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Communication and Information Resources

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Communication and Information Sector's news service

Digital Preservation of the Silk Roads Heritage Supported by UNESCO

03-12-2004 (Paris)
A 3-day regional workshop on Preservation of Images of Carpets as Sustainable Open Resources (PICASOR) was held from 30 November to 2 December 2004 in the Azerbaijan State Museum of Carpet in the framework of UNESCO’s Digital Silk Roads Project.
This workshop was an unprecedented event devoted to the history of carpet production and to the preservation of carpets as a part of cultural heritage. It gathered over 30 participants, including eminent experts on the carpet history from such countries as Turkmenistan, Turkey and Japan. It offered them an opportunity to:
  • assess carpet-embedded heritage status in Silk Roads countries;
  • identify specific objects of carpet-embedded heritage and ways of collecting digital images;
  • propose ways to promote free access to carpet museums or entities in Silk Roads countries under the UNESCO public domain initiative;
  • study the possibility of creating multilingual databases and integrating them into ASPICO-DSR (Advanced Scientific Portal for International Cooperation on Digital Silk Roads);
  • identify technical solutions for networking, systems/network administration, digitalisation and other informatics applications;
  • draw up a strategic vision and proposals for submission to the third Symposium for Digital Silk Roads.
The commerce route linking the West and the East of the Eurasian continent, which is known as the Silk Roads, over the centuries carried not only precious merchandises but also the culture, knowledge and belief and had a profound impact on Eurasian peoples’ lives. Centuries-old connections were used for mutual enrichment of different cultures and served as a major instrument of cultural heritage development, unique phenomenon in the world civilization history.

Unfortunately, the Silk Roads heritage has increasingly been deteriorating due to different factors: natural causes, destruction, lack of maintenance, etc. Therefore it is necessary to join efforts for preserving the invaluable Silk Roads heritage that must be transmitted to next generations.

Carpets being an essential part of the historical and cultural heritage also need to be preserved and restored. All Silk Roads countries have some traditions in carpet weaving, but only three of them (Azerbaijan, Turkey and Iran) have carpet museums. There are more than 2000 unique carpets (with no copies) in museums all over the world that may be lost for future generations.

The need for digital preservation is now widely recognized. The high-quality image processing technology is essential to preserve the Silk Road heritage in its current condition.

Creating portals, data bases and a virtual museum as a worldwide network based on the digital archives of the precious historical, cultural and natural heritage is crucial. It will promote the Silk Road carpet heritage, help to preserve and restore old art items and give a chance to general public to learn about the Great Silk Road carpet heritage.
Related themes/countries

      · E-Heritage: News Archives 2004
      · Azerbaijan: News Archive 2004
      · Public Domain Information: News Archives 2004
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