Preservation and conservation specialists recently travelled from Jordan to Doha, Qatar for a workshop on best practices hosted by UNESCO and the Qatar National Library.
This initiative falls under the UNESCO “Memory of the World” Programme (MoW) within the organization's mandate to build knowledge societies and preserve cultural heritage, including documentary heritage. The MoW programme is an, “international initiative launched to safeguard the documentary heritage of humanity against collective amnesia, neglect, the ravages of time and climatic conditions, and willful and deliberate destruction”.
The workshop in Doha was attended by five book and manuscript conservation specialists from Jordan with the goal of sharing and exploring knowledge, experiences and the latest methodologies employed throughout the phases of the conservation and preservation processes.
One key highlight of the visit was the opportunity for the Jordanian team to connect with the conservators’ team working at the library and to visit the conservation studio and digitization center.
Ms. Nawal Alaqeel, a participant from the Jordan National Library felt inspired by the training. “The experience has been eye opening; the best moment for me was on the second day, when we visited the Digitization Center and were able to share ideas with digital specialists”. Ms. Alaqeel is returning to Jordan with a sense of optimism.
There is so much potential for digital preservation advancements in Jordan. This workshop provided me and my colleagues with a great deal of information and we cannot wait to get back to our institutions to start working on new methodologies related to digital preservation.
Throughout lectures, discussions, demonstrations, laboratory sessions and practical activities, important contributions were made by QNL staff and experts, who shared a wealth of experience on the different policies and tools needed to approach building digital preservation activities. The Qatar National Library specialists also developed a set of practical measures focused on preservation and disaster risk reduction and management as a key strategy for the sustainable preservation of documentary heritage.
Ms. Hanan Daghmash, from the Ministry of Culture, felt similarly stimulated by the sessions. “We were delighted to share with the Qatar National Library the challenges and training needs of heritage institutions in Jordan. The training is more important than ever, as the preservation of valuable heritage in the region is facing several challenges, including, limited resources and lack of technical expertise”.
Also in attendance, Ms. Ikhlas Al Khawaldeh of the UNESCO Amman office reflected on her experiences. “This event has come as a result of a unique collaboration between the UNESCO Amman office, Qatar National Library and UNESCO Doha office, in a collective effort to support participants by bolstering their skills and knowledge. It is important that experts from libraries and cultural institutions understand scientific methods and are equipped with modern skills to preserve heritage in libraries and museums together with their governments”.
This initiative supports the Qatar National Library’s ongoing role as the regional Preservation and Conservation Centre (PAC) for Arab countries and the Middle East. The Library was selected as the regional PAC in 2015 by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).