Agreement was reached on the need to strengthen co-operation in the field of new technologies where the vital role of international law should be emphasized.

Discussions and Deliberations

of the Working Group

A Working Group has been appointed by UNCITRAL for the purpose of dealing with new legal issues relating to globalization of information and trade, and prepares a standard-setting instrument on international trade law. It could take the form of uniform rules or a convention and should be consistent with the Model Law on Electronic Commerce (hereinafter referred to as "Model Law").

The following issues have been considered:

  1. digital signatures and certification authorities
  2. legal basis supporting certification processes, including emerging digital authentication and certification techno-logy
  3. applicability of the certification pro-cesses
  4. allocation of risk and liabilities of users, providers and third parties in the context of the use of certification techniques
  5. specific issues of certification through the use of registries, and incorporation by reference

Given the complexity of the legal issues raised by the globalization process, the debates were difficult and lengthy. At the present session, the Working Group was requested to examine the feasibility of preparing draft provisions maintaining flexibility in the legal approach.

Upon adoption of the Model Law, it was concluded that UNCITRAL should continue its work on the establishment of minimum legal standards to promote fair electronic commerce law and practices, thereby enhancing trade in all regions of the world. As to the technical issues of digital signatures, although it was stated that it was impossible for UNCITRAL to embark on the preparation of technical standards, it was decided that its work should go beyond the sphere of international trade law and also involve general issues of civil or administrative law to ensure that the legal instrument to be prepared extend beyond commercial relationships. In this respect, all delegates agreed that the Working Group might address the essential issues of international law concerning jurisdiction, applicable law and dispute settlement on the Internet.

Furthermore, the following was agreed:

(i) that the establishment of digital signature laws, together with laws recognising the actions of certification authorities, or other forms of assurances as to the origin and attribution of signed digitally messages, is essential for the development of emerging electronic commerce

(ii) that the ability to rely on digital signatures is a key to the growth of contracting as well as the transferability of rights to goods and services through electronic media

(iii) legislation governing these areas, is non-uniform and varies from country to country

(iv) that UNCITRAL should undertake work in that area in order to harmonize the laws being currently prepared and thus provide an international infrastructure for such activities

(v) that UNCITRAL should at least agree on common principles that would be a substantial part of an international framework for cyberspace

After lengthy discussions and deliberations, the Working Group reached a consensus on the important need for working towards harmonization of law and an agreement regarding a progressive and uniform development of international law. To this end, improving international co-operation would be essential to reinforce the role of Member States in cyberspace.

On the basis of these conclusions, the Working Group has been requested to provide UNCITRAL with adequate sub-stance to decide on the final form and the scope of the legal instrument to be adopted.




25 MARCH 1998

The Forum was organised jointly by the OECD and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee of the OECD (BIAC) and co-chaired by the United States and Canada. It was attended by representatives from OECD Member States, BIAC Members, content and access providers, consumer’s associations, Intergovernment-al Organizations and Non-governmental Organizations.

Prior ad hoc meetings on approaches to content on the Internet had been organised, and the Forum was designed to associate both the public and the private sector, in a multilateral exchange of information on issues related to the Internet self-regulation. Separate panels dealt with different subjects: pressures for self-regulation; industry codes of conduct and corporate practices; user empowerment technologies; government and private sector roles in self-regulation. The emphasis was on the protection of children.

Panellists and participants from different groups discussed the need for self-regulation in industry and its limitations, given the unique nature of Internet. It was generally accepted that the Internet is a great boundary-free resource, providing new opportunities for children and that industry has an important role to play. It was recognised that the fundamental issues are privacy and education, including training of the different partners involved (users, children, parents, teachers, etc.). Protecting child-ren’s privacy by personally identifiable information and parental consent could be solved by self-regulation. Industry, especially content industry, should supply expectations for integrity and identity, as well as individual choice, freedom of expression, artistic freedom and political view.

Within the ongoing process of self-regulation, Internet Service Providers (ISP) are working towards setting codes of conduct aiming at creating the environment needed to allow cultural and electronic commerce development. Some initiatives from public and private sectors, such as fair corporate practice guidelines, industry codes of conduct and govern-mental commissions were presented as a recognition of the need to implement technology tools such as filtering, rating and labelling systems for ethical purposes. It was recognised that industry is in the best position to take technological developments in elaborating codes of conduct into account. In addition to which, liability for providing content and access should be shared between ISP, public authorities and users. On the basis of fundamental principles (privacy, freedom of expression, liability and protection of minors), a balance between "soft law" and "hard law", at national, regional and international levels, should be maintained.

