Preserving the documentation originated by an Organization is to preserve its knowledge. To PAHO, it refers to the information and knowledge originated by the Organization at Headquarters, country offices and Pan American centers, expressed in scientific and technical documents or publications, either printed or electronic, or by audiovisual means, conceived as a system under the responsibility of all components of the Bureau.
Since the early times of the Organization there has been awareness of the importance of the compilation, preservation, organization and dissemination of its memory. This has been one of the major activities of PAHO Library and Institutional Memory.
The bibliographic catalog of the PAHO Library, which exists since 1945, became the official index to locate this documentation. Presently, with the new technological advances, the HQs Library has started offering the full text of these documents though the Institutional Repository for Information Sharing (coordinated by WHO HQ). Along the years a effort to turn digital several key publications has been conduced.
Recently, by the approval of the PAHO Publications Policy, new publications, technical documents and translations from WHO literature must be first indexed in PAHO IRIS Digital Library. Also includes the PASB Governing Bodies mandates (resolutions, working documents, information documents) and all the articles published in the Pan American Journal of Public Health. PAHO IRIS Digital Library is being now used also by the PAHO Country Offices and Pan American Centers.
In that sense, delegates from the Member States, researchers, librarians and general public can access the historical documents and new publications in the same environment.