For a promising generation
For a promising generation:
A national awareness cultural project supporting education, launched by the National Library and Archives targeting the Educational Sector beneficiaries including all levels of public and private School students across the UAE to benefit from the available documents and national historical information available to enlighten them about the identity, history and civilization of the UAE, and to enhance and preserve its national identity, Sinaa (Emirates Etiquette) and authentic moral values using modern and creative means.
Student Archive Organization and Method
Student Archive Organization and Method
Have you ever provided your students with a large amount of review papers and asked them to keep them in a special file? How do students save their academic papers throughout the year? What is the best way to save and organize papers to be used later by students? How much is being done to save and organize students’ papers? Is documents conservation a general culture or just an individual effort?
It seems that official documents sorting and preservation are individual efforts rather than a general culture - why is it so?
It is nothing more than being a simple matter of awareness about the correct way to save and take care of personal documents. There is a number of methods to educate students about the culture of organization and conservation, including:
- Organizing a visit to the National Library and Archives to listen to a lecture on the methods of saving personal documents by creating a personal archive at home.
- A visit by the National Library and Archives to the educational institutions to deliver lectures and educate students and teachers about the importance of the personal archive. In addition, the National Library and Archives website offers important information and tips that can be presented to students to benefit from them in archiving their academic and school documents, such as the certificates and important correspondence, etc.
The National Library and Archives pays particular attention to awareness of the personal archive. In addition to the public interest in reducing material losses resulting from the loss and damage of personal documents, there is also a historical. Many of the community members possess personal documents that are of great importance at the national level so their preservation becomes a national priority rather than personal. As a result, spreading awareness among students about the importance of documents conservation will get every Emirati home acquainted with the importance preserving documents so they all can participate in building the Nation's memory.
Scientific Research Methods
Scientific research is the civilization’s innovative technique to understand the past, deal with the present and look into the future. This was confirmed by His Highness Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Interior, when he said: "Scientific research is the effective drive for the human society’s progress and evolution, and the mainstay for upgrading the capabilities of all of the UAE sectors".
Writing the scientific research in the form of books and publications requires the researcher to acquire certain values, accurate and specific skills in how to collect, deduce and employ information and prove their sources. The scientific research has specific properties, methods and steps, which the researcher should abide by to conduct a scientific research that meets the form and content requirements, as follows:
First: Researcher Characteristics
1. Desire for the research topic:
The researcher’s desire is an important factor in conducting a proper scientific research since it is always the motivations behind achieving success and excellence.
2. Neutrality and objectivity:
Neutrality means that the researcher must not make subjective judgment without evidences or proofs. However, objective researcher uses reason and logic when writing his/her research and provides evidences and proofs that confirm his/her beliefs and conclusions.
3. Rely on scientific facts:
The researcher should not rely on personal observations and assumptions that are not based on fixed scientific facts. His/her research should be supported with evidences or proofs that confirm his/her findings and establish credibility for them.
4. Patience and perseverance:
A researcher faces several difficulties and challenges while searching for the required and appropriate information. Therefore, he/she should be patient since fulfilling his/her aim requires perseverance and determination to overcome the challenges he/she faces otherwise the research will be doomed to failure.
The researcher should be humble, and avoid arrogance and pride; he/she should not think that he/she is much more important than other researchers due to his/her significant and invaluable conclusions. That is because arrogance leads to the researcher’s downfall as it turns readers away from the researcher and his/her researches regardless of their scientific credibility.
6. Scientific integrity:
The most important trait of the researcher is maintaining scientific integrity, which means providing a reference citation when quoting text and ideas from other source.
7. Ability to carry out the research:
The researcher must be certain of his/her ability to undertake the scientific research and be passionate in the depth of that research and in making the deductions and conclusions whilst writing it. It is also necessary for him/her to secure the necessary finances for travel, acquisition and photocopying of references, or the purchase of any necessary equipment.
Second:Characteristics of Scientific Research
1. Clarity and Comprehensiveness of the Research Title:
A research paper with a good title shows the researcher’s ability to give a concise summary of the research topic with specific, accurate and comprehensive words covering the research scope, topic, time and place.
2. Accurate Information and Scientific Facts:
The researcher should adopt the scientific research method based on accurate knowledge and fixed facts rather than his/her personal assumptions and judgments. He/she should also support his/her research with proofs and evidences that confirm his/her beliefs, conclusions and recommendations.