Moreover, it was recognized that users are the most important Internet players. Accordingly, user accessibility and empowerment as well as consumer protection should be essential in the self-regulation process. Active co-operation between industry and public education should take an active role in "controlling" content (diversity and choice), setting guidelines for safe-surfing, especially for children, and supporting parental responsibility by instruments such as "digital tool boxes". The approach should be flexible. ISP should work together with users (parents to handle the situation) and governments in developing the Internet content policies and filtering methods. Technology is available today, but funding for education and law enforcement is needed.

Electronic commerce is not a goal in itself but a pre-requisite of the Information Society and its development; the real challenge of the Information Society is education with which governments can empower citizens. The impact of self-regulation and filtering on human rights was also underlined. Filtering, rating and labelling systems pose risks to the free flow of information and freedom of expression and could be used to violate human rights. All involved should co-operate to preserve ethical values and goals; but international organizations have a fundamental role to define common principles, such as what should be considered as illegal on the Internet.


+ For more information about the Cyberspace Law and Forum on Internet, please contact Teresa Fuentes Camacho, UNESCO, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France. Tel: (331) Fax: (331) E-mail:







UNESCO's Mission In The Fields Of Information And Communication

UNESCO has stimulated both reflection and action on the information society, information and communication technologies, their impact on groups and individuals and on the ways to ensure the widest possible access to information and to improve the level of human resources.

The Mediterranean basin possesses incomparable cultural, linguistic and historical treasures which are the products of a long history exchanges, reciprocal influences and migrations which continue today. The Mediterranean is a precious link between North and South, between different economic and political systems, between rich and poor and between different religions, which do not necessarily conform to geographical contours.

Philosophical, religious, cultural, scientific and technical ideas have for centuries influenced and moulded places, peoples, cultures and languages around the Mediterranean. They continue to do so today. This is a region where libraries have played and will always play a vital part in the development, conservation and dissemination of knowledge which is gradually being transformed by the modern concept of information.

Information highways and particularly the Internet provide the tools for creating an information heritage by constituting a set of links between the sources of knowledge - libraries, universities, labo-ratories and public administration and business enterprises.

The Mediterranean virtual Library (MEDLIB) is situated in this context. The principal aim is to gather together on the Internet, the documentary heritage of the Mediterranean whether produced by institutions in the region or elsewhere. Both reflection and action in the framework of MEDLIB should highlight the cultural specificity of the Mediterranean within the framework of UNESCO's ideals.

The Public Domain

UNESCO endeavours to facilitate the widest possible production of and access to information. An important aspect is that of access to works in the public domain, whether they be texts, documents or images. Many documents of great richness which reflect among others the history of Arab thought and cultures are preserved in Mediterranean libraries. In addition, many contemporary documents testify to present day cultural and intellectual life and creativity around the Mediterranean. These collections which are in the public domain could be made available on networks such as the Internet. Preliminary work would require :

The definition of content for MEDLIB is of vital importance. Priorities and a clear methodology will have to be established. Should the approach be thematic, encyclopedic or historical? A theme which characterizes the Mediterranean but is also open to other influences should be found. Should MEDLIB concentrate on the past documentary heritage or will also it be open to contemporary production and become a vehicle for the expression of the cultural and intellectual creativity of the Mediterranean?

Access To Information

The Internet is ideal for the development of information in the public domain. The spontaneous emergence of web sites, discussion groups and news groups covering very varied fields is proof enough. The Internet is the largest library in the world in which information has no structure and is not classified and where there are no standardised rules of access or of classification. Recent articles show that the best search engines on the Internet allow access to only approximately 30% of information corresponding to a search. This underlines the inadequacy of the methods used to access information. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the same query expressed in the same language using various search engines will give the same results. Taking into account the current and future foreseeable increase in the number of documents on the Internet, this issue will become one of the crucial problems of access to information.

It is therefore important to seek a definition of catalogues, indexes and thesauri which would provide homogenous access to information and data specific to the Mediterranean world independently of their physical location and their subjacent format. Classification modes will have to be established in a sufficiently open way to allow for the addition of new categories of documents which may differ from the original priorities. Work already completed in other contexts and results obtained in other projects could be taken as a starting point. The result might be the establishment on Internet of a search engine specific to MEDLIB which would be regularly updated.


