UAE calls for productive global efforts in preserving irreplaceable legacies

UAE calls for productive global efforts in preserving irreplaceable legacies

National Archives hosts 3-day UNESCO meeting on archiving
UAE calls for productive global efforts in preserving irreplaceable legacies

Dr. Abdulla El Reyes, Director General of the UAE National Archives called for more productive global efforts in preserving humanity’s documentary heritage and advancing the professional preservation of  irreplaceable legacies.
He was delivering the opening speech at the second meeting of the PERSIST (Platform to Enhance the Sustainability of the Information Society Transglobally) project.
PERSIST is part of the Memory of the World Programme of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Dr. Al Reyes is the current chairman of Memory of the World Programme.
The meeting is hosted by the National Archives of UAE I Abu Dhabi. Attending are experts from 12 countries who are discussing the development of digital preservation policies.
Welcoming the experts of the PERSIST project to their first meeting in Abu Dhabi Dr. Al Reyes expressed his hope that the meeting will provide the opportunity to address the challenges shared by the professionals, governments and the private sector in preserving documentary heritage in digital forms in which it is increasingly being created and made available for access.
He reminded the participants that there is much work to be done in finalizing and promulgating guidelines for content selection that would make the challenges more manageable, in developing and putting on a firm foundation the software technology platforms that would enable access to legacy documents, and in establishing policy guidelines that would provide institutional and national frameworks where they are most needed for the preservation of digital documentary heritage.
Dr. Al Reyes expressed confidence that the PERSIST meeting will be successful in formulating programs for increasing public awareness on the importance of preserving documentary heritage.
The first PERSIST meeting was held in Paris in April 2015. The Abu Dhabi meeting, which is being held from 14-16 March 2016, initiated discussions on the policies and guidelines for documentary of heritage, sustainability of information and on a range of issues related to the organization of platforms for the preservation of heritage software.
Frank La Rue, Assistant Director General for Communication and Information Sector of UNESCO; Andrée van Es, President, Netherlands UNESCO Commission, Ingrid Parent representing IFLA, David Fricker, representing the  ICA and Robert Buckley, from the National Archives addressed the  group welcoming session of the meeting.
The second day of the meeting witnessed focus groups deliberating on three major aspects of archiving: content, policy and technology. An expert from each group presented the topic, which went for further discussions.
Archiving best practices from China, the US and the UK were presented in the meeting. Fu Hua spoke on the current situation on the preservation of digital archives in China, Meg Phillips on digital preservation at the US National Archives and Records Administration and Maureen Pennock on digital preservation at the British Library.
Other presentations of the day included “Open Preservation - facing the challenges of digital preservation sustainability” by Joachim Jung, “The Digital Preservation Coalition Strategic Plan 2015 – 2018” by Maureen Pennock, “The Many Levels of Digital Representation: Implications for PERSIST and Beyond” by Christopher Lee, “Advances in Digital Archiving from the EC E-ARK project” by Janet Delve, and “Learning from experience : what we can learn from early digital preservation adopters” by Jonathan Tilbury.