3. Research Scope Planning:
Identifying the time and place scope is one of the scientific research fundamentals as it should be limited to specific geographical areas and periods.
4. Innovation and Creativity:
Innovation and creativity do not necessarily mean that the research topic should be unique and unprecedented. However, it means that the researcher seeks to address a substantial and well-known idea related to a particular topic either by completing earlier researches that dealt with this idea or tackle it in a fully comprehensive manner. This will definitely be an added value to human knowledge, which indicates a creative spirit and predicts an enormous research talent and wider scientific imagination.
5. Citation and Referencing:
The researcher should respect the generally accepted research norms in terms of obtaining and verifying the information. He/she should provide the used sources and references in the footnotes including the author’s name, book title, publisher, country/ city of publication, year of publication and page number. Then, he/she should document these references in the bibliography, which include the referred books, bulletins and articles provided that each reference mentioned in the bibliography should also be mentioned in the main body of the research and vice versa.
6. Coherence between the Research Parts:
The research should be coherent and consistent across all its chapters, sections and other parts and in accordance with the scientific bases and methodologies so that each idea leads to the next one consistently. This means that the researcher’s arguments and conclusions should not be dispersed or contradictory as if it is more than one research.
Thirdly: Scientific Research Approaches
The scientific research has several approaches, including:
1. Descriptive Approach:
The descriptive approach is concerned with identifying the characteristics of the phenomenon, subject of the study, and describing its nature, type of relation between its variables and causes in addition to other aspects that deal deeply with the phenomenon. This approach does not aim to collect descriptive data only but also to analyze and interpret them in order to reach specific scientific conclusions.
2. Historical Approach:
The historical approach aims to describe, record, study and analyze the past events and incidents based on accurate methodological bases to reach new facts that help in understanding the present and predicting the future.
3. Experimental Approach:
The researcher relies on scientific experimentation when following the experimental approach in his/her research. Experiments offer the researcher a great opportunity to find out the truth. It can be said that this approach is the most important approach of scientific research as it helps people to achieve through observation and experimentation - correct conclusions and learning clear ways to deal with the various phenomena and explain them scientifically and accurately.
4. Philosophical Approach:
It is a cogitative, mental and analytical approach as the researcher tackles a topic mentally and addresses it based on his/her own thinking to find out the basic and real causes of the problem; subject of study.
5. Inductive Approach:
The researcher deals with more specific observation to reach general rules and principles, which means that it is a bottom-up approach. It depends on observation, experimentation and various scientific research techniques in place.
6. Social Survey Approach:
The Social Survey approach is the scientific study addressing a phenomenon or case that exists in a particular group in a particular place. This is one of the most important approaches of scientific research since it provides the researcher with data and information about the phenomena, events and groups of people related to the subject of his/her research.
Fourthly: Steps of Writing a Scientific Research Paper
1. Selecting a Research Topic:
Selecting a research topic may seems difficult for a researcher either due to the challenges he/she faces when selecting a topic relating to his/her specialization, or lack of knowledge of the feasibility of the research. If the researcher is inclined to a specific subject, he/she should select an essential one and verify its feasibility and the need of his/her country and society to it as well as his/her ability to achieve it completely.
2. Defining the Research Problem:
The research problem is the core of the study. The researcher may have inquiries and hypotheses in his/her mind about deficiencies, weaknesses or ambiguity in a certain subject, which requires study. He/she should take into account that the research problem lies within his/her academic specialization and research interests and it should be specific and of a scientific and practical value.
3. Defining the Research Objectives:
The scientific research objectives are the purposes, which the researcher is seeking to achieve through research and investigation. Therefore, he/she should set specific objectives to identify the most necessary subjects, data and information to organize the research in specific parts clearly.
4. Developing a Research Plan:
The scientific research plan is the researcher’s initial conception of how to write the research paper. It is a semi-detailed road map to be followed during the research. In other words, it is known as the compass, which shows the researcher the directions during his/her research and through which the research feasibility and the researcher competency could be determined.
5. Availability of References:
One of the serious problems facing the researcher in carrying out his/her research is the scarcity or lack of relevant references. Therefore, he/she should check the availability of relevant references and information upon the selection of a certain topic in order to save time and efforts and to move to an easier topic if such references are not available.
6. Research Paper Body:
The research paper body is the main text, which is explained and furnished with footnotes. It is the core and content of the research where the researcher’s ideas, beliefs, analysis, followed procedures, used methods, and justifications for selecting this research are identified. It starts with the title page and ends with the table of content including the headings and subheadings, conclusion, recommendations, appendices, etc.