The diversity of the languages and alphabets used in data bases, documents, catalogues, and thesauri on the Internet can inhibit access to information. Research is being done in this area and some results are already available. These may be applicable to MEDLIB. A particularly promising approach is the establishment of multilingual thesaurus which allow for documentary search in one language and retrieval in the same language but also in other languages. A pilot project could be conceived and carried out in which several languages (For example Arabic, English, French, Hebrew) could be grouped in the same search engine

Norms And Standards

The use of standards and norms offering the greatest possibilities of modularity and flexibility is necessary to ensure the widest possible access to services and applications. It is not a question of establishing a single model of data structure and organization but rather of using the same standard to facilitate the establishment of interfaces between different data structures. This implies making full use of existing structures whether in the field of cataloguing, of search and access or of communication protocols (such as UNIMARC, Z39.50, HTTP, HTML, XML, etc).

Human Resources

In the field of information, human resources are the key to the quality and continuity of services which are disseminated through the Internet. Library and information professionals, as well as specialists in communication and information technologies in charge of developing and setting up services and applications, all contribute to serve a public, both general and specialized. Training in concepts, methods and tools, plays a determining role in the quality of the services provided. Training pro-grammes should be developed according to the needs expressed in the area for the various professional categories: librarians and documentalists, technicians and engineers specialists in data processing and networks.

The idea of virtual libraries is not new and is spreading rapidly over the world. MEDLIB, focussed on the Mediterranean area, is comparable to other UNESCO initiatives such as the Silk Road and the Slave Road that are concentrated toward specific and mobilizing issues. Several questions should be raised such as: what is the specificity of a virtual library for the Mediterranean area and what role it can play as an entry point to the Information Society, as a union information space, and a gateway between public and information and communication technologies. Other topics are related to the methodological aspect of access to information such as cataloguing, indexing, building thesaurus. Finally, virtual libraries cannot be developed without strong training programmes covering all aspects of information and technologies.

Consultation Of An Expert Group

Invited by UNESCO, a group of 16 experts from Mediterranean countries (Egypt, France, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Palestine, Spain, Tunisia) held a meeting in Paris on 10 June 1998. This consultation aimed to make a survey on activities, projects and expectations in the field of digital libraries and to collect advise for MEDLIB from well known experts for the development of a Mediterranean Virtual Library.

The expert group has identified three main lines of actions that will concern:

Regional Co-operation

And Conclusion

Co-operation in these fields is of the greatest interest because the situation in information and communication issues around the Mediterranean is extremely varied and complex. Information and communication are mainly based on resources which are readily at the disposal of developing and emerging countries. Both content and human resources bring considerable added value to projects. The rich bibliographic and documentary heritage of the Mediterranean has great potential for cultural development and its subsequent socio-economic benefits.

Much work has to be done to highlight this heritage and to master the information and communication technologies required to develop it. A multidisciplinary approach requiring skills in the field of cultural content, in library and documentation methodologies and in related technologies will need to be adopted. Furthermore, through modest compared to those required for infrastructure development the resources required are substantial.

Several initiatives related to digital and virtual libraries in international, bilateral or national frameworks are already in progress. They underline the importance attached to co-operation which brings together documentary heritage and resources in the pursuit of a common objective. In this context, UNESCO, through MEDLIB, intends to play an active role in the development of the Information Society in Mediterranean countries by fostering mutual and reciprocal con-tribution of cultures of the North and South. MEDLIB will provide an invaluable reservoir for these cultures which, through the interest they elicit from humankind, will eventually become a forum for exchange and mutual understanding.


+ For more information about MEDLIB please contact Mr René Cluzel, CII/INF, UNESCO, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France. Tel: (33-1) Fax: (33-1) MEDLIB web site:





















































7 - 9 OCTOBER 1998

The Joint Conference between the countries of Central Asia and the European Union will be held from 7 to 9 October 1998 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The Eurasia Conference plans to explore ways of co-operation and joint business between European Union and Central Asian companies, for the production and use of telematics systems in Health Care and Education & Training sectors. There will be approximately hundred leading offi-cials, top professionals, and other decision makers from Central Asia and European countries attending, and apart from key plenary sessions the Education (and training) and Health themes will run in parallel streams including oral presentation sessions and specific working groups.

Europe has developed a significant body of knowledge and know-how in using new technologies for education, health care and commerce. Central Asia is one of the new and most promising markets to offer these products and services to the world.

The former Soviet Republics of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) are going through a process of rapid change and modernisation. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the IMF are providing loans for part of this process. The region has a population of over 55 million and the GDP is growing in many of the countries, which have potentially rich mineral reserves. These countries are keen to embrace the latest techniques offered through the

utilisation of telematics applications.

