Digitization of fragile documents is essential in the activities of the national archives – explains the main manager of the archives

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Wassabo Darboe gave this explanation on Friday during an exclusive interview with the Chief Information Officer of the Personal Management Office (PMO) in Banjul.

“The holdings (records/materials) of the National Archives are filled with records recorded in analog or traditional format and the archives are still carrying out their duties of acquiring, organizing and preserving printed materials and helping readers locate the information they needed,” Mr. Darboe said.

This, he added, poses many challenges such as the inaccessibility of the materials due to their highly fragile status. “Documents are on paper and deteriorate over time. Space is limited because the repository is packed and the discoloration of the writing on the documents among other things,” he explained.

According to Mr. Darboe, the digitization of fragile documents aims to provide national archives with a tool to protect and preserve valuable documents within their holdings by digitizing all fragile archival documents for more secure long-term preservation and to increase the storage time, etc.

He said the management and control of government archives had been given statutory authority in the National Archives Service Act 1993 to underpin the administrative reform programme. “Under this Act of 1993, the NRS is responsible for the management of the Government of The Gambia archives throughout their life cycle, i.e. from creation to ultimate destruction or preservation. permanent as an archive.”

Darboe further explained that archives are the documentary by-products of human activity preserved for their long-term value and are witnesses to the past while providing evidence, explanations and justifications both for past actions. and current decisions.

He said the National Archives collections include the following: colonial administration records, including provincial and commissioner records from 1814 to 1969; annual reports and parliamentary documents from 1833 to the present; government publications and gazettes from 1835 to the present day, ministerial and departmental correspondence files from 1923 to the present day, newspapers, photos and monographs from 1936 to the present day, theses and private collection from 1963 to the present day, archives of the slave trade and maps and blueprints.

According to Mr. Darboe, the national archives contain present and past national newspapers from 1936 to date, namely: The Gambia Echo, Gambia Outlook, Gambia News Bulletin, Vanguard, West Africa, The Progressive, Gambia Onward, Gambia Times, The Sun, The Gambian Newspapers, The Worker, African Unity, Senegambia Sun, The Nation, Gambia Daily, Foroyaa, The Point, The Torch, Daily Observer, Today, Independence, The Voice and The Standard.

Mr. Darboe appealed to national and international scholars to continue visiting the National Archives as they would be amazed by the rich collections to satisfy all aspects of life as evidenced by the list of holdings mentioned earlier.

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