Calls for New Nominations for Memory of the World International Register

25 October 2007

UNESCO is inviting new nomination proposals for inscription on its Memory of the World International Register, a list of library collections and archive holdings of world significance, which was established in 1997 to promote documentary heritage of universal value.

Nominations should ideally be submitted through the National Commission for UNESCO or the Memory of the World National Committee in the country where it is located. Proposals should be based on the selection criteria listed in the General Guidelines to Safeguard Documentary Heritage, which stipulates that the most important criterion for inscription on the register is the universal significance of the documentary heritage.

The deadline for the submission of nominations is 31 March 2008 and no late submissions will be accepted. They should be submitted to UNESCO's Memory of the World Secretariat:

  • by mail accompanied by an electronic version on diskette or CD-Rom (addressed to UNESCO, Memory of the World Programme, Information Society Division, 1, rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France);
  • by email to
Nominations are posted on the Programmes Website and illustrations such as photographs or slides (TIFF, GIF, JPEG formats), and sound recordings (real-media) can be included to help describe the proposal. As the images submitted may often be used by the Memory of the World Secretariat in publicity material, an authorization for their reuse for non-profit purposes should also be included. A copy of this form can be downloaded here.

At present, a total of 158 collections submitted by 67 different countries, an international organization and one private foundation are inscribed on the International Register of the Memory of the World Programme. National Registers have been established in Australia, China, Mexico and Poland. The Programme, set up by UNESCO in 1992 to protect documentary heritage, helps networks of experts to exchange information and raise resources for preservation of and access to documentary material. Assessment for inscription on the Register is determined by a panel of experts, the Register Sub-committee and the International Advisory Committee (IAC) whose recommendations are forwarded to the Director-General for final decision.

The announcement on the next round of inscription will be made in July 2009.

Documentary heritage reflects the diversity of languages, peoples and cultures. It is the mirror of the world and its memory. But this memory is fragile. Every day, irreplaceable parts of this memory disappear for ever.

UNESCO has launched the Memory of the World Programme to guard against collective amnesia calling upon the preservation of the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world ensuring their wide dissemination.

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