Thursday, October 15, 2015

Is library passé?

Dubai: Ten million historical documents have been saved in an electronic archive by Dubai Municipality, Huda Uzair Mubarak, Head of Documents and Records Management Section, said.

“We approached the different government entities’ archive departments to contribute to the exhibition by displaying their historical documents that have been carefully preserved for years,” said Huda.

Among the items displayed were historical documents from Dubai Court’s archives and equipment such as typewriters and cameras used by the different sectors in the past.

“In this year’s exhibition, we are focusing on historical documents attained from the Building Department since it is the municipality’s core and we should highlight this particular department’s success with archiving documents carefully,” Huda said.

She added that Dubai Municipality collaborated with Juma Al Majid Centre for Culture and Heritage in the restoration of the historical documents received. The exhibition displays how the methods of documentation in the country have evolved throughout the years, Huda said.

“Lt. Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim [Deputy Chairman of Police and General Security in Dubai] was also insightful since he addressed the importance of preserving and archiving documents,” she said. “We want to encourage all government sectors to take the initiative to archive these physical documents electronically to avoid losing them.”

Huda clarified that Dubai Municipality welcomes entities to observe and learn from their efforts in preserving historical documents. She added that the oldest documents found in the exhibition date back to the 1950s.

Attending the tour of the exhibition were Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, and Major General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, Dubai Police Chief, guided by Eng Nasser Lootah, director-general of Dubai Municipality.

“There are many types of documents which can be recorded in writing, print, in the form of pictures or drawings and even audio,” said Lt Gen Dahi. “People in authority play a major role in securing information and making sure documents are archived appropriately.”

Many of the documents on display, such as trade licences and health forms, were handwritten, some of which contained a photograph of the individual involved. A photograph of the first policeman, the first graduating class from the police academy and magazine issues featuring rulers of the country were also on display for spectators to view.

In celebration of the national ‘Arab Document Day’, which will be marked on October 17, Dubai Municipality invited officials from the various participating government sectors to tour the exhibition.

Dubai Municipality first celebrated Arab Document Day in 2008 in Al Ras Dubai Public Library. In 2013, Dubai Municipality put together a book which includes an inventory of the most important historical documents.

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