The National Archive Organizes Major Specialized Symposium in the Future of Permanent Digital Records

The National Archive Organizes Major Specialized Symposium in the Future of Permanent Digital Records

The National Archive Organizes Major Specialized Symposium in the Future of Permanent Digital Records
It called for the continuous development of staff and software and it pressed for a UAE Cloud


The National Archives of the UAE organized a major symposium entitled The Future of Permanent Digital Records in Smart Government. HE Dr. Abdulla El Reyes, Director General of the National Archives, and other senior archives officials of the state attended the symposium. Participants from various bodies operating in the state also attended the symposium, which discussed methods of preserving approved digital records, ensuring their accuracy and credibility amid terrific volume of daily digital communication.
This symposium is also held within the context of the ‘Smart Government’ initiative that has been launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, stressing the importance of rendering governmental services, and conducting dealings with the public through telephone and mobile devices.
Regarding the importance of this seminar, Dr. Abdulaziz Al Raisi, Acting Executive Director of the National Archive said, “This specialized symposium comes in line with the National Archives’ interest to keep pace with the technical development in the archiving and documentation fields globally, seeking to keep abreast of the relevant latest international standards and following them. The National Archives dedicates much attention to challenges faced in the present time in keeping permanent digital records where new technologies have proved their importance, and many important documents come to existence in an electronic form. We have to preserve these electronic documents that record our present honestly, this is an obligation towards future generations.” Dr. Al Raisi added that further review of distinguished experiences and advanced projects related to the National Archives’ duties is required since leadership in providing distinctive archival documentation and research services is the NA’s priority.
The symposium began with a speech delivered by Ms. Salma Al Mansouri, Director of Archives Department at the National Archives. She explained that electronic archiving has definite specifications, and with the rapid growth of the volume of documentation, we find the electronic archiving imperative as it facilitates classification of documents, ensures accessibility and availability and preserves them against damage and loss. Sound electronic archiving which takes into account the quality, accuracy, and conformance to access e-government is the digital archiving that we aspire in the UAE within the context of our future strategy. Mrs. Al Mansouri confirmed that the National Archives endeavors constantly to develop working methods in all its specialties and functions to  keep pace with international standards, and to achieve its objectives of providing the best services to the community and preserving the memory of the nation for generations. The NA is committed to formulate new strategies imitating global trends, and best practices in its field.
The Director of the Archives Department welcomed Dr. Luciana Duranti, praising her scientific and academic contributions to developing archive science in general. The research program InterPAPERS, “Preservation of the Original Electronic Records over the Long-term” is her most renowned global contribution.
In her a lecture about the preservation of original electronic records over the long term, Dr. Luciana Duranti indicated that the National Archives aims to preserve records in line with its obligation towards future generations. She explained in detail how to maintain traditional electronic records within ever-changing electronic systems, and explained that it requires those who produce records to maintain the content and the confidentiality in digital space, and to preserve rights of persons. She indicated that it is a challenge because the records can be accessed and altered easily. Dr. Duranti emphasized that if we want to keep digital records long, we have to respect the principles, adding that we can ensure authenticity of traditional records through their pages and ink; however, this is not possible in the case of digital records.  Verifying the authenticity of a record can be proven through ensuring the electronic system in which it exists, next we have to prove it did not undergo any changes, and in this regard, we should not leave it entirely to technology, but we must adopt our own principles, and then adjust technology accordingly. At the same time, it is necessary to train staff in the use of advanced digital system constantly and this is an ongoing process for governments. Otherwise, we have to resort to a third party, or neutral body that does not allow any change to the contents of the records. This environment is available at the National Archives, which can evaluate the records’ originality and preserve them, furthermore, the NA should determine the effectiveness and value of digital records as it follows latest research in this area and benefits from the outputs. Dr. Duranti recommended cooperating with the National Archives for preservation of the original electronic records, and talked in elaboration about her research program called InterPARES "Preservation of the Original Electronic Records over the Long-term."
Dr. Ian Wilson, Technical Expert at the National Archives, reviewed Government policy and electronic records. He started with the UAE’s interest to move forward in maintaining its values and traditions pointing out that the National Archives is working to save the archival legacy and assets and stressing that positive decisions depend on correct and accurate documentation records.  Dr. Wilson addressed the importance of the assets in its various forms and the role of each employee in its protection given their legal value.