The world’s audiovisual heritage is endangered with some of it having been lost through chemical decay, lack of resources, skills, and structures. More will be lost if stronger and concerted international action is not taken. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in coordination with other organizations have taken the lead in preserving and sharing these documents.
To raise global awareness of the significance of audiovisual documents and to draw attention to the need to safeguard and preserve them, World Audiovisual Day was proclaimed by the UNESCO in 2005 and is celebrated on October 27 annually. The theme for 2012 is “Audiovisual Heritage Memory? The Clock is Ticking.”
Audiovisual documents include films, radio and televisions programs, and audio and video recordings contain the principal records of the 20th and 21st century that go beyond language and culture. They are lasting supplements to the traditional written record. The United Nations through its Department of Public Information has had its audiovisual archives which date back to the early 1920’s. The UNESCO says these audiovisual records have to be transformed to digital within the next 15 years.
Knowledge in world history, literature, and daily news is important to scholars worldwide, which makes the content of information stored in audiovisual archives important. Public consciousness of the importance of the preservation of these documents and recordings has given the momentum to conservation professionals to manage a range of technical, political, social, financial, and other factors to ensure the safeguarding of this audiovisual heritage.