From the UN:
More than 80 unique documentary items and collections from around the world have been nominated for inscription this year on the Memory of the World Register List run by the United Nations culture agency in an effort to promote and preserve them through digitization.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched the Memory of the World Register in 1995 to guard against collective amnesia and preserve valuable archives and library collections from all over the world.
The agency’s 14 member International Advisory Committee (IAC) of the Memory of the World Programme will review the 80 nominees when it convenes in Manchester, United Kingdom, from 22 to 25 May.
Collections proposed for inscription this year span a gamut of cultural items including the Ben Cao Gang Mu, the most complete compendium of traditional Chinese medicine, Iran’s oldest book on mathematics and astrology, and the personal library of Russian writer Leo Tolstoy.
After consideration by the committee, the inscriptions will be submitted to UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova for her endorsement before they can join the other 193 items on the register.
Last year Ms. Bokova emphasized the importance of preserving the world’s “collective memory” to ensure its transmission to future generations. “We must understand the past to shape a common future founded on dialogue and understanding,” she said, cautioning that without the preservation of cultural heritage future generations would forget seminal moments in human history.
Collections proposed for inscription on the Register this year include the most complete compendium of traditional Chinese medicine (Ben Cao Gang Mu, written in the 16th century); the archives of the 20th century Austrian composer Arnold Schönberg; Iran’s oldest book on mathematics and astrology, Al-Tafhim li Awa’il Sana’at al-Tanjim, by the renowned Abu-Rayhan al-Biruni (973-1048 AD); the personal library of Russian writer Leo Tolstoy (including manuscripts, photographs and films), and Trinidad and Tobago’s Constantine Collection of documents pertaining to the extraordinary life of Trinidad-born Learie Nicholas Constantine, Baron Constantine of Maraval (1901-1971), who after gaining fame as a cricketer rose to prominence as a pioneer in human rights issues in the United Kingdom and beyond.