The Open Digital Library on Traditional Games

I came across an interesting article from the ICH Courier Online that I’d like to share:

The 2nd Annual Expert Meeting and Youth Dialogue of the UNESCO Global Pilot Project “Open Digital Library on Traditional Games” was held on 15 and 16 January 2018 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France. The meeting was held in the framework of a global pilot project launched in 2015, Creation of an Open Digital Library on Traditional Games—Innovative Use of ICTs to Safeguard and Promote Indigenous and Local Knowledge for Learning, Development, and Rapprochement of Cultures.

Traditional sports and games convey values of solidarity, fair-play, inclusion, and cultural awareness. Moreover, traditional sports and games reflect cultural diversity and foster mutual understanding and tolerance among communities and nations, contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Building upon UNESCO’s activities in promoting inclusive knowledge societies, creating an international network on traditional sports and games, and safeguarding and promoting intangible cultural heritage, among others, in 2015, UNESCO and Tencent Interactive Entertainment launched the project Creation of an Open Digital Library on Traditional Games—Innovative Use of ICTs to Safeguard and Promote Indigenous and Local Knowledge for Learning, Development, and the Rapprochement of Cultures. The project uses ICTs to safeguard and promote traditional and unique sports and games to preserve this rich and disperse knowledge as living heritage in the public domain and pass it down to future generations.


Traditional game of Te Ano (a version of volleyball) of Tuvalu is played on the airstrip

From 2015 to 2017, six countries in four continents—Bangladesh, Mongolia, Brazil, Greece, Morocco, and Kenya—have joined the project as pilot sites for data collection that allowed UNESCO to design and test this innovative digital library. In line with our project guidelines, data and audiovisual content of fifty-eight selected traditional games and sports were collected and documented. This content has been made accessible in the Open Digital Library on Traditional Games 2.0 constructed by Tencent. In addition, young people started exploring innovative ways to transfer information stored in the ODL into creative content.

The second Annual Expert Meeting and Youth Dialogue presented project results from 2015 to 2017, showcased its achievements, identified existing challenges, shared best practices, and discussed ways forward to expand project coverage to other countries; additionally, discussions were held on  how to maximize project results, including how to generate educational and other resources needed for the platform to serve as a learning space on culture, traditions, languages, etc. The participants also discussed how to further mobilize support from young people globally. An exhibition was organized in parallel, showcasing audiovisual content of traditional games from project pilot countries as well as demonstrating how technologies such as VR and motion sensing can help promote traditional games in new forms.

The expected outcomes of the second Annual Expert Meeting and Youth Dialogue are as follows:

  • further refine the project guideline for global adaptation through consultation with experts based on pilot experience;
  • review and improve the ODL features as well as present and discuss strategy for using more advanced technical solutions in future phases;
  • build a community of dedicated young people to raise awareness globally and become content contributors to the ODL.

About islandculturearchivalsupport

Island Culture Archival Support (ICAS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of records pertaining to the cultural identity of island peoples in Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia whose national and public archives, libraries, cultural centers, and business organizations are underprivileged, underfunded, and understaffed. The specific purpose for which this nonprofit corporation was formed is to support the needs of these South Pacific cultural heritage institutions by helping to preserve and make accessible records created for business, accountability or cultural purposes. The organization will endeavor to add value by providing resources or volunteers to advise, train, and work among island residents to support their efforts in building their future and preserving their collective memory through the use of modern archival techniques.
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