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UTSC’s Chief Librarian helps out UNESCO

UTSC Chief Librarian Victoria Owen (far right) at the Przezdziecki Palace in Warsaw, Poland. Owen was invited to help UNESCO draft a recommendation for the preservation of heritage materials.

UTSC’s Chief Librarian Victoria Owen is passionate about the preservation of historical and cultural artefacts.

Her passion and expertise in copyright led to a recent invite from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to help draft a recommendation for the preservation of heritage materials.  

Owen was one of 20 global experts invited to take part in a conference in Warsaw last month aimed at laying out the legal framework over how to digitize important historical artifacts while also enabling permanent access to the materials.  

“It was a distinct honour to take part in the conference and represent Canada and the University,” says Owen. “It was exciting to be part of a group representing such a wide range of expertise and all deeply committed to preserving important historical artefacts.” 

The effort is part of UNESCO’s Memory of the World project that seeks to raise awareness about the world’s diverse heritage by focusing on the protection of historically important documentary materials. Owen says the draft recommendation will help create a formal legal instrument and provide clarity for UNESCO member nations in their efforts to digitally preserve important social, cultural, economic and political documents.

“These materials are vitally important because they tell us who we are and where we came from,” says Owen. “It’s important they remain accessible and can be appreciated well into the future.”    

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