Friday, April 13, 2007

Memory of the World

UNESCO's Memory of the World program aims at preservation and dissemination of valuable archive holdings and library collections worldwide.

Map of documentary heritages as of 2005

The Memory of the World Register lists documentary heritage which has been recommended by the International Advisory Committee and endorsed by the Director-General of UNESCO as corresponding to the selection criteria for world significance. Nominations for the Register may be submitted by any person or organization, including governments and NGOs. However, priority will be given to nominations made by or through the relevant regional or national Memory of the World committee, where one exists, or failing that, through the relevant UNESCO National Commission. (Editors note: to the best of my knowledge, there is no U.S. Memory of the World Committee. JAD)

The only registered item in the United States is the:
Universalis cosmographia secundum Ptholomaei traditionem et Americi Vespucii aliorumque Lustrationes
Made in 1507, this map is recognized as the first to show correctly the existence of a separate Western Hemisphere and of the Pacific Ocean. It is also the first printed wall map of the world. Furthermore, it is the first map to give the name of “America” to the New World, in honor of Amerigo Vespucci. Produced by Martin Waldseemüller in Saint Dié or Strasbourg, France, it contains information derived from the Spanish and Portuguese expeditions of the late 15th and early 16th centuries.
The most recent nominations from the United States were:
* The Wizard of Oz (2005 nomination) (the movie)

* The AIDS Education Global Information System (AEGiS) Millennium Collection (2002 nomination)
Other registered things include:
Austria - Final document of the Congress of Vienna

Cuba - Writings of José Martí Pérez

France - Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789-1791)

Venezuela - General Archive of the Nation - Writings of The Liberator Simón Bolívar
In view of the contributions of other nations, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution in the National Archives would appear a better nomination than the Wizard of Oz!

The Jikji Memory of the World Prize further promotes the objectives of the Memory of the World Program and to commemorate the inscription of the Jikji, the oldest known book of movable metal print in the world. The Prize, consisting of an award of US$ 30,000, is to be given every two years to individuals or institutions that have made significant contributions to the preservation and accessibility of documentary heritage. Last month, three out of 23 nominations received from Member States were preliminarily selected by the Bureau of the Memory of the World Program during its meeting at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from 19 to 20 March 2007. The list includes the following institutions:
* Phonogrammarchiv of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the oldest sound archive of the world, which made substantial contribution to the advancement of audio and video preservation;

* French Institut National de l'Audiovisuel (INA), which safeguards and digitizes programmes in danger of disappearing and participates in international projects on preservation of, and access to, audiovisual heritage; and

* National Library of Malaysia, which preserved and made accessible valuable treasures.
I note that the Library of Congress is also the largest library in the world, with more than 130 million items on approximately 530 miles of bookshelves. The collections include more than 29 million books and other printed materials, 2.7 million recordings, 12 million photographs, 4.8 million maps, and 58 million manuscripts. Why is it not on the list? JAD

1 comment:

Simon Demler said...

So I received a wonderful xmas present from my wife. A book called memory of the world. Very many significant contributions from all over the world. Curiosity got the better of me and I had a look at the entries of the US expecting at a minimum to see the declaration of independence and the constitution... But nothing apart from the Wizard of Oz!

Unfortunately this does rather influence my perception of the credibility of this list.