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Memory of the World

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United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Memory of the World

  • The record of humankind's collective memory is an important heritage to understand the past, see the present, and move on to the future. War and social upheaval, as well as severe lack of resources have led records around the world to be vanished forever or endangered due to looting, illegal trading, and inadequate housing. It was under these circumstances UNESCO has established the Memory of the World in 1992 to preserve documentary heritage and raise the awareness of its importance. Memory of the World started to preserve and increase accessibility of documentary heritages chosen to have important values by UNESCO. Documents selected by Memory of the World receive technical funding from UNESCO.
  • Memory of the World is selected by evaluating the records from various viewpoints such as these
    1. 1. The document has authenticity in proving the heritage's essence and origin
    2. 2. It is considered as unique and irreplaceable, and its destruction will inflict great harm on development of
      humankind's cultural heritage
    3. 3. It clearly reflects important changes of international issues or aids world perception at a certain point in mankind's history
    4. 4. It contains major information of a specific place and region where it played an important role in the world's history and cultural progress
    5. 5. It has a specific relationship with the lives and achievement of an individual or group of people who contributed greatly on the world history and culture
    6. 6. It realises an important topic of culture and world history
    7. 7. It has a great value aesthetically, formally, or linguistically, or is an chief role model in its form and style
  • Under these standards, Memory of the World's International Advisory Committee selects and registers heritage in every two years since 1997.
  • At the time of June, 2013, there are about 300 registry in Memory of the World owned by 102 countries and five organizations around the world. Korea has registered 11 items; Hunminjeongeum Manuscript (1997), the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty (1997), Jikji simche yojeol (2001), Seungjeongwon Ilgi (2001), Uigwe (2007), Printing woodblocks of the Tripitaka Koreana and miscellaneous Buddhist scriptures (2007), Donguibogam (2009), Ilseongnok (2011), Archives for the May 18th Democratic Uprising (2011), Nanjung Ilgi (2013), and Archives of Saemaul Undong (2013). Korea has registered the most in Asia, and fourth in the world, which clearly certifies Korea as one of the world leading archival culture countries.