The purpose of this conference is to formulate strategies on the development of distance education, electronic commerce and tele-medicine in the Central Asian region. It will provide a unique oppor-tunity for European Telematics service providers to meet high-level government ministers and officials including top telecom representatives and senior mana-gement in the Central Asian companies. Individual discussions on joint ventures between Central Asian and European organisations will also be encouraged.

The main topics of the conference are likely to include:


+ For more information about the EURASIA ONLINE'98 please contact Mrs Dana Ziyasheva, CII/INF, UNESCO, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France. Tel: (33-1) Fax: (33-1) Internet:




The annual international training Seminar 'Introduction to IDAMS' will take place from Monday 23 through Wednesday 25 November 1998 at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris. Its purpose is to introduce the latest version of the IDAMS software package. Participants who wish to extend their knowledge and/or perform more exercises can continue individual work on 26 and 27 November. The IDAMS development staff and computer rooms will remain at their disposal during this period.

The overall structure of IDAMS, the editors, graphical facilities and other utilities offered by the package will be presented, and also the interface with micro CDS/ISIS. The Seminar is not meant to train participants in statistical techniques. The training will comprise oral presentations of topics and exercise sessions during which participants will be guided and assisted in their work. English will be the main language of this Seminar although explanations in French can also be provided. Training material will be available in both English and French.

There is no registration fee, but all other costs (travel, board, lodging) are at the charge of participants.






IDAMS available in French and Spanish

Both software and IDAMS 4.0 User Manual are now available in

French and Spanish, and can be obtained directly from

UNESCO or via our distributors in French and Spanish speaking countries.






15-19 DECEMBER 1997

The 1st Regional Meeting of CDS/ISIS and IDAMS Distributors in Africa took place from 15 through 19 December 1997 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It was organized and hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), with the financial support of CII/INF. The meeting was attended by thirty participants from the following thirteen countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Zimbabwe; and from the following international/regional Organizations: Afri-can Regional Organization for Stand-ardization (ARSO); International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE); Institut du Sahel; International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI); and Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

Following a pattern established in similar meetings in other regions, the discussions centered on the following main topics:

All speakers expressed the urgent and very felt need for training, and particularly the training of trainers. Most of the participants had attended advanced training for trainers courses on CDS/ISIS at either the Ecole International de Bordeaux (courses sponsored by the Agence pour la Francophonie, former ACCT), for French-speaking countries, or in Bonn, Germany (courses sponsored by the Deutsche Stiftung für Entwiklung, DSE) for English-speaking countries. A token financial contribution from UNESCO was given to both categories of courses, usually covering the costs of the teaching staff. It was profoundly regretted that both of these highly successful training sources have now disappeared.

If we may say, there was even a more urging demand for regular local training in IDAMS, and this type of training could be based on regional/subregional trainers’ training. It was underlined that additional financial resources have to be identified for such training actions or for sending partici-pants to the annual International IDAMS Training Seminar. The increasing role of Internet has been recognized, but it was agreed that old ways of ISIS and IDAMS distribution should not be abandoned. In order to make IDAMS more widely known and used in Africa, competent institutions should be selected in those countries where there is no IDAMS distributor yet. Need for the Windows version of IDAMS was emphasized.

On the last day, the participants discussed and approved the following recommendations:

It is recommended that UNESCO/ UNECA:

  1. should continue to develop CDS/ISIS and IDAMS and keep them in line with new developments in information technology and the Internet in order not to loose the investment made by the countries during the past years
  2. formulates a policy for the distribution of new versions of CDS/ISIS for DOS, WINISIS, and updated versions
  3. intensifies the evaluation of the performance of CDS/ISIS and IDAMS distributors and informs country offices about the distributors
  4. selects appropriate distributors for IDAMS in African countries, and that these be trained as trainers with the involvement of international and national institutions
  5. organizes once every 2 years a meeting for African distributors
  6. seeks ways to host CDS/ISIS databases of African countries for WWW access. and makes statistical and numerical data available on the Internet
  7. encourages the compilation and facili-tates the distribution of a directory of databases on CDS/ISIS available to other users and countries;

It is recommended that distributors of CDS/ISIS and IDAMS:

