About the UNESCO World Documentary Heritage.
The UNESCO World Documentary Heritage encompasses 238 documents from all over the world.
The UNESCO world documentary heritage program, “Memory of the World,” is a working program with the help of which it is planned to create a worldwide digital network of selected outstanding documents. They include valuable stocks of books, manuscripts, scores, and other unique items, documentary photos, films and sound recordings, as well as documents bearing testimony to decisive cultural, political and technical events.
Some 100 UNESCO member states work together in the program, launched in 1992. The aim is to ensure free access to culturally and historically important documents and preserve the documentary heritage from destruction and oblivion.
Every two years the participating countries can propose documents for inclusion in the UNESCO Register. Joint nominations by several countries also are possible. The condition is a scientific explanation why the proposed document possesses uniqueness and worldwide significance due to its influence on art, politics and society. An international committee discusses the submitted proposals. The acting UNESCO Director-General then decides which documents are inscribed in the Register.
The institution which holds a document included in the Register must undertake to make the document freely accessible to the public and permanently ensure its preservation. Currently the Register encompasses 238 documents from all over the world, including for example the 21 Theses of Solidarnosc, the Archives of the Warsaw Ghetto and the Gutenberg Bible.
“Memory of the World”
In 1886, Carl Benz submitted the patent for his motor car at the Imperial Patent Office in Berlin. This invention is considered to be the birth of the automobile. It has changed and formed individual mobility worldwide to this day. UNESCO is keeping a record of this symbol of mobile society by its admission of the Benz Patent into UNESCO’s “Memory of the World” International Documentary Heritage Register.