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Submissions/Wikipedia for UNESCO Memory of the World

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This is an Open submission for Wikimania 2017 that has not yet been reviewed by a member of the Programme Committee.

Submission no. 5008 Subject - G1
Title of the submission

Wikipedia for UNESCO Memory of the World

Type of submission (lecture, panel, tutorial/workshop, roundtable discussion, lightning talk, poster, birds of a feather discussion)


Author of the submission

Wittylama (talk)

Language of presentation

I am able to speak in both languages. Therefore:

  • Presentation in French / English
  • Question/Answer session in both English and French, as required.
E-mail address



Wittylama (talk)

Country of origin

Australia (citizenship); Italy (residence)

Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
  • Member of: Wikimedia Australia, Wikimedia Italia.
  • Elected to: Funds Dissemination Committee.
  • Employer: Europeana.
Personal homepage or blog


Abstract (up to 300 words to describe your proposal)

In 2011, led by WM-DE, a campaign was launched to promote Wikipedia for World Heritage status. As an awareness campaign it was successful, but the goal of being registered with a heritage status was not met. However, a much less well known project exists: UNESCO Memory of the World - specifically for recognising the heritage value of documents - individual or collections, in any medium. In late-2017/early-2018 the next two-year process of nominations will begin, and I will be working to ensure Wikipedia will be included among them - discussions have been underway for this project since mid-2015.

Each nomination must demonstrate that the document/collection is particularly significant according to at least one of the following aspects: Time or Place of creation; the People or language it represents; its Subject/Theme; or its Form/Style. In this presentation I will argue that Wikipedia is in fact of heritage-significance for all of these factors and therefore should be the first born-digital item inscribed on the register. However, the rules also state that: "The documentary heritage nominated must be finite and precisely defined; broad, general or open-ended nominations will not be accepted...Once added to the Memory of the World Register, the document group cannot be varied or redefined over time." But re-use and modification is the vernacular culture of internet society, and Wikipedia is an exemplar of that. What does heritage mean for culture if it must stay fixed?

This presentation will discuss this philosophical questions about the nomination for Wikipedia to be inscribed as Memory of the World. Equally, it will discuss practical considerations of such a nomination (how it would affect Wikipedia and the community; what, exactly, is being nominated) and seek feedback from attendees about how to best proceed.

What will attendees take away from this session?
Theme of presentation
  • GLAM
Length of session (if other than 25 minutes, specify how long)

25 minutes (or as requested)

Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?

Probably not. Attendance is based on scholarship application, which itself is highly dependent on presentation submission acceptance. I have one other proposed presentation.

Slides or further information (optional)
Special requests


Is this Submission a Draft or Final?

This is a Completed submission for Wikimania 2017 ready to be reviewed by a member of the Programme Committee.

Interested attendees

If you are interested in attending this session, please sign with your username below. This will help reviewers to decide which sessions are of high interest. Sign with a hash and four tildes. (# ~~~~).

  1. John Cummings (talk) 15:47, 24 March 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Daniel Mietchen (talk) 01:53, 10 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Jason.nlw (talk) 14:13, 20 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  4. ...