7. Research Conclusions
The conclusion comes at the end of the research paper. It should contain a concise statement of the research results, the visions and facts in the field of science and knowledge as well as the nature of the recommendations proposed by the researcher to solve the basic problem and sub-problems.
8. Research Appendices:
Some scientific researches contain an appendix or appendices that include official or legal documents, photographs or maps used by the research in his research. If any such appendix is included in the research, it is considered as a part of the research. Appendices come after the conclusion and before the Bibliography “references list”.
9. Bibliography “References List”:
The sources and references list is the basis for the scientific research. It is the first thing the reader sees so it has a great importance in forming the first impression about the researcher and it is also a way by which the reader verifies the researcher’s scientific integrity. Footnote citation and placing a footnotes list at the end of the research show the researcher’s objectivity and interest in showing the efforts of the others and recognizing their role in enriching his/ her research.
Genealogy is the language of kinship and collecting information about lineage. Arabs and Muslims have long since known of the importance of this science because, in the past, a tribe was the social fabric of life. God said: "and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other" and, from this concept, the basis of the importance of genealogy for Muslims to know there lineage has grown. This science thrived as the states flourished, and dimed as civilization faded, and genealogy reached its peak in the Abbasid era.
Genealogists can trace human lineage from the time of the Prophet Noah, peace be upon him, and this is the furthest extent of genealogy. Some can even trace the lineage of the Prophet Ismail, peace be upon him, and trace the Arab tribes that shows the lineage of the great ancestral Adnaniyah and Qahtaniyah tribes. The lineage of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him is: Mohammed bin Abdullah bin Abdul Muttalib ibn Hashim ibn Abd Manaf ibn Qusai bin Kalb ibn Murrah ibn Ka'b Ibn Loay bin Ghalib bin Fahr bin Malik bin Al-nadr bin Khuzaymah bin Aware bin Elias bin Mudar bin Nizar bin Adnan thus arriving at Ismail bin Ibrahim, peace be upon them. The lineage of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is: Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan bin Zayed bin Khalifa bin Shakhbut bin Diab bin Isa bin Nahyan bin Falah bin Hilal bin Falah bin Hilal bin Jabla bin Ahmed bin Yas bin Abdul Al Lam bin draw bin al-Asaad bin Habib bin Amr ibn Kahl ibn Aslam bin Tadol binTiam Lat bin Rafidah bin Thoor bin Kalb bin Wabra bin Taghlib bin Helwan bin Imran bin al haf bin Gdaaea.
There are two ways to codify lineages, namely: Simplified and Detailed. Detailed is the clear naming of individuals in the form of a family tree. The Mabsoot, he also wrote the lineage, peace of God be upon him, in the preceding paragraph. During a time of illiteracy in the pre-Islamic times, lineages were preserved in the memory of the individual members of the tribe who enjoyed special status, similar to that of a poet at the time. The National Library and Archives Library and Archives pay a great deal of attention to genealogy as has a unit specializing in genealogical sciences. In addition, the Emirates Library of the National Library and Archives Archives contains a wide range of books and references relating to genealogy.
God said: "and made you tribes and families that you may know each other. Surely the noblest of you with Allah is the most dutiful of you." Based upon the principles set out in this verse, Muslims scientists have been interested and studied ancient genealogy. Genealogical knowledge was one of the outstanding features of the pre-Islamic era and the goal of it was to confirm the links and tribal alliances, not to deal with the Koran text.
Genealogy was like any other science that flourished with the prosperity of the Islamic state. Interest in it decreased until it gradually disappeared completely in the era of ‘decadence’, as it is called, because scientific production, literacy and intellectual thought reached its lowest level during that period. In the modern era, genealogy returned to the fore with the flourishing of the scientific and intellectual movement in the Arab and Islamic countries. It is interesting that during the time in which the light faded, the science of genealogy in Islamic countries flourished among the Orientalists whose interest in Arab and Islamic genealogy dramatically increased.
There have been new technological developments with respect to genealogy: First, the emergence of genetic science that is made possible by access the DNA of any person. Second, the proliferation of websites family trees.
For the National Library and Archives , genealogy is one of the areas that it concentrates on producing family trees of the ruling families of the seven Emirates in addition to the ancient lineages of the Emirati tribes.
