The focus of the collection is set out in the ICOMOS Statutes, which provide for a collection concerning the "principles, techniques and policies for the conservation of monuments".
- 40.000 titles concerning most countries in the world
- 600 periodicals, among which 130 are received regularly by exchange
- 40.000 slides, photographs, and plans
- The original nomination files of World Heritage cultural and mixed properties
International Character: the collection is made up of donations coming from the more than one hundred National Committees and twenty-eight International Scientific Committees of ICOMOS, whose individual and institutional members represent all the continents. In parallel, the growth of the collection benefits of ICOMOS' ties with UNESCO, with regional organizations such as the Council of Europe, and also with numerous national organizations. Thanks to the diversity of these sources, the Centre has a genuinely international character.
Originality: because of the diversity of its sources and the particular relationship that ICOMOS enjoys with its members and professionals in the field, and thanks to the exchanges with specialized institutions, the Documentation Centre contains many works that otherwise are not easy to come by: expert mission reports, proceedings of symposia, conservation laws, cultural heritage inventories, etc. All the documents are included on the ICOMOS bibliographical database.
The specialised bibliographical collections include :
- archaeological heritage
- conservation and restoration techniques
- cultural landscapes
- cultural routes
- cultural tourism
- earthen architecture
- historic gardens and parks
- historic towns and villages
- industrial heritage
- legislation on the protection of cultural heritage
- monuments in seismic areas
- risk preparedness and heritage at risk
- rock art
- stone and other building materials
- town planning
- training in heritage conservation
- underwater heritage
- vernacular architecture
- wooden architecture
- world heritage monuments and sites etc.
Original archives of the World Heritage properties
The ICOMOS Documentation Centre is the primary repository for the original documentation of the cultural properties and mixed (natural and cultural) properties that have been inscribed on the World Heritage List since 1978. These documents constitute its most important collection. ICOMOS is named in the 1972 UNESCO Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (the World Heritage Convention) as one of the three advisory bodies, with IUCN and ICCROM, to the World Heritage Committee. It is the professional and scientific advisor to the Committee on all aspects of the cultural heritage. As such, ICOMOS is responsible for the evaluation of all nominations made to the World Heritage List by States Parties to the Convention against the criteria of outstanding universal value, authenticity, management, and conservation laid down by the World Heritage Committee. This involves consultation of the wide range of expertise represented by its membership and its National and International Committees, as well as the many other specialist networks with which it is linked. Expert missions are also sent to carry out on-site evaluations. This extensive consultation results in the preparation of detailed recommendations that are submitted to the World Heritage Committee at its annual meetings. Once a cultural property has been included on the World Heritage List, the UNESCO-ICOMOS Documentation Centre keeps the files and makes them available for consultation in situ and on the database. All these nomination files and the associated documentation, which is in many cases very comprehensive, constitute by themselves the most important collection of the Centre.
Each nomination file provided by the States Parties contains the following items:
Description and identification of the property; justification for inscription; management: legal status, protective measures, site management plan, visitor facilities, etc.; factors affecting the site; monitoring: key indicators for measuring state of conservation, administrative arrangements for monitoring the property; documentation: - photographs, slides and, where available, film/video/CD-ROM; copies of site management plans, legislation, and other legal instruments; - cartographic material, measured drawings, etc; - a bibliography.And the ICOMOS evaluation reports (The ICOMOS expert's reports are not available).
At present, the ICOMOS Documentation Centre keeps the files of 774 cultural and mixed sites inscribed on the World Heritage List, and every year this collection grows with the dossiers of the newly inscribed sites (around 30-40).