Friday, April 29, 2011

Preservation Week Meets International Law

Our Preservation Week posts so far have included low-tech and high-tech tips (how bookmarks can damage books and backing up your online data), local history (the Museum of History's physical exhibits and digital photo collection), and important Washington legal materials (preserving Washington Territory's session laws).  Preservation issues even reach to international law.

Destroying a culture's historical documentary record can be a war crime. The Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954) obligates parties to safeguard cultural property, including art, manuscripts, museums, and large libraries, but unfortunately, the existence of the treaty has not stopped destruction and looting in this century's wars. The U.S. is the latest country to ratify the treaty -- in 2009.

Intentionally destroying books and libraries in order to suppress dissent or oppress a people has a long history, unfortunately continuing to the present. See:
I hope to learn more when I attend a panel on this topic at this summer's American Association of Law Libraries annual meeting.

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