UNESCO established the Memory of the World (MoW) Programme in 1992. The Programme seeks to encourage universal access to documentary history. It also aims to raise awareness of its role in shaping the world we live in today and the importance of preserving it for future generations. The mission of the Memory of the World Programme is: 

  • To facilitate preservation, by the most appropriate techniques, of the world's documentary heritage. This may be done by direct practical assistance, by the dissemination of advice and information and the encouragement of training, or by linking sponsors with timely and appropriate projects.
  • To assist universal access to documentary heritage. This will include encouragement to make digitized copies and catalogues available on the Internet, as well as the publication and distribution of books, CDs, DVDs, and other products, as widely and equitably as possible. Where access has implications for custodians, these are respected. Legislative and other limitations on the accessibility of archives are recognised. Cultural sensitivities, including indigenous communities' custodianship of their materials, and their guardianship of access will be honoured. Private property rights are guaranteed in law.
  • To increase awareness worldwide of the existence and significance of documentary heritage. Means include, but are not limited to, developing the Memory of the World registers, the media, and promotional and information publications. Preservation and access, of themselves, not only complement each other - but also raise awareness, as access demand stimulates preservation work. The making of access copies, to relieve pressure on the use of preservation materials, is encouraged.

The International Advisory Committee (IAC) is the peak body responsible for advising UNESCO on the planning and implementation of the MoW Programme as a whole. It comprises 14 members serving in a personal capacity, appointed by the Director-General of UNESCO, and chosen for their authority in the field of the safeguarding of documentary heritage.

As of 2017, Ms Irena Krivienė, the Director General of Vilnius University Library, is a member of the IAC.

In April 2004, UNESCO’s Executive Board approved the establishment of the UNESCO/Jikji MoW Prize as a means of promoting the Programme and commemorating the inscription of the Jikji, or the "Buljo jikji simche yojeol”, the oldest existing book made through movable metal print. The Prize consists of a biennial award of US$ 30,000 to individuals or institutions that have made significant contributions to the preservation and accessibility of documentary heritage. The Prize is open to the governments of Member States and international non-governmental organizations maintaining formal relations with UNESCO.

The International Memory of the World Register, established in 1995, is a catalogue of the world’s most prized documentary and audiovisual heritage.

In 2009, the International MoW Register recognized two document collections related to Lithuania as a documentary heritage of global significance. The Baltic Way – Human Chain Linking Three States in Their Drive for Freedom and Radziwills‘ Archives and Niasvizh (Nieśwież) Library Collection were enlisted into the Register.

In 2017, The Act of the Union of Lublin document (documentary heritage submitted by Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia) was also inscribed onto the International MoW Register.

Lithuanian National Memory of the World Committee

The National Memory of the World Committee, established in 1996, is a voluntary team of experts, elected for the period of four years, whose professional experience and knowledge help to implement five key strategies of the Programme:  identification of documentary heritage, raising awareness, preservation, access, and developing structures, status and relationships.

The composition of the Committee for the period 2016–2019:

Chairperson – Prof. Dr. Rimvydas Laužikas, Dean of the Faculty of Communication at Vilnius University

Secretary – Miglė Mašanauskienė, Communication programme coordinator at the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO Secretariat

Members: Dr. Rima Cicėnienė (The Wroblewski  Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences), Dr. Reda Griškaitė (The Lithuanian Institute of History), Evelina Karalevičienė (The State Cultural Heritage Commission), Prof. Dr. Habil. Nijolė Laurinkienė (The Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Galina Miškinienė (The Institute of the Lithuanian Language), Dr. Ramūnas Kondratas (The Vilnius University Museum), Jurgita Radėnienė (Office of the Chief Archivist of Lithuania), Dr. Viktorija Vaitkevičiūtė Verbickienė (The Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania), Nijolė Klingaitė-Dasevičienė (Vilnius University Library), Jolita Steponaitienė (The Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania), Rūta Šimulė (The Lithuanian State Historical Archives), Saulius Vadišis (The Administration of the State Cultural Reserve of Kernavė).

