Memory of the World
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, parts of this memory disappear forever.
UNESCO’s Memory of the World (MoW) programme promotes preservation of and access to the world’s archive holdings and library collections. The vision of the programme is a simple but powerful one – the world’s documentary heritage belongs to all, should be fully preserved and protected for all and, with due recognition of cultural mores and practicalities, should be permanently accessible to all without hindrance.
Download the publication, 'Safeguarding the documentary heritage of humanity', for further details of the Memory of the World Programme' (PDF, 3.4 MB).
These values are promoted through the Memory of the World International Register – a catalogue of documentary heritage of global significance and outstanding universal value. Corresponding regional and country-level registers have also been established around the world to honour documentary heritage of local significance. The UK-level Memory of the World Register was launched in 2009.
In addition to maintaining the International Register, the MoW programme works to raise awareness of documentary heritage and to alert governments, the general public, business and commerce to preservation needs. The programme also raises funds and provides expertise to support preservation and digitisation projects in developing countries and for archives at risk.
Visit the UNESCO Memory of the World website to find out more about this programme.
The UK Memory of the World Committee, which was established under the auspices of the UK National Commission for UNESCO in 2008, manages and monitors the MoW programme in the UK.