IFLA Congress and the UNESCO PERSIST project

From 15 to 21 August the 81th IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) took place in Cape Town. The traditional UNESCO session at the WLIC was devoted to the work of the PERSIST project. More specifically to the Guidelines for the Selection of Digital Content for Long-Term Digital Preservation, that are currently written by a team of international experts from the world of libraries, archives and museums. The session was chaired by Mr Getachew Engida, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General and member of the PERSIST Steering Committee.

The meeting afforded the Guideline writers with a good opportunity to explain the project to the library community and to harvest reactions for the experts in Cape Town. Issues covered in the meeting were the question of costs, audiovisual collections, industry involvement and metadata.  A review group was gathered that will comment on the evolving Guidelines at a later stage.

Link to the report of the UNESCO session.
Link to the Draft Guidelines.


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.

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