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IFLA Conference

World Library and Information Congress: 73rd IFLA General Conference and Council

"Libraries for the future: Progress, Development and Partnerships"

19-23 August 2007, Durban, South Africa

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Call for Papers

Genealogy and Local History Section, together with the IFLA Audiovisual and Multimedia Section

Theme: Stories without writing - local and family history beyond the written word

The IFLA Genealogy and Local History Section, together with the IFLA Audiovisual and Multimedia Section, are holding an Open Session next year in Durban, South Africa on the theme:

"Stories without writing: local and family history beyond the written word."

For many thousands of years, societies have transmitted the histories of their families and localities without the use of writing. "Pre-literate" cultures have employed imagery, music and oral traditions to preserve and transmit their narratives up until the present day. It could be argued that modern societies are now entering a "post-literate" stage, where multimedia technology has advanced to the point where the ability to read written words is increasingly unnecessary.

Our session will explore the role of libraries in collecting and disseminating audiovisual local and family history material.

The overall theme of the 2007 World Library and Information Congress is "Libraries for the future: Progress, Development and Partnerships" and our programme will describe:
  • Progress being made by libraries in collecting and disseminating local and family histories without the use of the written word.
  • Developments which add value to existing historical collections of sound recordings, movies, graphics and artefacts, by engaging with communities to unlock the stories behind them.
  • Partnerships between libraries, archives and museums and their local communities to transmit these "stories without writing" from elders to posterity in a multimedia age.

The status of South Africa as one of the most developed countries on the continent, coupled with its rich and distinctive oral and visual heritage, will make Durban the ideal location for a session of this kind.

Proposals are therefore invited for papers addressing the theme:
"Stories without writing: local and family history beyond the written word."

Please send a detailed abstract, in English, of the proposed paper (1 page or at least 300 words), plus relevant brief biographical information for its author(s), by
15 January 2007, via E-mail to:
Janice McFARLANE j.mcfarlane@nls.uk

The abstracts will be reviewed by a Committee of members of the Genealogy and Local History and the Audiovisual and Multimedia Sections.

Successful proposals will be identified by 31 January 2007.

Full papers will be due by 15 April 2007 to allow time for the review of papers and preparation of translations.

Each full paper must be an original submission not published elsewhere, and no more than 20 double spaced A4 pages in length. The paper should be in one of the IFLA official languages.

At least one of the paper's Authors must undertake to be present* to deliver a summary of the paper (up to 20 minutes, including immediate questions) during the Section's programme in Durban.

It is hoped that Simultaneous Interpretation will be available for this session, but we strongly recommend that the presentation slides should be in English, even if the presentation is delivered in one of the other official languages. Authors will also be invited to participate in a Panel Discussion, along with their fellow authors, at the end of the programme.

The nature of this session's subject matter lends itself to the use of sound and projected imagery. The Committee would welcome proposals which offer to use such materials, and will endeavour to ensure that the appropriate technology is available on the day.

*PLEASE NOTE that the neither Section has any funds to assist prospective Authors: abstracts should only be submitted on the understanding that the expenses of attending the Durban conference (including travel, expenses and conference fee) will be the responsibility of the author(s)/presenter(s) of accepted papers. Some national professional associations may be able to help fund certain expenses, and a small number of grants for conference attendance may be available at: