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66th IFLA Council and General

Jerusalem, Israel, 13-18 August


Code Number: 157-115-E
Division Number: VI
Professional Group: Audiovisual and Multimedia
Joint Meeting with:
Meeting Number: 115
Simultaneous Interpretation: No

A multimedia project on preventive conservation of archival and library collections

Astrid Brandt-Grau
Mission de la recherche et de la technologie
direction de l'administration générale
Ministère de la culture et de la
communication Paris, France

E.mail: astrid.brandt@.culture.fr




All throughout history, libraries and archives have been the guardians of the documentary heritage of mankind. Although during past centuries the writing medium underwent only very few changes, from parchment to paper, the last two centuries have seen the recurrent emergence of the new media, ranging from daguerreotype to digital disc.

Given the rapid evolution of the new technologies, safeguarding the cultural heritage becomes more and more a concern for specialists. At the same time the participation of the entire library and archive profession is necessary. It has become equally indispensable to raise awareness among decision-makers, professionals and the public at large.

One of the main goals of the UNESCO "Memory of the World" programme is to promote the preservation of the documentary heritage of mankind. Thus a guide providing the recommended practices and listing the standards and reference literature related to preservation of documents of all kinds was published by the Sub-Committee on Technology of the Memory of the World Programme. In order to disseminate this guide among a wider range of users, hoping that it becomes an initial or permanent training tool, UNESCO contracted IFLA to create a thoroughly illustrated CD-ROM both in English and French on the causes of deterioration of library collections and archival documents as well as on the preventive measures to be taken. Thanks to the hypertext links this CD-ROM should be able to extend the possibilities of research by providing the links with other Internet sites dealing with similar information in the preservation field.

Besides the participation of the experts from UNESCO "Memory of the World" programme who edited the Guide, the CD-ROM is the result of work and fruitful collaboration of many library an archives professionals along with their institutions. This project, directed by IFLA PAC (Preservation and Conservation) Core Programme, hosted by the National Library of France, was carried out successfully thanks to scientific assistance from the Mission on Research and Technology of the French Ministry of Culture.


Recommended practices are fundamental for the good preservation of the collections. These practices and measures are represented in the CD ROM, designed to become a working tool for all the persons in charge of library or archival collections.

The CD ROM includes six chapters:

  • environment and storage
  • disaster planning
  • graphic documents
  • photographic documents and films
  • mechanical carriers
  • magnetic carriers
  • optic carriers
  • electronic publications, electronic documents and virtual information
Each section was written by a specialist in the field. They define document types, deterioration factors and preventive measures. Some sections have synopsis.

Remedial measures are deliberately not considered here since they require the involvement of trained and experienced restorers.

Specific terms used are defined in the glossary. Hypertext links help to enhance the information on the CD-ROM by referring to other selected and constantly updated sites relevant to this field.

Each section includes a select bibliography and information on international standards already published or in preparation. These standards can be used as recommendations or specifications according to each case.

The sections are fully illustrated - the CD-ROM with 400 pictures helps to deepen our knowledge and can be used as a basis for preparation of a course or a conference.

Part of the content of the CD-ROM will also be made available on the websites of UNESCO (http://www.unesco.org/webworld/mdm/index.html)) and of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication (http://www.culture.gouv.fr/culture/conservation/fr/).

If you wish to receive a CD ROM please contact :

Abdelaziz ABID
Responsible of the Memory of the World programme, UNESCO
E-mail : a.abid@unesco.org

Marie-Thérèse VARLAMOFF
Director of the project
Bibliothèque nationale de France
E-mail : marie-therese.varlamoff@bnf.fr

Scientific co-ordinator of the project
Department of Research and Technology
French Ministry of Culture and Communication
E-mail : astrid.brandt@culture.fr


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