Institutions represented at the Committee are responsible for protection and promotion of documentary heritage. In close cooperation with the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO the Committee has formulated and adopted the Regulations of the Committee and Regulations of the National Memory of the World  Register. Since 2005, the Committee has launched the National Register and started its promotion.

Lithuanian National Memory of the World Register

The Register lists documentary heritage approved for inclusion by the National Memory of the World Committee and experts who present their conclusions. Selection of the heritage for the inscription is guided by the main criteria of the International Register with regards to the national circumstances. The Register helps to make responsible institutions aware of the total documentary heritage held by various kinds of organizations and private individuals, and the need for coordinated strategies to ensure the endangered heritage is protected. The aim of the Register is to help custodians identify the most valuable objects of documentary heritage, give advice regarding its further protection and promotion.

In 2006, the first documents and their collections were inscribed onto the Lithuanian National Memory of the World Register. The Catechism by Martynas Mažvydas, dated 1547, was the very first inscription. The only copy of the book in Lithuania is held at Vilnius University Library. 

 The Register contains 68 items of documentary heritage: 35 have regional (European) significance, 33 – national significance.

2006

  1. Martynas Mažvydas, Catechismusa prasty szadei (Koeningsberg, 1547). Custodian: Vilnius University Library.
  2. The Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania or Act of March 11 (Vilnius, March 11, 1990). Custodian: Lithuanian State Modern Archives.
  3. The Privilege of the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania Jogaila for Vilnius Cathedral (Vilnius, February 17, 1387). Custodian: The Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.
  4. The Privilege of the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania Stephen Bathory on reformation of Vilnius College into the University (Lvov, July 7, 1578); 

The Privilege of the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania Stephen Bathory on qualification for the rights of Academy and University for Vilnius College (Vilnius, April 1, 1579);

The Bulla of Pope Gregory XIII, confirming establishment of the Vilnius University (Rome, October 30, 1579)

Custodian: Lithuanian State Historical Archives.

  1. Laureae Academicae seu Liber continens ritum promotorum ad gradum doctoratus, licentiatus, magisterii et baccalaureatus in alma AcademiaVilnensi Soc. Iesu comparatus et ordinatus anno 1650.  Custodian: Vilnius University Library.
  2. Collection of documents written in Church Slavonic (the end of the 14 c. – the first half of the 20 c.). Custodian: Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania.
  3. Postcard Salut de Vilna. Montagne de château with the stamp of November 27, 1897. Custodian: Lithuanian Archives of Literature and Art.
  4. Photographers of Kaunas. The old portrait photography of Kaunas collection (1863–1940). Custodian: Kaunas University of Technology Library.
  5. Ethnographic archive of Šiauliai Regional Studies Society (1927–1940). Custodian: Šiauliai Aušra Museum.
  6. Drawings of the ANBO–IV (ANBO 41), Head of Lithuanian Military Aviation, Brigade General Antanas Gustaitis’s airplane (the forties of the 20 c.). Custodian: Lithuanian Aviation Museum.
  7. Juozas Miltinis’ s fund (1940–1994). Custodian: Gabrielė Petkevičaitė-Bitė Panevėžys County Public Library.
  8. Complete package of aerodynamic and constructive characteristics of Balys Karvelis’s airplane BK-4 (1955–1956). Custodian: Lithuanian Aviation Museum.

 2007

  1. Short selection of gospel for holidays (the 11 c.). Custodian: The Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.
  2. Mikalojus Daukša’s Katechizmas arba Mokslas kiekwienam krikszionii priwalus (Vilnius, 1595). Custodian: Vilnius University Library.
  3. Jonas Jaknavičius’s Ewangelie polskie y litewskie (Vilnius, 1647). Custodian: Kaunas University of Technology Library.
  4. Matteo Praetorio Deliciae Prussicae oder Preussische Schaubühne (1690). Custodian: Vilnius University Library.
  5. Liber Aureus Caesareae Societatis Medicae Vilnensis (the 19 c.). Custodian: Vilnius University Library.
  6. Vilnius Jewish ghetto fund. Collection of posters and stickers of performances, concerts, lectures, commemorations, sports games (1942–1943). Custodian: Lithuanian Central State Archives.
  7. Archive of count Michail Muravyov museum (the 19 c.). Custodian: Lithuanian State Historical Archives.
  8. Collection of Lithuanian shellac records (the first half of the 19 c.). Custodian: Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania.
  9. Film plot The 3rd Lithuanian Agriculture and Industry Exhibition, The 1st Song and Dance Celebration of Lithuania, August 23–25, 1924. Custodian: Lithuanian Central State Archives.
  10. Film plot The Funeral of Lithuanian Patriarch Dr. Jonas Basanavičius (1927). Custodian: Lithuanian Central State Archives.
  11. Janina Cižinauskaitė’s letters written to her family in 1942 from the Ninth Fort. Custodian: Kaunas Ninth Fort Museum.

