Endorsement of UNESCO Resolution on Digital Preservation

As current president of the Society of American Archivists, I wish to join my colleagues at the Association of Canadian Archivists and the National Archives and Records Administration and add my endorsement to the UNESCO Resolution on Digital Preservation. I do this on behalf of the Society, its executive Council, and its membership. Founded in 1936, the Society of American Archivists (SAA) is North America's oldest and largest national archival professional association. SAA's mission is to serve the educational and informational needs of more than 3,400 individual and institutional members and to provide leadership to ensure the identification, preservation, and use of records of historical value. As such, the issues raised in this resolution resonate strongly with our professional and institutional concerns.

The draft resolution rightly recognizes the increasing ubiquity of digital forms of cultural, scientific, and education information and the dangerous volatility of such information. The recommendations in the resolution should lay the foundation for positive moves towards the necessary policy and law to ensure the long-term preservation of this information. This, in turn, should give archivists, records managers, librarians, and other information professionals the sort of support they will require "to find ways to preserve these fragile, transient, and technology-dependent digital records," as my Canadian colleagues so aptly put it.

This resolution raises important issues with archivists and librarians and with society in general with respect to the viability of modern human cultural memory and we urge you support this resolution in whatever manner you are able.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

—Steven Hensen, SAA President