UN highlights its archives at the International Archival Culture Exhibition 2010

The United Nations' archival holdings in multiple formats are enjoying a global spotlight this week during the International Archival Culture Exhibition 2010 in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

The Secretary-General, in his video message to the opening of the Exhibition, stressed the importance of archives, saying that “Archives come alive when they are open and accessible to all. We must treasure them and preserve them for future generations.”

Held this year from 1 to 6 June, the IACE 2010 is one of the major events on the calendar of archivists from all over the world. Sponsored by the National Archives of Korea (NAK), the UN exhibit at the event showcases selected archival records - text, photographs, audio and videos - covering various historic collections of the work of the Organization over the last 65 years.

Eight display panels, with still photographs from Headquarters and the field as well as images of archival records from key moments in the UN history, track the birth and development of the Organization and its relationship to the Republic of Korea. Thematic slide shows with samples of historic photos, videos and documents inform exhibition visitors about the world organization. They will also have online access to the UN websites displaying a wealth of information about the Organization.

18 major national archives as well as UNESCO and other archival institutions and organizations are participating in the exhibition, which is expected to attract over 50,000 visitors. A large number of archival industry representatives are also present, demonstrating the newest methods, technologies and tools for the management of records and archives, both in analog and digital formats.

Two UN staff members – Antonio da Silva of the Multimedia Resources Unit (MRU) in the Department of Public Information, and Paola Casini of the Archives and Records Management Section (ARMS) in the Department of Management - are representing the Organization.

“The IACE is a great opportunity to publicize the UN archives and its rich collections,” said Mr. da Silva, Chief of MRU, stressing the need to “promote earlier as well as current products and services, such as UN Radio programmes, UNTV series, photographs, and ARMS archival collections.”

“The exchange of technical and professional information and best practices with major national archives, as well as the collaboration and sharing of information about collection management, accessibility, preservation and the promotion of documentary heritage are among the main benefits for the UN”, according to Casini, the Chief of the Archives Unit of ARMS. She points out that other positive outcomes include “learning about equipment and related cutting-edge IT solutions for records and archives management.”

International events like IACE also bring the opportunity to seek collaborative projects between the UN and participating institutions, organizations and governments to promote the accessibility and preservation of collections.

The five-month, intensive preparation for the event involved an active cooperation between MRU and ARMS, with support from the Promotion and Distribution Unit of DPI. This very talented, hard-working team of staff, interns and volunteers met tight deadlines to ensure a successful exhibit.

The world will benefit the most with the UN heritage preserved for generations to come.  

Author: United Nations Department of Public Information

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