  1. network and inform each other about courses to be held. Concerning Francophone countries they should seek support for the training of CDS/ISIS and IDAMS from the Banque internationale d'lnformation des Etats Francophones (BIEF) and the Francophone Agency (Former Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique - ACCT)
  2. organize and strengthen user groups in their respective countries, and hold regular meetings
  3. encourage the inclusion of CDS/ISIS and IDAMS software in the curriculum of library schools, economical and statistical institutes, as well as other relevant institutions wherever possible
  4. subscribe to the CDS-ISIS List-Server maintained at the Wageningen Agricul-tural University Library in the Netherlands. Instructions for subscrip-tion can be found on the UNESCO Website at the following URL:
  5. create a ListServer for CDS/ISIS and IDAMS users in Africa* in order to address the specific needs of African users, to promote networking, and awareness of each others services, successes, failures, problems, etc. Institutions that do not have access to e-mail will be provided with a monthly printout of the discussions. A link to other CDS/ISIS Listservers should be established.
  6. It is recommended that regional standardization bodies and regional policy frameworks such as the African Information Society Initiative (AISI) and the Standing Committee on the Harmonization and Standardization of Information Systems in Africa be made aware of the impact that CDS/ISIS and IDAMS have had in the development of compatible databases and information systems in the region, and the two packages should be further used as part of the tools to develop the African infrastructure (information content.

+ For more information about IDAMS and the International Training Seminar, please contact Mr Peter Hunya, CII/INF, UNESCO, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France. Tel: (33-1) (33-1) .E-mail: Website


The 1998 Editions of International Directories of

Institutions and Experts Specializing in Informatics

Just off the Press

The International Directory of Institutions Specializing in Informatics (IDISI) and the International Directory of Experts Specializing in Informatics (IDESI) provide together vital information concerning a wide range of both govern-mental and non-governmental organiza-tions and experts involved in informatics development and its application to areas linked to the objectives of IIP. These directories serve to make these specialized institutions and experts known in both developing and industrialized countries. These revised and expanded editions should facilitate communication among institutions, experts and Member States. Every attempt has been made to provide comprehensive information for both institutions and experts.

Existing entries have been updated to reflect the numerous comments and sug-gestions received by the IIP secretariat since the publication of the third edition, and to include electronic mail addresses where possible. In selecting new entries, preference has been given to institutions and experts in those Members States or regions not previously represented in the



Previous editions of directories have paved the way for successful collaboration, including:

These new updated editions are intended to extend such ongoing dynamic co-operation by encouraging new initia-tives. Additions and corrections to the next editions of both directories are expected to be handled online. UNESCO’s CII web site will have an electronic version of IDISI (provisional URL is


+ For more information about these Directories please contact Mr Yong-Nam Kim, CII/INF, UNESCO, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France. Tel: (33-1) Fax: (33-1) E-mail:





















5 MARCH 1998

Some sixty-five participants compri-sing of government officials, members of parliament, authors, writers, publishers, librarians, information and documentation officers, private collectors and the general public attended the National Seminar. Organized jointly by the Development Communication and Research Consultancy Group (DECORE) and the Nepal National Library (NNL) with UNESCO support, the seminar aimed to consolidate the results of the series of preliminary discussions on the need for a legal deposit law for Nepal to begin the process of systematically collecting, organizing preserving, and providing access to national documentary heritage materials, and to generate public support so that appropriate legislation can be formulated and enacted. A draft has been prepared and needs to be submitted to Parliament so that an enactment can be expedited.

UNESCO, following the government's request developed a project to strengthen the Nepal National Library (NNL) in support of literacy, which has been provided funds by the Danish government through the Danish International Develop-ment Assistance Agency (DANIDA). For the past three years, we have been implementing those projects, which have achieved within that short period, a number of results, some of which are:

This means, that the foundation has been established to ensure that once legislation is formulated and enacted, Nepal will have a place where docu-ments/publications of national significance can be found, accessed and preserved for posterity and for future generations to see, use and be proud of.

Pokhara Public Library

This phase of the project is progressing well. The Pokhara Municipal Council's decision to allocate 500,000 NRp, in spite of the poor budgetary situation, to begin the construction of the expansion of the building, given the very congested status of the Pokhara Public Library (PPL), and the continuing increase in the number of users of the library, is a very encouraging sign showing the local government's commit-ment to sustain the operation of the PPL. The Mobile Library component servicing the BPEP resource centres is also progressing better, but teachers continue to complain about lack of space to service readers and display books in the resource centers, a problem which is not the NNL project's responsibility. PPL is expanding the mobile library component to include some isolated communities that have made requests.

