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Friday 18 February ,2022

The National Library and Archives is proud of its achievement and foresees innovation in the future

The National Library and Archives is proud of its achievement and foresees innovation in the future

In conjunction with the month of innovation, the National Library and Archives “NLA” of the UAE organized, via interactive platforms, a virtual lecture entitled “The Role of the National Library and Archives in Innovation” in which Mr. Hamad Al Mutairi, Director of the Archives Department, reviewed the achievements made in terms of innovation during the last stage. He laid the main foundations for innovation and defined its key features during the following stage.

The lecturer said: “We have learned from our wise leadership that innovation is not an option but a necessity. It is not a culture, but a work style and it is not a luxury but a duty. Therefore, each staff member and official have to be innovative in order to improve business opportunities, promote his/ her achievements in the interest of our homeland and deliver an excellent performance. We have also learned from our leadership that nothing is impossible.”. He noted that innovation occurs in developing tasks and projects and foreseeing the future. The UAE Government has introduced several programs that enhance the culture of innovation.

He also reviewed significant milestones in the history of the NLA, which was founded in 1968. Since its inception, the NLA strived to fulfil its principal objective entrusted by the Late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan to preserve whatever pertaining to the history of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the UAE and the Gulf region. It went through several stages of development, most notably the issuance of Federal Law No. (7) of 2008 under which the NLA was changed into a federal institution and then Federal Law No. (3) of 2021 on the incorporation of the National Library into the National Archives and the introduction of new objectives and functions.

The lecture discussed the NLA’s key functions: various forms of documents and historical records collection, processing to prolong their life and preservation in accordance with the latest standards as well as making them accessible. Furthermore, it tackled innovation in operations and procedures such the standard plan for identifying similar documents at government entities. It focused on the importance of innovation in modern technologies, which form the fundamental basis for the digital age we live in, and on making use of artificial intelligence in archives and libraries, the NLA achievements at this level and how it benefited from indexing, electronic data recognition, optical character recognition (OCR) and accessibility processes.

The Director of the Archives Department highlighted the challenges of innovation such as lack of positivity, initiative implementation and careful planning. Moreover, he emphasized the importance of innovation for the future and its requirements of strategies, projects, initiatives and enablers, noting that ambitious and smart strategies that conform with the UAE strategies require enablers and infrastructures to support projects and initiatives.

With regard to human resources training, qualification and empowerment, the lecture pointed out the collaboration with Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi in the professional certificate and the Bachelor and Master in archives and records management.

In addition, the lecture, attended by a large number of employees and interested persons, identified the main innovative projects and initiatives that bear testimony to the NLA achievements such as the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive “AGDA”, which is a digital portal that contains thousands of historical records, photos and multimedia of historical and cultural value. It is worth mentioning that AGDA have been developed and updated recently by the NLA. The innovative projects and initiatives also include the ICA Congress, which is the largest archival event to be hosted in Abu Dhabi in October 2023 under the slogan of “Empowering Knowledge Societies”.