UN Library's Francesco Pisano: 'This body of knowledge is the Silicon Valley of multilateralism'

Francesco Pisano, Director of the UN Library and Archives Geneva.

1.7 million books. Tens of thousands of digital references. All the official UN documents. And the ongoing digitising process of the entire fund. This means making knowledge accessible to all and help to create wisdom. At least for the United Nations Library and Archives in Geneva.

The UN Library is a historical institution. More than a source of international documentation, it plays an essential role in the history of multilateralism. Built long before the birth of the United Nations on private money, it finds its voice in the stronghold of the knowledge it protects.

UN Library and Archives director, Francesco Pisano, describes this body of knowledge as the Silicon Valley of multilateralism, where its history can be fully retraced and its meaning for us as a civilisation defined.

At an age of digitalisation, the library’s purpose transcends the sole preservation of knowledge, he says. It can connect people and organisations and address needs to move forward and tackle global issues.

“Digitising documents is an important part of the process today. It is not so much moving from the old paper-based library to the new and modern library, because paper is eternal. There is no conflict between the two, there is continuity. Information about knowledge is everywhere, but it’s not accessible for anyone anywhere. And this is what keeps global frameworks from succeeding. Our digitising process aims to change that. To contribute to create wisdom and inspire solutions.”

Pisano reflects on the importance of substance versus data in a world where change is necessary to rethink the global framework and face the future, by setting up collaboration across disciplines in the interest of many and not the competition of few. Listen to his conversation on resilience with Geneva Solutions.

The Geneva Solutions Podcast · Conversations on Resilience #5 – Francesco Pisano

The GS news podcast series: Conversations on resilience is produced in partnership with Open Geneva and the University of Geneva. Interviews are available also on our SoundCloud page.