UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme is an international initiative launched to safeguard the documentary heritage of humanity against collective amnesia, neglect, the ravages of time and climatic conditions, and willful and deliberate destruction. It calls for the preservation of valuable archival holdings, library collections and private individual compendia all over the world for posterity, the reconstitution of dispersed or displaced documentary heritage, and the increased accessibility to and dissemination of these items.
The program began in 1992 as a way to preserve and promote documentary heritage, which can be a single document, a collection, a holding or an archival fonds that is deemed to be of such significance as to transcend the boundaries of time and culture.
The Memory of the World Register is a compendium of documents, manuscripts, oral traditions, audio-visual materials, library, and archival holdings of universal value. Inscription on the Register leads to improved conservation of the documentary heritage by calling upon the program's networks of experts to exchange information and raise resources for the preservation, digitization, and dissemination of the material. The program also has the goal of using state-of-the-art technologies to provide wider accessibility and diffusion of the items inscribed on the Register.
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