Abu Dhabi: In the midst of Abu Dhabi’s remarkable development as seen in its evolving skyline, a transformation is underway within the UAE’s archival institutions, complementing the modernisation of the Emirates.
Gulf News recently interviewed Dr. Abdullah Al Raisi, Cultural Adviser to the UAE Presidential Court and Chairman of the Higher Organisation committee of the International Council on Archives (ICA) Congress Abu Dhabi 2023.
Theme: “Enriching knowledge societies”.
The Congress is a programme is not only a platform of exchange of knowledge and ideas, but it also a hub for business development.
Expected attendees: 3,000 + (Among the attendees include senior government officials, leading academics and professionals from the field of Archives, Records Management and Information Sciences from every part of the world)
The event highlights the UAE’s leading role in the development of the Archiving sector.
Dr. Al Raisi emphasised the commitment to preserving the UAE’s cultural heritage through innovation.
Dr. Al Raisi highlighted the Congress’s dedication to integrating AI into archival processes. This helps enhance preservation, accessibility, and utilisation of cultural heritage.
He explained that the UAE has embarked on a technological leap with investments in IT infrastructure and training programme, emphasising “From No Tech to High Tech.”
Object Character Recognition (OCR) powered by AI allows text extraction from images within PDF files, thus making content searchable.
“Machine learning algorithms can predictively maintain and monitor archival materials,” Dr. Al Raisi said.
How AI helps in archiving
By analysing environmental conditions, these algorithms can identify potential threats to the physical integrity of vital documents and artifacts.
On the accessibility front, AI-powered language translation tools are on the horizon, bridging the linguistic divide — while rendering multilingual materials accessible to a global audience.
Dr. Al Raisi has also revealed the UAE National Library and Archives’ collaboration with the National Archives of the United Kingdom, to launch “The Arabian Gulf Digital Archives” (AGDA), in order to preserve the history of the Arabian Gulf region with advanced search and retrieval systems.
Beyond record-keeping, Dr. Al Raisi highlighted the Archives sector’s contribution to research, innovation, accountability, cultural exchange, tourism, and data-driven decision-making, forming the foundation of economic well-being.
“Our Archives sector goes beyond record-keeping. It’s the bedrock of economic and financial well-being,” he asserted. He outlined its role in research, innovation, accountability, cultural exchange, tourism, and data-driven decision-making.
In a country where the past and future coalesce seamlessly, the visionary leadership of individuals like Dr. Abdullah Al Raisi ensures that the UAE’s stories, memories, and lessons will be available for generations to come.
In the UAE’s narrative, the union of traditional archives and modern technology ensures that the nation’s stories and heritage endure for generations.
A key part of the Congress is the exhibition hall, providing a platform for industry leaders to connect with decision makers and prospective clients; opening up new markets and driving innovation across the international community.
This event is the 19th quadrennial Congress of the ICA, but it is the first to be held in the MENA region.