2008 

  1. Evangelium of Sapiegos or Žiroviči (the 15-16 c.). Custodian: The Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.
  2. Katechismu text prosti dla prostego ludu prepared by Jan Seklucjan (Koeningsberg, 1545). Custodian: The Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.
  3. Two manuscripts – map and atlas of the river Vilija (Neris) and its banks: Mappa rzeki Wilij, od jej źródła aż do pierwszej przystani handlowej w Kostykach, zdjęta podczas żeglugi odbytej po tej rzece w 1857m rokuprzez Konstantego hr[abiego] Tyszkiewicza, rzeczywystego członka Wileńskiej Archeologicznej Komissyi i Muzeum Starożytności, rzekę mierzył i mappę rysował Jerzy Szantyr, 1857 and Atlas raf głównych na rzece Wilji zmierzonych i zrysowanych podczas wycieczki naukowej, odbytej po tej rzece w 1857 roku przez Konstantego hrabiego Tyszkiewicza i przez tegoż złożone w Wileńskim Muzeum w 1859 roku, pisał Jerzy Szantyr, 1859. Custodian: Vilnius University Library.
  4. Juzef Naronovičius-Naronskis’s map of the Duchy of Biržai (1645). Custodian: Biržai Region Museum Sėla.
  5. Recordings of Lithuanian folk music (1908–1949). Custodian:  The Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore.
  6. Audio, video and photo documents reflecting the Baltic Way – the history of the human chain that united the three countries in their drive for freedom on August 23, 1989. Custodian: Lithuanian Central State Archives. 
  7. Baltramiejus Vilentas, Enchiridion. Katechismas maszas... and Gospels and Epistles... (Koeningsberg, 1579). Custodian: Vilnius University Library.
  8. Paintings on birch bark Arrested and Woman Portrait by Jonas Rustemas. Custodian: Lithuanian State Historical Archives.
  9. Jurgis Ambraziejus Pabrėža, Tayslos augiyynis koremy taalpynas augimys..., manuscript (1835–1843). Custodian: Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania.
  10. Constitution of the State of Lithuania (1922). Custodian: Lithuanian Central State Archives.
  11. Manuscript of Maironis’s first collection of poems The Voices of Spring (1927). Custodian: Maironis Lithuanian Literature Museum.
  12. Mstyslav Dobuzhinsky’s archive (the 20 c.). Custodian: Lithuanian Theatre, Music and Cinema Museum.
  13. Vladas Putvinskis-Pūtvis’s and his family archive (the 20 c.). Custodian: Šiauliai Aušra Museum.
  14. The Declaration by the Council of the Movement of the Struggle for Freedom of Lithuania, 16 February, 1949. Custodian: Lithuanian Special Archives.
  15. Documentary The Return of Kurėnas (1993). Custodian: Lithuanian National Radio and Television History Museum.
  16. Documentaries Lietuvninkai region (1998). Custodian: Lithuanian National Radio and Television History Museum.

 2011

  1. Avraamka chronicle (the 15 c.). Custodian: The Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.
  2. Liber Extraordinarius Provincialis (The Examination Register of the Lithuanian Jesuit Province) (1582–1642). Custodian: Vilnius University Library.
  3. The circular of Lithuanian Supreme National Council concerning the appeal (May 2, 1794) of Tadeusz Kosciuszko, May 15, 1794. Custodian: The Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.
  4. The Privilege of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Aleksander on foundation of Vitebsk church (1503). Custodian: The Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.
  5. Photos from exile by Vilhelmas Janiselis (1949–1958). Custodian: Lithuanian Central State Archives.
  6. Collection of the Herbarium of Vilnius University (1781-1842). Custodian: Vilnius University Faculty of Natural Sciences. 
  7. Lithuanian DP (displaced persons) press collection (1945–1952). Custodian: Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania.
  8. Manuscripts of Lithuanian prayers (16–18 c.). Custodian: Vilnius University Library.
  9. The diary of the priest Jurgis Matulaitis (1918-1919) and Papal Brief of Benedict XV appointing Jurgis Matulaitis the Bishop of Vilnius (1921). Custodian: Lithuanian Central State Archives.
  10. Manuscripts of Antanas Miškinis’s exile poetry (1941-1953). Custodian: Maironis Lithuanian Literature Museum.

 

2013

  1. Statut Wielkiego Xięstwa Litewskiego od Nayiasnieyszego Hospodara Króla J. M. Zygmunta Augusta Roku 1564 w Bielsku wydany or the Second Statute of Lithuania. Custodian: Vilnius University Library.
  2. Jonas Rikovijus, Neues... Gesangbuch... = New books of psalms (Koeningsberg, 1685). Custodian: Vilnius University Library.
  3. The autographs of Kristijonas Donelaitis: Donalitius C. Pawasario Linksmybės; Wasaros darbai: [parts of the poem ‘Metai’]; Fortsetzung: [fragment about Selmas house; with fragment of the letter for unknown receiver]; [Letters]: Szirdingsʼ Brolau! S. T. Hochzuehrender, Mein geliebter, schoner Freund! (Tolminkemen, 16 August, 1777): [two letters to Valtarkiemis priest J. G. Jordanas]. Custodian: The Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore.
  4. A letter from the farmstead owner to his peasants about benefits of pasture division. Translated from German by R. D [Kristijonas Donelaitis] (Koeningsberg, October 19, 1769). Custodian: The Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.
  5. Hebrew books released in Lithuania, 1759-1900. Custodian: Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania.
  6. Folklore collections of Lithuanian Scientific Society (19 c. – the first half of the 20 c.). Custodians: The Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore and Vilnius University Library.
  7. Collections of films made in Kėdainiai film studio Mėgėjas (1963-2004). Custodian: Kėdainiai film studio Mėgėjas.

2015

  1. Privileges of the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania Sigismund II on equalization of the rights of Catholic and Orthodox nobility of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in civil service and land management (1563 and 1568). Custodian: Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania.
  2. Work of graphics The View of Gardinas (1568). Custodian: National Museum Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania.
  3. Brief by Pope Clement VIII Quae ad sanctorum (1602). Custodian: The Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.
  4. Catechism by Pranciškus Šrubauskis (second edition) (1725). Custodian: Vilnius University Library.
  5. Plans for parcelling Lithuanian manors and distribution of villages and small towns into homesteads and plots of land (1854-1946). Custodian: Lithuanian Central State Archives.
  6. Manuscripts of Antanas Baranauskas’ translation of the Bible, Rasztas Szwentas Seno ir Naujo Testamento and Knįga Psalmu (1901-1902). Custodian: Vilnius University Library.
  7. Documents on birch bark (Letters by exiles to Siberia). Custodian: The Museum of Genocide Victims.

2017

  1. Teodoras Narbutas’s (Teodor Mateusz Ostyk-Narbutt, 1784-1864) Dzieje narodu litewskiego working edition (Vilnius, 1835-1841). Custodian: The Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.
  2. Fulgenty Dryjacki’s Liturgy in Latin Thesaurus sacratissimae vitae passionis praetiosissimi sanguinis D. N. Iesu Christi, illustrated by Alexander Tarasewicz‘s woodcarvings. Custodian: The Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.
  3. The map on the operation of mass deportation „Priboj” (1949). Custodian: Lithuanian Special Archives.
  4. Matas Strašunas‘s collection of Jewish books of the 16-19th c. (1382 items). Custodian: Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania.
  5. The book of reports In the Honour of Vytautas the Great, Custodian: Lithuanian Central State Archives.