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Results of the MANUMED II conference on “Modern issues on traffics of cultural heritage”

“Looting, plundering, import, export, or all other forms of illicit displacement of cultural goods is unfortunately a well-known practice. The world of manuscripts suffers terribly from such practices, made possible by the absence of cataloguing of collections, especially in Southern Mediterranean basin, and the lack of agreed-upon regulations and norms to fight illicit trafficking” (S. Ipert, Project Co-ordinator, ManuMed II - Of Manuscripts and Men).

Starting form this assumption, the goal of this technical conference was to present practical cases of ownership disputes and initiate a dialogue between librarians, philologists, jurists and experts on this matter.

The following issues were debated during the two days of the conference:

  • use of legal remedies to achieve the integrity of national heritage in the face of increased pressure for cultural mobility;
  • restitution and repatriation of documentary material in the aftermath of looting and illegal export;
  • contribution of cross-border law enforcement agencies to the battle against the depredation of library collections;
  • legal and technical methods by which access to printed material can be disseminated and shared;
  • preservation and management of documents;
  • development of international co-operative initiatives among libraries, public record offices, universities and other institutions.

President of the conference was Prof. Norman Palmer of the CBE, FSA, and rapporteur Dr. Sophie Vigneron of the University of Kent (UK).

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