UNESCO proposes to organize an international conference from 26 to 28 September 2012 in Vancouver (BC) Canada, to explore the main issues affecting the preservation of digital documentary heritage, in order to develop strategies that will contribute to greater protection of digital assets and help to define an implementation methodology that is appropriate for developing countries, in particular.

The conference will bring together professionals from the heritage sectors, as well as a range of government, IT industry, rightsholders and other stakeholders to assess current policies in order to propose practical recommendations to ensure permanent access to digital documentary heritage.

Although knowledge is today primarily created and accessed through digital media, it is highly ephemeral and its disappearance could lead to the impoverishment of humanity. Despite the adoption of the UNESCO Charter on the Preservation of the Digital Heritage in 2003, there is still insufficient awareness of the risks of loss of digital heritage.

Digital information has economic value as a cultural product and as a source of knowledge. It plays a major role in national sustainable development as, increasingly, personal, governmental and commercial information is created in digital form only. But digitized national assets also constitute an immense wealth of the countries concerned and of society at large. The disappearance of this heritage will engender economic and cultural impoverishment and hamper the advancement of knowledge.

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