Softwareheritage.org, UNESCO and Inria open the Archive of the Digital Age

06 June 2018

UNESCO and Inria will open the archive of Softwareheritage.org, a worldwide initiative to create a universal library of computer programme source codes since the dawn of the digital age on June 7.

One year after the signing of a partnership agreement between Inria and UNESCO, the launch event at UNESCO’s Headquarters on 7 June (3 to 4.30 pm), will include a demonstration of the website’s functions, with the participation of François Sillion, Chief Executive Officer of the French National Institute for computer science and applied mathematics (Inria).

The Software Heritage initiative aims to preserve and share the source codes of all software programmes that have been giving life to computers since the middle of last century.

Over 4 billion unique source code files, including their successive iterations and more than 83 million software projects in all fields are already available from the online archive.

UNESCO encourages universal access to information and the preservation of knowledge. The Charter on the Preservation of Digital Heritage, adopted in 2003, states that digital documents include, among a wide range of electronic formats, texts, databases, images, audio-documents and Web pages.

“Softwareheritage.org marks a necessary addition to UNESCO’s longstanding heritage work,” says Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO. “The project embodies commitments that are at the heart of our mandate: favouring the free flow of information and culture, and fostering intellectual cooperation for peace and development.”

Roberto Di Cosmo, Director of the project welcomed the fact that “The opening to the public of the Software Heritage archive is an important milestone: everyone can at last consult and download the contents of the archive we have been building for three years. We are on a long-term mission, and much remains to be done. We need to find and archive all the source codes that are still missing, and add features that will make the archive easy to use for everybody: developers, scientists, historians, and society as a whole. We need new partners, and the support of all to develop the archive further.”

Examples of available files available on Softwareheritage:

Available in English, French and Spanish, softwareheritage.org, marks a strong commitment to preserve and share the knowledge embedded in software, notably in open source programmes. Software Heritage has received the support of numerous private and public bodies and institutions including, Microsoft, Intel, Société Générale and Nokia Bell Labs, to name but a few.

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Journalists wishing to cover the event should  request accreditation from Djibril Kebe, UNESCO Media Section, d.kebe@unesco.org, +33(0)145681741

UNESCO Media Contact: Roni Amelan, UNESCO Media Section, r.amelan@unesco.org , +33(0)145681650