Documents Restoration Process
Documents Restoration Process
Very often, the archiving of documents, books, photographs and maps of great scientific and historical importance is neglected even in developed countries and countries that have a long history in archival science. Preservation of historical documents is a science in itself that has its requirements, methodology and approaches, which should be followed step by step to prolong the life of a document as long as possible. It is not unusual that a huge number of documents, which were not handled with due care or properly preserved, need to be restored.
With the passage of time, many documents are damaged, destroyed or disintegrated by normal wear and tear, chemicals and misuse or overuse, as well as accidents, such as floods and fires. In many cases, the damage to documents is not discovered until after it spreads across the document, since acid is part of the chemicals in paper. Insects and rodents are silent factors, the effect or damage of which is only discovered too late. A great many people will remember the story of the death of Prophet Solomon (Sulaiman), peace be upon him, which was only discovered when earthworms had eaten away his stick. Similarly, damage to many documents is only discovered after they completely fall to pieces.
In addition to silent factors, there are also unexpected events like natural disasters and accidents. A natural disaster that is still alive in the memory of many archivists is the earthquake that hit Portugal in the eighteenth century. It destroyed a document storage building and destroyed a large portion of priceless historical maps. In another accident, floodwater rushed into the lobby of a branch of the French National Library and Archives, damaging thousands of documents, which were only restored with a great effort and a lot of money. An example of unexpected factors is what happened in the Egyptian National Library, as terrorist acts of vandalism resulted in the burning of a huge number of rare Egyptian books and documents. Many people hurried in to salvage as much as possible of the documents that were, at best, partially burned, in order to restore them as soon as possible. Salvaging efforts are still being made at the time of writing this article.
Poor storage is the most harmful factor to documents, as nothing can be done for documents, which are undergoing disintegration before the archivists’ eyes due to the lack of financial resources required to improve storage conditions. A large number of archives in many countries around the world lack air-conditioned document storage buildings, necessary to control the level of temperature and humidity, both of which are key factors in document preservation.
Finally, poor and frequent use of documents: Numerous documents are overused or misused by members of the public, who may be unaware of or unconcerned about proper handling methods. In many cases, the material of old documents are of poor quality and more fragile than modern paper, which people are used to handle and, consequently, parts of the document often disintegrate as soon as the document is handled if such a document is not encased.
Restoration is the main element in the preservation of documents and manuscripts. At the end of the disinfection and chemical treatment of documents and manuscripts, the Restoration Section proceeds with their partial or complete restoration. This depends on the size of the affected part of and the extent of damage to the document or manuscript. The process includes necessary repairs in terms of filling up any holes, adding missing parts and strengthening the sheet paper in addition to other restoration processes. The Restoration Section is a good example, which should be followed in establishing any other restoration sections, as it is an integrated laboratory with the state-of-the-art restoration equipment.
Restoration Section Equipment
The Section contains the latest tables equipped with illuminated panels and electric switches for the restoration work as well as a number of other equipment including:
• Water distillation machine: distills water in order to be used later in document treatment and de-acidification.
• Steaming device: used to separate documents and manuscripts sheets that are very firmly stuck together.
• "Mylar" encapsulation device: used in covering documents at the end of restoration.
• Thermal press: used to flatten and dry papers, and to restore some documents and manuscripts.
• Dry cleaning device: sucks dust and dirt off documents, dries documents and manuscripts after treatment and de-acidification of same. It is a fast and an ozone based disinfecting device.
• Thermal iron: used in manual restoration.
• Hole filling device: fills up holes in the document by placing a paste that matches the paper thickness and color in a tub filled with water, which is then drained out through an automated drainage system.
• Document lamination machine: restores documents automatically. Documents are covered with special paper. It is the first restoration device at the National Library and Archives .
• Paper cutter: used to cut documents according to size.
• Polyethylene cutter: used to cut the required sizes from the polyethylene roll
• Manual Press: used for pressing documents and manuscripts
• Hydraulic thermal press: used in document restoration as well as in book cold pressing.
• A toxic gases (fumes) extraction cupboard.
Types of Document Restoration
An artistic process that depends on dexterity and involves collating, binding and strengthening paper sheets, and then bringing the document back as close as possible to its original condition by restoring it and repairing damage caused by natural, chemical and biological factors. The restorer must be experienced in document restoration and conversant in international laws on restoration. The restoration process includes:
(A) Manual restoration.
(B) Restoration by plastic chip packaging or automatic lamination.
Manual restoration aims at fitting in the missing pieces of a document and using chemically neutralized paper, which has the same thickness and is, more or less, of the same color of the original paper.
