PERSIST Symposium, Canberra, 3 October 2018

UNESCO PERSIST | 3 October 2018

UNESCO Memory of the World, National Archives of Australia and International Council on Archives present a symposium:

Lost in the Cloud - Saving Humanity's Digital Documentary Heritage

Digital documentary heritage has critical importance for humanity – it has become a key resource for knowledge creation and sharing. In every corner of the world, we are changing from an industrial society into an information society. Nevertheless, we have not yet been able, publicly or privately, to find sustainable economic solutions to achieve ‘continuity of content’ upon which our cultural identity depends. Sustainability of the information society is a shared responsibility of public and private parties. The main parties to act on this responsibility are governments, memory institutions in the broadest sense of the term, and the ICT industry.

UNESCO has a convening power on a global level to bring these parties to the table. PERSIST, a UNESCO program under the Memory of the World banner, aims to create a space to support dialogue among these parties to enhance the continuity of content.

The Vancouver Declaration

At the Memory of the World Conference in Vancouver (September 2012) international experts agreed that there is a pressing need to establish a roadmap for solutions, agreements and policies, that ensure long-term access to and trustworthy preservation of digital information. In order to establish such a roadmap, governments, social organisations and the ICT industry will have to work together.

The UNESCO/UBC Vancouver Declaration was the starting point of the PERSIST project. However, the rationale behind PERSIST is not new. In 2003, in its visionary Charter on the Preservation for Digital Heritage, article 12, UNESCO defined its task ‘to serve as a reference point and a forum where Member States, intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector may join together in elaborating objectives, policies and projects in favour of the preservation of the digital heritage’. This call to action was reinforced in UNESCO’s 2015 recommendation concerning the preservation of, and access to, documentary heritage including in digital form.

The PERSIST project

In the PERSIST project, as part of the Action Plan for Strengthening the Memory of the World Programme (adopted by the 191th executive board, objective 4a), UNESCO has joined forces with the International Council on Archives (ICA) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) to provide a global platform with the convening and advocacy power of UNESCO. In close cooperation with other stakeholders, the PERSIST project aims to enhance the sustainability of the information society by establishing continuity of
preservation of and access to information. In doing so,
PERSIST seeks to help secure important mechanisms of good governance and the right of access to knowledge and information. To accomplish this, PERSIST will work to establish cooperation and dialogue between governments, social organisations and the ICT industry, and to create practical solutions in the area of sustainable digital preservation.

The symposium

This symposium will hear presentations from government, academia and the ICT industry exploring the nature of digital heritage and the vulnerabilities that place it at risk. Speakers will consider the implications, threats and opportunities presented by technological advancements or the loss of documentary heritage to future memory, education and cultural heritage.

Download the Programme below: