Towards Establishing the ICH Database Management System of Samoa

Brainstorming session at the workshop © UNESCO/S.Li

On 13 December, 2017, a Workshop on the ICH Database Management System Development was held at the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (MESC) in Apia, Samoa. The workshop was attended by eight officials from MESC (Culture Division, ICT Division, Museum Unit, Media Unit, and Policy Unit) as well as Dr. Yamaguchi from Tokyo Tech, Shengru Li, and Ms. Takahashi from the UNESCO Office for the Pacific States.

The workshop began with the presentation by Mr. Shengru Li, who showed examples of the existing ICH information systems of international and national organizations. This was followed by Dr. Yamaguchi, who shared her experience managing the heritage database development project in Luang Prabang, a World Heritage city in Lao PDR.

Further, a brainstorming session took place to identify the current needs of States Party to the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. First, the participants identified three important requirements for an ICH database: 1) store and manage information on the diverse ICH elements in Samoa; 2) allow information sharing within MESC and possibly extending it to other ministries and stakeholders in the  long-term, and 3) ensure its sustainability by building a team supported by training.

Second, several challenges were identified, including: 1) the curation of information, which is currently scattered at different units; 2) systematic organization of information and photos with accurate captions; and 3) archive digitization, which is currently in progress.

Third, the potential benefits of the ICH database were clarified as follows: 1) promote cultural heritage safeguarding by raising awareness through data sharing, 2) promote research and projects on ICH contributions to sustainable development, and 3) prevent the loss of data and information on related research and policies.

After the brainstorming session, Mr. Li continued with the introduction of technology used for ICH database prototyping, the demonstration of the prototype, and discussion on future works.

The workshop concluded with MESC presenting its support and commitment to developing the ICH Database Management System in Samoa.

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