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The crucial role of Digital Repositories in knowledge dissemination

16 May 2024|Briefing note

Close to 300 people attended the ECLAC Digital Repository's 10th anniversary celebration which gathered experts from the UN, Latin America and beyond, delving into the pivotal role of digital repositories.

The 10th anniversary of the ECLAC Digital Repository was celebrated with a special event examining the crucial role of digital repositories from diverse perspectives. Esteemed speakers from the United Nations, Latin America and beyond shared their unique viewpoints, delving into topics such as the challenges and opportunities of artificial intelligence, collections of data, digital rights, and the impact of digital repositories in research among others. 

In 2023, the Digital Repository had 1.5 million downloads per month on average. The promotion of the digital repository and the website is a strategic priority of the ECLAC Executive Secretary, Dr. José Manuel Salazar Xirinachs. 

Javier Medina Vásquez, ECLAC Deputy Executive Secretary, inaugurated the event by highlighting a decade of digital innovation within the ECLAC Repository, its interoperability with the ECLAC website, CEPALSTAT and other external repositories as well as prospects for the future. 

“Not only do we have 10 fascinating years behind us, but we have many more years ahead with more innovations and new paths in terms of management of digital assets and ECLAC's knowledge that will allow us to more strongly support the work for productive development, inclusion and sustainability in Latin America and the Caribbean,” Medina shared during his address. 

The presentations were delivered in both English and Spanish, with simultaneous translation available for both languages. You can watch the recording with English translation here and with Spanish translation here.  

A comprehensive conversation on digital repositories 

Thomas Padilla, Deputy Director, Archiving and Data Services, Internet Archive delivered the keynote presentation titled “Libraries, Repositories, and Artificial Intelligence. Collections as Data”. Padilla provided insights on the concept of collections as data, an approach emphasizing the transformation of traditional collections found in libraries, archives, and museums into usable digital datasets, promoting computational use of digitally accessible collections. He also explored the opportunities and challenges of AI technology for libraries, the transformation of traditional collections found in libraries, archives, and museums into usable digital datasets, promoting computational use of digitally accessible collections here.  

The first Panel explored the current digital repositories landscape featuring testimonies from researchers utilizing the ECLAC repository, presentations on information management, Interoperability and formation of regional information and data networks, Creative Commons licenses and the impact of digital repositories on academic research and education. 

The second panel explored the future of digital repositories touching upon topics such as digital rights in the era of artificial intelligence, challenges of creating networks of national and transnational digital infrastructures and perspectives on digital repositories, semantic web, linked data and knowledge graphs. 

Below, you'll find the complete program with speakers and presentations.  


Welcome, Javier Medina, Deputy Executive Secretary, ECLAC, United Nations 

Keynote: Libraries, Repositories, and Artificial Intelligence. Collections as Data 
Thomas Padilla, Deputy Director, Archiving and Data Services, Internet Archive, Canada  

Support and Visibility for Research Through the ECLAC Digital Repository: Expert Testimonies 

Estefani Rondón, Research Assistant, Policy Unit for Sustainable Development, ECLAC and Orlando Reyes, Senior Economic Affairs Assistant. Policy Unit for Non-Renewable Resources, ECLAC 

Information Management, Interoperability and Formation of Regional Information and Data Networks
Isabel Rocío Recavarren Martínez, Deputy Director of the Sub-Directorate of Information and Knowledge Management at Concytec, Peru 

Creative Commons Licenses and Improving the Reach of Publications
Charlotte Beauchamp, Head of Publications and Design at the World Intellectual Property Organization, (WIPO), United Nations 

Impact of Digital Repositories on Academic Research and Education
María Lucía Lizarazo, Administrative Coordinator of the Learning and Research Resource Center (CRAI), Universidad del Rosario, Colombia 
Digital Rights in the era of Artificial Intelligence
Carolina Botero, Advisor and Former Director of the Karisma Foundation, Colombia. 

Challenges of Creating Networks of National and Transnational Digital Infrastructures: European Experiences, Paolo Budroni, Vienna University of Technology
Head of EOSC and International Liaison Office, EULiST Alliance Local Coordinator and Austrian national e-IRG Delegate 

Digital Repositories, Semantic Web, Linked Data and Knowledge Graphs
Claudio Gutiérrez, Researcher and Academic of the Department of Computer Sciences of the Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Sciences of the University of Chile 

Closing, Wouter Schallier, Chief of the ECLAC Library and the Web Services Unit, United Nations