Roadmap for Long Term Access to Digital Heritage

Prins Willem-Alexanderhof 5, The Hague

On the fifth and sixth of December, the Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO and several partners organise an expert meeting in The Hague on UNESCO's Digital Roadmap project. The National Archives and the Royal Library of the Netherlands will host this inaugural meeting of the project.

The goal of the UNESCO digital roadmap project is to find solutions for problems that hinder long term access and trustworthy preservation of digital information. Keeping digital records is no longer a by-product of our activities, because the production, management and use of information is much too important. It is constantly discussed, from boardrooms to government.

The world begins to apprehend that sustainable access to information is a matter of government and policy. However, the government of information transcends the span of control of heritage institutions. Government, industry and civil society need each other’s help. If we want to secure long term preservation of information, we need to be able to influence the design of our digital infrastructure and architecture in the short term.

The roadmap should address issues like open government, open data, open access and electronic government. It should dovetail with national and international priorities and be in full agreement with human rights and key UNESCO values like democracy, transparency, and accountability.

Example of obsolete digital storage media.


At least since 2003, when UNESCO published its Charter for the Preservation of the Digital Heritage, it is agreed that partners from the heritage sector, government and industry should cooperate and learn to understand each other’s position, but it seems that up till now no solid progress has been made. The meeting in The Hague will provide a platform that will help to bridge the divides between state & non-state, and profit & not-for-profit.

High level representatives from UNESCO, the European Union and the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science will react to the issues raised by the experts from the point of view of government. The heritage sector will be represented by the President of the International Council of Archives (ICA) and by the former President of the International Federation of Library Associations and Insitutions (IFLA). Global companies, including Microsoft and Google that participated in the Vancouver Memory of the World Conference, have been asked to represent industry. A definite programme will be circulated at a later date.


The meeting at Thursday afternoon is open to the public. Participation is free, but the number of places is limited, and therefore registration is necessary. Please indicate your wish to participate as soon as possible, by sending an email to scunesco [at] unesco.nl with ‘UNESCO Digital Roadmap’ in the email header and your name, professional affiliation, address and telephone number in the body text.

The meeting is organised by The Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO, ICA, IFLA, UNESCO, The Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, DEN Foundation, National Library of the Netherlands, Netherlands National Archives and LIBER.

Thursday, 5 December 2013, 13.00 – 17.00 hours
Prins Willem-Alexanderhof 5
The Hague, The Netherlands

Moderne informatie- en communicatietechnologieën hebben het uitwisselen van kennis eenvoudiger gemaakt dan vroeger. Maar geldt dat ook voor wetenschappelijke kennis? Hoe worden publicaties en data beschikbaar gesteld en voor wie zijn zij toegankelijk? En hoe kunnen we de duurzame toegang tot publicaties en data (op papier én digitaal) waarborgen? 


De Nationale UNESCO Commissie heeft meegeschreven aan de Open Access strategie die op de Algemene Conferentie in 2011 is aangenomen. Daarnaast neemt de Commissie actief deel aan conferenties over het onderwerp, of stelt experts in de gelegenheid daaraan deel te nemen.

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