The 2014 Seminar on Documentary Heritage for Memory of the World Programme in Taiwan
The Memory of the World Programme is a program launched by the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO) regarding the preservation of precious archives and documentation to promote the world’s understanding of the importance of documentary heritage.
The 2014 seminar is aimed at introducing the concepts of documentary heritage preservation and their reuse and related international cooperation resources, and reaching a consensus on the preservation of and access to documentary heritage related to “Memory of Taiwan,” thus connecting Taiwan’s documentary heritage preservation efforts with the world.
Two: Memory of the World
The protection of heritage in the international community is not confined to buildings or monuments. Documentary heritage such as books or archives that record important data in human history are also protected by UNESCO. Such “shared historical memory” is valued not only for preserving the internal memory of a country, but because it also represents the thoughts and values in a certain period of human history.
The “Memory of the World (MOW)” programme was launched in 1992 in response to UNESCO’s emphasis on the protection and utilization of world documentary heritage. MOW is a long-term program designed to change the way countries, governments, communities, and individuals value, protect, and utilize documentary heritage in libraries, archives, and museums.
Such items include original manuscripts, books, important historical documents, stone tablets, and oral histories. MOW aims to make it easier for the general public to access, draw on, and disseminate these data and understand how to preserve, safeguard, disseminate and access them, so as to increase awareness worldwide of the existence and significance of documentary heritage.
UNESCO has set up the Memory of the World International Advisory Committee (IAC), which convened its first meeting in Poland in 1993, and began accepting the application for inclusion in Memory of the World Register by countries in every two years. Memory of the World Register is divided into international, regional, and national levels, with individual committees at each level taking charge of policy implementation and schedules. As of the end of 2013, Memory of the World Register had recorded 301 items of world significance put forward by 102 countries, four international organizations, and one private foundation.
Three: Documentary Heritage
The MOW’s three major goals for the world’s documentary heritage are:
- To facilitate preservation, by the most appropriate techniques, of the world's documentary heritage.
- To assist universal access to documentary heritage.
- To increase awareness worldwide of the existence and significance of documentary heritage.
According to UNESCO, a document is “that which records something with a deliberate intellectual purpose”. A document is considered to have two components: the informational content and the support in which it is recorded. Both elements can have a large variety of forms and are equally important parts of memory.
Produced within the framework of human activity, documents can be symbols of and have features relevant to the collective memory of a community, nation, region, or society. Through their support and content, documents reflect the diversity of peoples, cultures and languages, and become part of the heritage of humanity.
According to the guidelines of the Memory of the World Programme — which is in charge of the heritage housed in museums, archives, and libraries around the world — the definition of documentary heritage includes the following elements:
- consisting of signs/codes, sounds, and/or images
- can be conserved (the supports are inert elements)
- can be reproduced and transported
- is the result of a deliberate documentation process.
Four: Seminar Topics
The 2014 seminar is the first “Memory of the World” event to be convened in Taiwan. Esteemed guests and keynote speakers include Dr. Roslyn Russell, former chairperson of the Memory of the World IAC, former IAC member Dato Habibah Zon Yahaya, Dr. Yang Kai-jing, who has lobbied for the inclusion of Macao Catholic Church documents in Memory of the World Register for the Asia-Pacific region, and Tatsuo Aso, who has worked for the inclusion in Memory of the World Register of the collection of annotated paintings by Sakubei Yamamoto of coal miners in the Japanese city of Tagawa in Fukuoka Prefecture.
Domestic experts will deliver speeches on such topics as Taiwan’s experience in promoting digital collection of memories, research on Taiwan’s documentation and Xingang Township records, and Taiwan’s application for oracle bone inscriptions to be included in Memory of the World Register. Domestic book-and-document collection organizations such as the National Central Library, the National Archives Administration under the National Development Council, and the National Taiwan Library will also share their experiences in preserving and utilizing documentary heritage.
- Date: Oct. 6 (Monday) - Oct. 7 (Tuesday), 2014
- Venue: Conference Hall, National Central Library
- Address: 3F, No. 20 Zhongshan South Road, Taipei City
- Organizers: Ministry of Culture, Bureau of Cultural Heritage, National Central Library, Institute of Historica