National Archives

The Manuscript Preservation project, assisted by Germany, was started in 1970 and is still continuing, with another request for a 5-year extension up to the year 2003. The project basically microfilms all the manuscript collection of Nepal, which is estimated to be about 35,000 records, and 6,000 palm leaf collection. The project extension is to digitize the register of the collection and upload it to the web. At present, the register is in index card-form, but the microfilm is very well organized and preserved. However, as the original documents are preserved using only the traditional methods, (the project assisted by Germany is not concerned with the preservation of the original documents) many of the manuscripts continue to deteriorate.





25 - 29 MAY 1998

The training course was attended by seventy-one participants composed of provincial librarians from eight provinces, selected by the Ministry of Culture and Information (MOCI); information and library personal from the National Centre for Scientific & Technological Information and documentation (NACESTID) and its cooperating institutions and teachers/ faculty members from Library and Information Science (LIS) institutions. The teaching package was translated in Vietnamese, but the course was conducted in English with Vietnamese interpretation. It was reportedly the first time that there were so many applicants for the course and many had to be turned down. But more important to note is that the participants stayed and attended all sessions including some special voluntary practice sessions, indicating the great demand and interest for the course. It was quite interesting to note that even if many have been trained before, attended other courses or have used some form of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) in inform-ation and library activities, a more comprehensive approach as done in this case has not been introduced. The presentations also contributed towards standardizing and upgrading the level of understanding of the participants, linking and locating their specialised activities within the context of overall National Information Infrastructure (NII) develop-ment.

The Ministry of Culture and Information has made strong represen-tations that similar course be conducted for the administrators of the public and school libraries and the local government leadership as a step towards the gradual integration/harmonization of services of school and public libraries for more cost-effective library operations and to facilitate their modernization.

The concept of resource-sharing and cooperation among library/information services from, at least, three ministries initially, namely Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (MOSTE), Ministry of Culture and Information (MOCI) and Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) is gradually becoming clearer and better appreciated as was reported in a recent meeting of pubic and school libraries, which was greatly appreciated by the Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam. It was also reported that the transformation of school and public libraries as gateways to information access in rural areas was also accepted and MOCI was directed to implement it. This should be done in collaboration with other bodies since for the concept to create the necessary impact, it requires the cooperation of other agencies in order to put the idea in proper perspective. For example, the public libraries are generally at present very traditional in their approach to library/information services. Providing access to the bibliographic data bases of the National Library is not going to create any impact on people targeted to be reached in the communes and hamlets. Information produced and accessed by NACESTID could be more appropriate and of interest to them; while those teaching and reading materials produced and accessed by MOET will be of great use to students and teachers in schools.

MOSTE, through NACESTID, has requested UNESCO to help Vietnam in establishing a sound basis for their programme on information society initia-tives by co-organizing a forum on National Information Infrastructure Development (NIID) in August 1998.

Project Sites in Hoa Binh

and Quang Ninh

The situation in Quang Ninh is much better in terms of sustainability and the positive attitude of the staff of the provincial library towards modernization and improvement of the information services to the ethnic minorities and the business and industrial communities. In contrast the conditions in Hoa Binh will need much longer lead-time for the social preparation of the communes, and the staff of the provincial library. The tie up with the Department of Science, Technology and Environment (DOSTE) also appears to be a major obstacle to hurdle and given the limited resources and time to operate the pilot project, the potential for success appears questionable. It can be part of the second group of pilot projects once the MOCI can mobilize other resources. Another site has been considered for the pilot project in consultation with MOCI and NACESTID.

+ For more information about activities in the Asia and the Pacific region, please contact, INF Regional Office, 920 Sukhumvit Road, Box 967, Bangkok 10110, Thailand. Tel: (662) 391.05.77. Fax: (662) 391.08.66. E-mail:






In the framework of the intra-regional cooperation foreseen by UNESCO in the information field, a key point that will be addressed, is the Latin American culture in the INTERNET. A megaproject entitled "Initiative for Latin American and Caribbean Virtual Libraries" is therefore under preparation and UNESCO is interested in any contribution destined to support this initiative.

Training activities in new information technologies is another relevant topic, which is included in this workplan, as well as wide access to information in the public domain and electronic publishing in the region.

We invite our readers to visit the INFOLAC website ( where permanent and up-dated information will be available.

Regional information programmes such as CCCRIS and INFOLAC will continue receiving support from UNESCO, in order to improve their effectiveness and coverage, using for that purpose new information technologies.




We are pleased to announce the next release of the new application for archives based on the CDS/ISIS software package, version for Windows, already tested by the Archivo General de Colombia. This is one of the products of an Agreement between the Latin American Association of Archives (ALA) and UNESCO/INF/LAC.

