This publication presents the proceedings of the international conference ‘Memory of the World in the Digital Age: Digitization and Preservation’ which was held in Vancouver, Canada, from 26 to 28 September 2012. More than 500 experts and other interested persons from all regions of the world participated in this knowledge-sharing and policy-driving event to discuss and exchange opinions on how to protect the world’s documentary heritage. Although this heritage is the record of knowledge, its physical carriers are extremely vulnerable and can easily disappear without a trace. Whether recorded on a clay tablet or an electronic tablet, our methods of sharing content and knowledge need to be protected.
It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of documentary heritage in our lives. It governs our actions whether these relate to creating the basis of mutual respect between different civilizations and communities or building knowledge societies. Documentary heritage provides the foundation of peace, our identity and knowledge. UNESCO’s interest in this subject matter is as fundamental as its constitution with its mandate to contribute to building peace through the spread of knowledge from improved access to printed and published materials. These core materials, our documentary heritage, have been preserved in archives, libraries and museums for generations.