Further steps towards selection guidelines for digital heritage

The Content Task Force of PERSIST recently made a worldwide call to libraries, archives and museums to share digital heritage strategies as part of its effort to write selection guidelines for this type of heritage. Some 30 responses were received and these have now been analysed by Wilbert Helmusan expert on digital heritage, in a report. Two main conclusions can be drawn, one negative, one positive:

  • Although the call was launched in various languages via the worldwide networks of UNESCO and the professional associations for libraries and archives IFLA and ICA, not all regions of the world are represented in the results. UNESCO stresses the fact that digital heritage is a global concern, and rightly so, but a lot of work has still to be done to raise awareness in many parts of the world.
  • In the museum world, and interesting instrument to evaluate digital collections named ‘Significance’ has been developed that might be an important selection tool for libraries and archievs as well.

The results of the study will be presented and discussed in an upcoming PERSIST meeting at UNESCO (20 & 21 April 2015). Ingrid parent from IFLA is currently inviting six writers – two from the world of libraries, two from archives and two from the museums – to form a writing group that will draft the selection guidelines. The writers will use this study and the article The Paradox of Selection in the Digital Age by Bram and Titia van der Werf as building blocks for their work. The draft Guidelines will be discussed at IFLA’s World Library and Information Congress in South Africa and are planned to be presented at UNESCO's General Conference in November 2015.

Digital information is difficult to preserve over longer periods of time. Carriers like hard disks have a short life span, and even if one manages to keep the bits and bytes, the risk that current hard- and software is unable to process the old data is very real. Archives, museums and libraries are acutely aware of these problems, yet they cannot find solutions on their own. The UNESCO PERSIST Project stimulates the debate between these institutions, government and the ICT-industry in order to promote digital sustainability. In its first phase PERSIST was coordinated by the Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO.

Meer berichten