This version was designed to allow a wide range of activities and tasks such as: technical processing of documents, user control and statistics, use of texts and images, production of CD-ROMs and electronic publications, descriptors and thesaurus among others.

Manuals and technical documents to support this software will soon be pub-lished, and training activities are planned for staff of the "Archivo General de Col-ombia" other institution members of ALA.

The Beta version of this software will be tested in at least three institutions of LAC region to obtain the final version, which will be useful for both public and private institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean.



This project will be completed during the first semester of 1998. It is carried out by the Ibero-American National Libraries Association (ABINIA), University of Colima, (Mexico) and UNESCO/-INF/LAC.

The objective is to produce a CD-ROM comprising 10,000 records representing the most significant newspapers of the nine-teenth century, from the seventeen coun-tries of Latin America, the Caribbean and Spain. Coordination of this project, especially the compilation of information, design of database and all technical processing was undertaken by the National Library of Venezuela.

The Universidad de Colima is testing and evaluating the prototype CD-ROM in order to produce the final version to be released during the second semester of 1998.


The database was developed in accordance with the Agreement between UNESCO, University of Colima, Mexico and several other institutions of the Latin American and the Caribbean Region. For four consecutive years, the institutions involved provided databases of biblio-graphic information for the production of this serial CD-ROM. This fourth edition, contains more than 200 databases from 14 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, in such areas as: education, information science, health, law, planning among others.

+ For more on regional information activities in the Latin America and the Caribbean Region, please contact Mr. Isidro Fernández-Aballí, Regional Adviser, UNESCO/INF/LAC, Apartado postal 68394, Caracas 1062 A, Venezuela. Fax: (582) 286.04.60. E-mail:












The full text database of UNESCO documents UNESDOC is available on Internet at:

UNESDOC contains the full text of the main documents of governing bodies (General Conference and Executive Board), sectorial documents (working series, reports and documents of meetings and conferences organized by UNESCO), speeches of the Director-General and UNESCO Sources Bulletin.

Altogether UNESDOC contains about 7,600 documents corresponding to 265,000 pages. It can be searched full text (words from text or from titles), by keywords or by bibliographic references as UNESDOC is linked with UNESBIB, the UNESCO bibliographic catalogue.













FID's new Executive Director, Mr Stephen Parker, is a British national and a Fellow of the (British) Library Association. He is Editor of the quarterly journal, Information Development, (published by Bowker Saur) and author of several books and numerous reports, conference papers and articles on various aspects of information management and information development. In 1976 he was awarded the International Federation of Library Associations' Sevensma Prize for an essay on 'Regional Cooperation in Developing Countries'.

Mr Parker has had a longstanding interest in and concern for library and information development in developing countries. He began his career in public libraries in the United Kingdom, but soon took up his first overseas post as British Council Librarian in Bangkok, Thailand, from 1961 to 1966. He spent the next three years as the first Director of the Botswana National Library Service and Library Adviser to the governments of Swaziland and Lesotho, before returning to the United Kingdom as Lecturer in charge of overseas students at the School of Librarianship, Northwestern Polytechnic, in London. This was followed by two years at the College of Librarianship Wales, where he carried out research for his Fellowship thesis on 'UNESCO and Library Development Planning'. This was awarded a mark of distinction by the Library Association's Board of Advanced Studies in 1978, and subsequently published by the Library Association under the same title.

In 1975, Mr Parker set up his own consulting firm, Library Development Consultants. Over the next 18 years, he carried out consulting assignments in more than forty countries in Africa, the Arab States, Asia, Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean, and also spent a year at UNESCO Headquarters as Editor of the UNESCO Journal of Information Science, Librarianship and Archives Administra-tion. Resident in the Netherlands since 1993, Mr Parker became Publications Manager at the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre in The Hague in 1994. In addition to working as Executive Director of FID, he will for the time being continue to be responsible on a part-time basis for information projects at IRC, including IRC's website and electronic news service.

In his first full week at FID, the new Executive Director was 'dropped in at the deep end of the pool' with meetings of the FID Executive Committee, the Global Information Alliance, the FID Council and the FID-IDRC Impact Project Advice Group. In a brief statement to Council, Mr Parker expressed his pleasure at returning to work in the international information environment, and identified the FID membership, FID publications and the FID website as three key areas to which he expected to give priority during the coming months.

