A large part of the vast amounts of information produced in the world is born digital, and comes in a wide variety of formats: text, database, audio, film, image. During the meeting of the Organization's Executive Board in May 2001, Member States agreed on the need for rapid action to safeguard digital heritage. The interest of UNESCO in this situation comes as no surprise. UNESCO exists in part to encourage and enable the preservation and enjoyment of the cultural, scientific and information heritage of the world's peoples. The growth of digital heritage and its vulnerability could hardly go unnoticed. Our societies have witnessed the end of the paradigm of the written archive, a paradigm that had developed over hundreds of years. Throughout the twentieth century new media have wisely and modestly joined this prestigious tradition. This paradigm has already been transformed, and the devices in place are unable to deal with the brutal advance of information technologies, and the quantitative inflation which they cause. This goes beyond those institutions specializing in the management of memory: a whole new regime of information will have to be constructed, and quickly, completely transforming old memory and archiving systems. If this shift does not take place, our societies will suffer irremediable damage in their collective social memory.