Putting IFLA’s Risk Register to Work

IFLA’s Risk Register works to help prevent the loss of documentary heritage collections of all kinds. It is a record of collections, combined with a suite of tools to help collection owners recognise risks and take steps towards risk reduction.

By recording information regarding irreplaceable documentary heritage collections, we are better prepared help secure their safety in the event of a human-caused or natural disaster. While information sharing is critical to allow for rapid response to disaster, the Risk Register itself is strictly confidential. Only when necessary would IFLA share this information with our official partners in cultural property protection, such as Blue Shield International and UNESCO.

Who is the Risk Register for?

The Risk Register is for institutions holding documentary heritage collections – big and small. These collections can be of value to a local community or on a national, regional, or international scale.

If you are holding a collection that you feel might be facing risk from natural disaster, conflict, or simply feel that you don’t know enough about risk reduction planning, this can help you find solutions.

Why use the Risk Register?

Complex threats can be better faced with the support of a network.

By registering a collection, you help ensure that it is known about in the face of disaster or conflict, and relevant actors can do what they can to help. If national infrastructures are weak – or indeed if the risk of harm to collections comes from governments themselves – using the register may be helpful.

Meanwhile, connecting documentary heritage collection owners to resources wherever they may be helps manage risks in advance. The Risk Register also compiles tools, guidelines, and advice from international experts to help inspire and inform action to safeguard your collection.

What if my collection is already registered?

The Risk Register does not aim to be an exhaustive list of all documentary heritage collections, and is strictly optional for collection owners and managers. If your collection is adequately covered on a national or other register, you are certainly not obliged to register it here as well.

Perhaps instead, you might want to share this information with collection holders in your network who are not eligible to be included on an alternative register.

How it Works

The IFLA Risk Register is comprised of three stages: Recognise, Register, and React.

Recognise: Do you recognise the risks that might be present for your collection? This step will provide tools and resources to get started assessing risk and creating a risk management plan.

Register: Having a properly catalogued collection is vital for risk reduction. Here you can begin the application process for inclusion on the IFLA Risk Register.

React: No matter your capacity level, there are most likely some steps you can take now to help reduce risk. This step provides tools, resources, and guidance to help.

 

A Guide to Taking Action

We need your help to safeguard the world’s documentary heritage. By registering as many collections as possible, we can more effectively identify when collections may be in danger and inform rapid-response and recovery efforts.

Step 1: Consider Collections within Your Institution

Are there risks present that could put your institution’s irreplaceable collections in danger? Be sure to consider the risk factors in your region for the following:

  • Natural disaster (hurricanes, tsunamis, flooding)
  • Civil unrest, armed conflict
  • Fire and accidents
  • Theft and trafficking of cultural property

For resources on assessing risk, see The Risk Register: Recognise.

Take Action:

 

Step 2: Raise Awareness in your Network

Your network in your country and region is an invaluable resource for connecting collection-owners with the Risk Register.

Take action:

Help promote the Risk Register as a resource for documentary heritage collection holders. Share resources in your network to assist in risk assessment and disaster planning. See The Risk Register: Recognise for tools.

  • Post the link to the Risk Register on your website (see sample text below!)
  • Share information on the Register on your social media and other communication channels

Step 3: Proactively connect Collection-Holders

Your knowledge of local and regional documentary heritage collections and stakeholders can help the Risk Register be its most effective.

Take action: 

Are you aware of collections within your country or region that could benefit from inclusion on the Risk Register? Reach out to the collection holders directly or put them in touch with IFLA HQ (claire.mcguire@ifla.org) for more information and support during the registration process.

Consider:

  • Think about collections that are not listed on the Memory of the World list, or otherwise registered on national-level registries. Are they at risk of being forgotten? Consider them as a priority.
  • Does your region have documentary heritage collections, such as manuscript libraries, that are held in private or family collections? Could sharing information about the IFLA Risk Register be a way to expand your relationship with these collection-owners?

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Sample Messaging – News or Website

Title: Discover IFLA’s Risk Register

During natural or human-caused disasters, information sharing is vital in order to prevent unnecessary losses, but also challenging. The International Federation of Library Associations and institutions (IFLA) Risk Register helps identify irreplaceable documentary heritage collections. In the event of a disaster, this means that the information necessary to help secure their safety is immediately available to those who can help.

Registering your documentary heritage collection can be used to inform rapid-response and recovery efforts. IFLA does not make this information public, but, when necessary, will share with official cultural property protection partners such as UNESCO and Blue Shield International.

How it works

The IFLA Risk Register is comprised of three stages: Recognise, Register, and React.

  1. Recognise: Do you recognise the risks that might be present for your collection? This step will provide tools and resources to get started assessing risk and creating a risk management plan.
  2. Register: Having a properly catalogued collection is vital for risk reduction. Here you can begin the application process for inclusion on the IFLA Risk Register.
  3. React: No matter your capacity level, there are most likely some steps you can take now to help reduce risk. This step provides tools, resources, and guidance to help.

Who is the Risk Register For?

The Risk Register is for institutions holding documentary heritage collections – big and small. These collections can be of value to a local community or on a national, regional, or international scale. If you are holding a collection that you feel might be facing risk from natural disaster or conflict, or simply feel that you need to know more about risk reduction planning, this can help you find solutions.

Find out more online here: The IFLA Risk Register

 

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