Martha Stone, President of FID, expressed her extreme pleasure at being able to introduce the new Director to the FID Council meeting, held in the Hague, May 14-15. She stated that at this critical time in the evolution of FID, she was fully confident that Mr Parker's experience and commitment to the field of information science would contribute significantly to the meeting of FID's important programme objectives.


Document requests from Africa, Arab States, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean should continue to be sent to: Information and Informatics Division, UNESCO, 1, rue Miollis, 75732, Paris Cedex 15, France. Requests from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, United States of America, Venezuela and the Asia and Pacific Region should be sent directly to PGI documents resource centres whose addresses are indicated below:


El Coordinador Nacional, RENBU

Universidad de Buenos Aires

Azcuenaga 280.1029

Capital Federal, Argentina



Instituto Brasileiro de Informacao

em Ciencia e Tecnologia (IBICT)

SC - Quadra 2 Bloco K

70710 Brasilia DF, Brazil


Madame Suzanne Richer

Directrice Général

Banque internationale d’information

sur les Etats francophones (BIEF)

25, rue Eddy

Hull, Canada, K1A OM5


El Director

Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y


Centro de Servicios de Informacion

y Documentacion

Circuito Cultural Universitario

Ciudad Universitaria

04515 Mexico DF



Servicio de Informacao Cientifica

e Tecnica

Junta Nacional de Investigacao

Cientifica e Tecnologica (JNICT)

Av. D. Carlos 1, 126-1 e 2

1200 Lisboa, Portugal






Consejo superior de

Investigaciones Cientificas

Centro de Informacion y Docu-

mentacion Cientifica, C.I.N.D.O.C.

Calle Joaquin Costa, 22

28002 Madrid, Spain


Mr Frederic J. Glazer


West Virginia Library Commission

Cultural Centre

Charleston, West Virginia 25305



Mr Isidro Fernández-Aballí

CII/INF Regional Adviser for

Latin America and Caribbean


Avenida Los Chorros

Apartado postal 68394

Caracas 1062 A, Venezuela


UNESCO/INF Documents Supply


c/o The National Library of Thailand

Samsen Road

Bangkok 10300


All documents may be consulted at the premises of each of the institutions mentioned above. Copies may be obtained on a cost recovery basis at prices set out by the distributing institutions. All current and out-of-print documents are also available on microfiche, at a price of FF20 per fiche corresponding normally to 96 pages. Orders for microfiches should be sent to: Archives Records Management Micrography Division, UNESCO, 7, place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SP, France.

Below is a list of new publications:

L'essor des technologies de l'information et de la communication: Une perspective UNESCO.- Paris, UNESCO, 1996., 48 p.-(CII.96/WS/6).

French version of Information and Communication Technologies in Development: a UNESCO Perspective.

LOR, Peter Johan; SONNEKUS, Elizabeth A.S.- Législation des services de bibliothèque nationale: principes directeurs.- Paris: UNESCO, 1997.- 93 p.- (CII.97/WS/7).

French edition of "Guidelines for Legislation for National Library Services".

CORREA, Antoinette; NDIAYE, Djibril; MCHOMBU, Kingo J. et al.- Rural Information Provision in Developing Countries – Measuring Performance and Impact.- Paris: UNESCO, 1997.- 116 p.- (CII.97/WS/11).

HORTON, Forest Woody. National Information Policies – A Handbook on the Formulation, Approval, Implementation and Operation of National Information Policies. The Hague: FID and Paris: UNESCO, 1997.- 254 p.

BOSTON, George. Memory of the World Programme - Safeguarding the Documentary Heritage. A Guide to Standards, Recommended Practices and References Literature Related to the Preservation of Documents of All Kinds. - Paris: UNESCO, 1998.- 56 p.- (CII.98/WS/4).

Also available in French.

The International Information & Library Review. ISSN 1057-2317 Volume 29, 1997. Academic Press Limited, London, UK

"Internet, An Opportunity For The Media And Democracy In Africa". A Seminar organised by PANA and the Panos Institute. Final Report.- Dakar, 7-10 July 1997.

Limited copies available for distribution.

Also available in French.


The Newsletter provides information on the activities of the UNESCO Division of Information and Informatics and other related issues. Published twice a year in Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish, the Newsletter is distributed free of charge by the Division.

Editor: Philippe Quéau; Assistant Editor: Joie Springer; Editorial Assistant: Grace Mensah

Readers are invited to communicate their comments, suggestions or relevant information by writing to: UNISIST Newsletter, Division of Information and Informatics, 1, rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France. Tel: (33-1) Fax: (33-1) E-mail: Requests for copies of Newsletter may be directly sent to: