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63rd IFLA General Conference - Conference Programme and Proceedings - August 31- September 5, 1997

Report of the work of the PAC Core Programme

Marie-Thérèse Varlamoff, Director
IFLA PAC Core Programme
Paris, France


The PAC Programme (Preservation and Conservation) was created in 1986 in Vienna. Unlike IFLA's other core programmes, PAC has been conceived in a decentralized way with a focal point, called the International Centre, and Regional Centres disseminated throughout the world.

The International Centre sets the overall policy, manages activities and promotes preservation among other bodies already involved in preservation.

Today, there are five existing Regional Centres respectively located in:

A sixth Centre hosted by the Deutsche Bücherei and responsible for Eastern Europe has decided in December 1996 to transfer its responsibility for Eastern European countries programme to these countries themselves. A call for tenders was sent to all important libraries and associations. Upon examination of the different proposals the Executive Board will nominate the newly selected hosting library.


IFLA PAC has one major goal: to ensure that library materials, published and unpublished, in all formats, will be preserved in accessible form for as long as possible. Three major principles support this goal:

To reach its goal PAC efforts and activities aim to:


Notwithsanding our efforts to increase its visibility PAC has focused its work during the last twelve months on four points:

3.1- Publications

From now on the PAC Newsletter International Preservation News is issued three times a year and the articles published in the mother tongue of their authors (English, French or Spanish) with summaries in the other two languages.

3.2- Africa

The JICPA (Joint IFLA/ICA Committee for Preservation in Africa) held its 2nd meeting in Dakar last February. Though our African colleagues are very enthusiastic and many countries have set up national commissions on preservation, communication represents a serious hindrance to cooperation. A French speaking workshop on preservation was organized in Dakar last April. Funded by the BIEF it gathered thirteen participants from ten different countries. This first workshop may be considered as a test and will allow us to better meet the expectancies of the participants to future workshops.

3.3- Permanent paper

I have participated in two major meetings in Ottawa (Oct. 96) and the Hague (March 97) enhancing the concern of librarians and governmental authorities towards the problem of acid paper. Canada will propose a resolution on the use of permanent paper to the vote of next general conference of UNESCO. In order to raise awareness on the problem of acid papers PAC is setting up a travelling exhibition to be first shown in France and then, if it proves to be successful, accross Europe. If you wish more information about this matter, a leaflet on permanent paper is also available at the BnF stand. We hope to incite the nations to back the resolution on the use of permanent paper and thus increase its use around the world.

3.4- Photography

Amongst PAC concerns the preservation of photographs has a special place. Last November a Round Table, funded by UNESCO, gathered in Rio de Janeiro specialists from various Latin American countries who exchanged their experiences and points of view on the care of their photographic collections. The Round Table was a success. As a follow up it was decided to produce a CD ROM of XIXth century photographs from Latin America and the Carribean; Hopefully, the CD ROM, funded by UNESCO, will be released by the end of the year.


The role of PAC is essentially international and aims to bring more countries and institutions to work together for the benefit of preservation. This international role is visible through four main activities :

4.1- Internet

PAC international Focal Point has developed two home pages on the Net, one in English on the IFLANET, the other in French on the BnF web site. Both include a description of PAC principles, objectives and activities and present the latest issues of the PAC Newsletter, International Preservation News. Amongst the regional centres let us point out the Washington and Canberra web sites that you can see on the transparency.

4.2- Cooperation

Cooperation is the key word which describes the aim and overall activities of the programme. Without it PAC would not exist. This cooperation is manyfold : among PAC centres, among IFLA professional bodies, such as other Core Programmes and especially ALP, Sections, particularly the Section on Preservation and Conservation which is our closest partner, and Round Tables.

Cooperation with other international bodies or NGOs is essential to the development and success of most of PAC activities. Moreover, it is the only way to avoid duplication of efforts and to enforce the efficiency of concerted activities. We are always looking for new partners but have been up to now dealing essentially with the CPA (Commission on Preservation and Access), the ECPA (European Commission on Preservation and Access), ICA (International Council on Archives) UNESCO and the BIEF (Banque Internationale des Etats Francophones). Various activities such as publications, translations, surveys, workshops or round tables stand among our cooperative achievements, without letting aside the continuous collaboration of PAC in the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme.

4.3- Conferences and Seminars

One important activities of PAC members is their participation in international or regional conferences or seminars. Most of the time they attend them as speakers, chairmen or representatives of IFLA. During the past year I have personally attended more than a dozen professional events, trying to raise awareness on preservation problems and issues. The other Directors of PAC regional centres have not spared efforts either.

4.4- Forthcoming events

Among the projects for the following years I would like to indicate two major events: