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Home | Opinions | Culture | National Archives historical works to be digitalized

National Archives historical works to be digitalized

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National Archives historical works to be digitalized
 There are about 7800 manuscripts and about 100000 historical documents in National Archives of Afghanistan that are indicator of Afghanistan past history, culture, art and governance.
 In an interview with The Kabul Times reporter, acting director of N.A Mohammad Haroon Noori said, all equipments needed for digitalization of manuscripts were included in a single proposal prepared by Afghanistan national archive department. Digitalization of manuscripts and historical documents of Afghanistan national archives increases access facilities of visitors and researchers to available resources.
Talking on creation of facilities to students, Noori said on daily bases large number of school and university students refer to visit and research in archives and are guided by our professionals. Following digitalization, we would manage to supply more precise and comprehensive information to students. Through displaying of historical documents and works by PowerPoint, and introducing of manuscripts, writers and historians we can organize learning programs to students.
 Touching the digitalization process of Noori added, since three years, this process has been going on and in this period we managed to digitalize large number of historical photos, letters, deeds, decrees of the then kings and other documents. In one year, we digitalized several manuscripts by a new Book Scanner which was gifted by embassy of Czech Republic. Despite of above works, we still have a long way ahead of digitalize of all documents and manuscripts. Because still we are facing shortage of additional equipments. Noori went on to say that in accordance with the prepared proposal, this program would cost US $70800. The goal behind digitalization is to accelerate and increase access of visitors and researchers to archives.  Talking on the future plans of national archives, Noori added we have several plans including immediate repairing and rehabilitation of works and manuscripts, anti-septicizing of all historical documents, manuscripts, creation of a safe and secure place for keeping of cultural assets, collecting and purchasing of priceless works and manuscripts etc.
Incharge of digitalization Ishaq Yaqobi said, totally 31849 photos have been scanned in 482 albums. He added, 148 calligraphed books (67647 pages), 15 printed books (3829 pages) and totally 71476 pages have been photographed. 3859 pieces of historical documents including letters, decrees, marriage contracts, rules, deeds, advertisements, magazines, annuals, contracts, signs, bills, agreements, divorce letters etc have been scanned by Protection and Repairing branch. 51 films including 20193 microfilms have been photographed. 
Director of Kabul Public Libraries Hamidullah Shahrani, said, equipping program of public libraries was signed last week between the MoIC and ATRA of MoCIT as based on this agreement, in the first step essential equipments and technology are expected to be supplied to public libraries that include, computers, printers, scanners, projectors, photo copying machine as well as one Laptob computer to facilitate visitors. The practical work of this program is expected to be started soon that consequently a clear change will appear in quality of our services to visitors.
Shahrani added, in the second stage, the program for database, website and data entry of the public libraries will be undertaken which is a vital and extremely important program for the future of public libraries. All the contents of public libraries throughout the country would be inserted in computer system and through  website would be put at the disposal of citizens and enthusiasts and devastation of unique and rare sources and their wasting would be prevented.
Talking on the proposal, Shahrani said proposal for creation of database and data entry has been prepared but there are certain financial and technical restriction ahead of implementation of this extremely important and vital national project. We try to exploit experiences of domestic companies and start creation of public libraries database as soon as possible. Following plenty of efforts, we ultimately managed to get a quantity of money from the leading body of the MoIC for rebuilding of Kabul public libraries that as a result certain facilities will be available to our employees and visitors which is a good news to enthusiasts. 
Talking on the MoU between MoIC and ATRA on implementation on nationwide access projects to Afghanistan Public Libraries and national archives, member of IT Board, MoCIT besmilluh Khorram said according to nationwide access plan of rural areas, ATRA coverse by communications and internet services the country’s educational and health centers using ATRA development budget stage by stage with TDF fund. According to law, using its development budget, the ATRA has prepared and finalized the nationwide access policy and procedure of projects’ implementation transparently, purposed fully, and indiscriminately based on which nationwide access projects would be launched and implemented.
He added, in adaptability with the above goals and policy, the ATRA plan and implements its annual development plans taking into account the urgent demands and requirements of the above bodies.
Therefore, for establishment of ICT LABs in public libraries and national archives which are the most important academic, research and cultural centers in the country, it requires that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) be signed between ATRA and the MoIC.
He added, Afghanistan national archives and Kabul public libraries are two research, cultural bodies which offer services to academic, research and educational societies within the framework of MoIC. Access to ICT equipments would help these two bodies to protect cultural heritages and offer rapid services to visitors and researchers and improve their satisfaction on increase of public services.
Talking on the goals and details of the MoU Khorram said our goals are following:
1- Equipping of Afghanistan public libraries with ICT for public access to IT. 
2- Equipping of Afghanistan national archives with digital facilities to facilitate researchers, academic and educational bodies access to available historical research resources in this center.
3- Digital protection of the country’s cultural heritages through establishment of ICT lABs and digitalizing of mental contents of historical sources. 
Karima Malikzada        
 

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