UNESCO Roadmap for Long Term Access to Digital Heritage


As a continuation of the implementation of the outcomes of the conference “Memory of the World in the Digital Age: Digitization and Preservation” (Vancouver, 26 to 28 September 2012), the National Archives and the Royal Library of the Netherlands will host the inaugural meeting of the UNESCO Digital Roadmap project. The meeting will be held on 5 and 6 December 2013 in The Hague, where experts from various backgrounds will introduce current and future challenges facing heritage institutions worldwide in providing reliable long-term access to digital information.

This initiative was one of the recommendations formulated in the UNESCO/UBC Vancouver Declaration which mentions the:

    pressing need to establish a roadmap proposing solutions, agreements and policies that ensure long term access and trustworthy preservation. This 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.

Although the 2003 UNESCO Charter for the Preservation of the Digital Heritage recommended that partners from the heritage sector, government and industry should cooperate and learn to understand each other's position, it seems that little solid progress has been made. Projects and conferences abound, but it has proved to be very difficult to bring the major players from these three sectors together. In The Hague, discussion will focus on inaugurating a platform where this will be possible, and where cooperation on shared issues will help to bridge the divides between state and non-state, as well as between profit and 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 Institutions (IFLA). Global companies, including Microsoft and Google that participated in the Vancouver Memory of the World Conference, have been asked to represent industry. The programme will be posted online at a later date.

The meeting on Thursday afternoon is open to the public. Participation is free, but as the number of places is limited, registration is necessary. This should be done through email to scunesco(at)unesco.nl with “UNESCO Digital Roadmap” in the email header and the name, professional affiliation, address and telephone number in the body text.

The meeting is organized 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.