Automatic restoration is one stage in the restoration process followed by the manual restoration stage, in which cuttings and missing parts of the document papers are brought together and completed. As a result, the final form of the paper we get is durable, soft and of good form.
Automatic restoration is carried out on severely damaged documents that are difficult to restore manually; more precisely for documents that are on the brink of destruction and disintegration. It aims at salvaging such documents and preserving their documentary contents. Automatic restoration should be carried out with extreme caution because heat is involved.
Not all history is written down. Some would say that most history has never been documented. Only major historical events were recorded, while minor historical events were not jotted down in the annals of history, but rather kept alive in people’s memory. Oral history is concerned with collecting and documenting historical stories, events and circumstances that were unwritten.
If we go back to the pre-Union and pre-oil periods, we would observe that history documentation was a luxury that could not be afforded by the UAE society. In the period following the collapse of the pearl industry and prior to the formation of the Union, the UAE did not have the necessary human and economic resources for the written documentation of history or by the then existing mass media. The era preceding the establishment of the Union seems so far away as the development that followed the formation of the Union have created an intellectual gap between the Emirates of yesterday and today. Mass media and newspapers have been around at that time in the Arabian Gulf region and throughout the Arab World. However, they were very far away from the UAE. While documenting oral history is important for all countries, it is all the more important for the UAE, because a large portion of its history was not recorded.
For example, many people in the UAE know that the collapse of the pearl economy was due to the development of cultured pearls by the Japanese inventor and merchant, Mikimoto Kokichi. Nevertheless, this information is all what most people know about the collapse of the pearl fishing profession. A fairly large number of people who are unfamiliar with the UAE think that oil discovery was the main reason behind the collapse of pearl diving. Therefore, it can be safely concluded that historical information is incomplete in a way similar to a picture with missing parts. Sometimes, a picture can be recognized in spite of its missing parts, nevertheless it is still incomplete. This is precisely the case with oral history that completes the missing parts of the picture and quite often, brings to light pictures that have been totally overlooked.
The collapse of the pearl-dependent economy was not a sudden event as many might imagine. It was rather gradual, although events happened in rapid succession after the emergence of cultured pearls in the global markets. Cultured pearls were considered fake and cheap compared to natural pearls. However, because it was difficult to tell natural and cultured pearls apart, the natural pearl trade was adversely affected and replaced by cultured pearls for good. When talking about pearl diving as mentioned in historical books, one cannot help wondering why haven’t men looked for other professions? The answer is that other professions were dependent on pearl diving. However, history presents the collapse of pear diving as if it were one profession. Accordingly, the reader will be puzzled by the facts, which mention that Emirati pearl traders went bankrupt, as a question may arise about the other sources of income. In fact, pearl diving was the whole economy per se, and it is worth noting that it was an integral economy rather than a profession.
Firstly, this economic system consisted of a natural resource: the pearls. Moreover, the Arabian Gulf pearls were the finest in the world. Secondly, there were the merchants who bought the pearls from local traders or the Nakhodas (ships captains) and then exported the pearls to India, Britain and the world market respectively. Thirdly, there were the diving vessel crew including divers, seebs (a Seeb: is a man who sits at the edge of the boat holding one end of a rope, which is tied to the diver at the other end) and other workers as well as their families and the shipbuilders. Furthermore, there was a fishing profession and the import of necessary materials for people such as food, clothes and other goods. Therefore, the pearl industry was the backbone of the economy and its collapse led to the fall of all other economic sectors underpinned by the pearling industry.
Another question comes to mind here: What happened to individuals when the economy collapsed? Of course, all men lost their jobs. But what happened next? How did people cope? This part is considerably recorded in history, for documented history in the past was often biased towards general economic aspects, major political events and international relations. Nevertheless, history has often overlooked people and their experiences as well as the impact of economic and political changes on them. Here comes the role of oral history in recording and documenting the people’s memories, daily life, feelings and emotions, interactions, poems and sufferings. These matters are entirely absent in the official historical records and are completely unknown to the present generations.
Life in the UAE society during the collapse of the pearl diving economy is one of the areas, which the Oral History Section at the National Library and Archives seeks to look into, comprehend and explore its consequences and facts. This cannot be accomplished by academic research only, but also by recorded interviews that aim at reaching and documenting the knowledge still vivid in the memory of our fathers and grandfathers in order to establish a knowledge resource for future generations.
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