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Polish National IFAP Committee supports national digitization efforts

The Polish National Information for All Programme (IFAP) Committee brought together some 80 experts in Warsaw, on 20 March 2013, at the expert seminar “The Processes of Digitisation of Audio-visual Resources (Films and TV Production)”. This event fostered an exchange of practices, discussions on the state of the art and national policies for the preservation, dissemination and transmission of information and cultural heritage in Poland.

The seminar was organised under the auspices of the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage, by the Polish National Commission for UNESCO and the Polish National IFAP Committee, in collaboration with the Head Office of State Archives. The event, organized in the framework of the Information Preservation priority of IFAP, generated considerable national interest and brought together information professionals from public institutions and the private sector, involved in publicly-funded digitisation projects.

Since 2010, national activities for converting analogue audio-visual resources into digital formats have been undertaken in Poland. This work has focused on the restoration of masterpieces of Polish cinematography and has been implemented with public funding provided through the Government’s Kultura Plus (Culture Plus) Programme and the operational activities of the Polish Film Institute.

The digitization of audio-visual resources is an extremely complex process which is still in its infancy. However, the fragility of audio-visual materials, the rapid obsolescence of digital technologies coupled with the necessity of transmitting this content to future generations, makes digitization an urgent and important task for all countries. 

Although international standards have been developed, they currently only address some aspects of the digitization process. At the national level, the development of policies is also challenging as a multiplicity of factors and national specificities including ensuring adequate financial and human resources must be addressed. The Warsaw seminar is therefore a tangible IFAP response to this need and builds on national expert meetings organized in June 2010 by the Polish IFAP Committee as well as international IFAP and UNESCO conferences on digital preservation organized in 2011 in Moscow and in 2012 in Vancouver.

In addition to supporting the exchange of national best practices, the seminar yielded a number of recommendations which will serve to advance the on-going digitization efforts and contribute to broader national information society policies, frameworks and strategies.

The Polish IFAP Committee was established in 2008, as an expert body of the Polish National Commission for UNESCO. Its members and partners are drawn from leading experts and professionals in the public and private sectors as well as civil society. The Committee has been stimulating the national information society debates in such areas as digital information and content accessibility, digitisation as well as media and information literacy. The Committee has been active in developing policy briefs, and in stimulating the national information society debate and helping to move from diverging viewpoint to broader consensus around issues such as the use of ICT in schools and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

The intergovernmental Information for All Programme was established in 2001 to provide a platform for international policy discussions and guidelines for action in the area of access to information and knowledge and for the participation of all in the knowledge societies.

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