Last Friday (January 5) the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ) received a visit by Fernanda Menezes, representative of the Sector Studies Management Division, Department of Cultural Economics, of the Brazilian National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES). The aim was to verify progress on the Preservo Project: FIOCRUZ Collections, devoted to the preservation, organization, and modernization of part of the Foundation’s vast scientific and cultural heritage, with financing from the National Development Bank. Coordinated by Casa de Oswaldo Cruz (COC/FIOCRUZ), the Preservo Project involves a partnership with the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (IOC/FIOCRUZ) and the Institute of Scientific and Technological Communication and Information in Health (ICICT/FIOCRUZ). The funds are administered by the Foundation for Scientific and Technological Development in Health (FIOTEC).

During the meeting, Marcos José de Araújo Pinheiro, project coordinator and assistant director of Cultural Heritage and Science Diffusion at Casa de Oswaldo Cruz, explained that the archival, architectural, urban, bibliographic, biological, and museum collections of FIOCRUZ were contemplated in the Preservo Project. “FIOCRUZ is renowned in its various fields of expertise. These include the wide range of collections the Foundation has amassed over time. The management and preservation of these collections, considered a key part of the institution’s heritage, by an expert professional staff makes all the difference,” he explained.  Representatives of the units involved in the project, like Juliana Albuquerque and Claudia Souza of COC, Elisabeth Rangel and Marcelo Pelajo of IOC, and Jorge Luis Nundes, Rodrigo Mexas, Mauro Campello, Mônica Garcia, and Jacques Sochaczewski of ICICT also accompanied the visit.

Marcos highlighted that the Preservo Project helps establish a new benchmark for the organization and integration of the activities developed by the Foundation: “The financial support from BNDES through the Preservo Project is crucial to various institutional benefits, since it allows establishing the necessary infrastructure for the preservation of our scientific and cultural heritage, developing methodologies, technologies, and policies for the collections’ preservation, and expanding access to the knowledge produced by FIOCRUZ.” The meeting also addressed the data systems in histopathology and rare works and the integrated research approach for the Oswaldo Cruz Virtual Library.

Fernanda Menezes enjoyed the opportunity to visit several FIOCRUZ installations that have already benefited from Preservo, like Museum Storage at COC, the Digitization Laboratory at ICICT, and the slide scanner at IOC, for example. In addition to relevant contributions and suggestions for the various projects, Fernanda gave a very positive rating to the work done by FIOCRUZ. “The initial challenges were overcome, since FIOCRUZ is an extremely committed institution with a highly qualified team,” she declared. Still, according to Fernanda, it is necessary to include society in the maintenance and preservation of information. “Our premise is that society protects what it knows. If you make these collections available not only to researchers but also to members of the public at large who are curious and interested in the various themes, in a planned way, using collaborative and network platforms, it will be possible to include society in the maintenance and preservation of the information, and even to develop new business models,” she concluded.