Media release: Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Dr Stephen Ellis, Acting Director-General said it was an honour to have the Archives' work in this field recognised internationally.
"The challenge of preserving records for the future is something we share with our counterparts all over the world. This prize recognises our ability to be innovative, our willingness to share the results of our research and our professional leadership," said Dr Ellis.
The preservation of documents is a function of the Archives under the Archives Act 1983. Over the last 40 years, the Archives has become a world leader in the area, consistently sharing professional expertise through numerous publications and open source tools for digital preservation.
The prize also recognises the Archives for its worldwide investigation of the conservation issues of documents written in iron gall ink, which are vulnerable to iron gall corrosion. Iron gall ink was used in Europe for many centuries.
"Many cultural institutions around the world hold collections of historical artworks, illuminated manuscripts, maps, musical scores, official documents and books that are endangered because they are written in iron gall ink. The Archives' research will assist in the development of successful conservation treatments to ensure these documents survive for future generations," Dr Ellis said.
The UNESCO/Jikji prize was established in 2004 in cooperation with the South Korean government to further promote the objectives of the Memory of the World Program. The US$30,000 prize is awarded biennially. The announcement puts Australia in the company of previous recipients such as the Czech Republic, Austria and Malaysia.
The Archives will use the prize money to fund a student of conservation as an investment in the future of documentary heritage preservation.