The National Archives Digitally Documents Official Governmental Social Media Accounts and Websites

The National Archives Digitally Documents Official Governmental Social Media Accounts and Websites

The National Archives Digitally Documents Official Governmental Social Media Accounts and Websites

The National Archives of the U.A.E. announced the launch of the biggest project of its type in the region for archiving, preserving and classifying government entities’ websites and social media accounts. The project is very important due to the wide use of such official media whether by the decision-makers or the Ministries and the official entities in the U.A.E. and due to the rapid growth of the number of accounts, tweets, and e-mails.

The U.A.E. is one of the first countries which started archiving the electronic materials early. In this respect, it joined the ranks of international archives, such as the American and Canadian Archives.

In this regard, the N.A. prepared a list of the main official websites and social media accounts of government entities and official figures. The information and data issued by these entities are deemed national documents, which their historical value increases over the passage of time. The large amounts of data and information available in the websites and the accounts of the official bodies and the V.I.P.s complement the daily monitoring carried out by the National Archives and they will have significant importance in the future. Documenting and preserving information and data require advanced and software technologies. The National Archives will allocate a web portal on its official website to provide the researchers with access to the archived digital information according to the web crawling technology.

The N.A. shows great interest in the project of archiving the government entities’ websites since it documents a major part of the Nation’s memory, which that it strives to collect and preserve. The importance of preserving these websites arises from their value and because they cannot be retrieved if they are removed from the Internet. This project, which is expected to be launched at the beginning of the next year, will make the U.A.E. one of the first countries to take this step globally. The U.A.E. is working on documenting and preserving millions of electronic data. 

The above-mentioned project passes a set of steps starting from the method of accessing websites in accordance with certain mechanisms after addressing and acquainting the concerned parties with the projects and its public benefits. This is in addition to identifying the cooperation channels in order to obtain their consent for acquiring their digital materials. The project requires advanced software and digital systems that are capable of gathering and preserving massive amounts of digital data and at the same time, they should be capable of developing the portal, which will provide researchers with access to digital data and enable them to search using advanced search tools.

This national project faces some challenges, such as the inability to retrieve information uploaded on websites for many reasons and in coping with the continuous advancement of the technologies used in the software. This is in addition to challenges of bypassing the websites’ protection systems, which require certain procedures to be followed to have access to the information and data to be preserved by the N.A. Moreover, these websites include large amounts of non-indexed information so it is necessary to determine the important materials.

It is worth mentioning that the American and Canadian Archives were the first in this field as they started the preservation and archiving of the official websites of their government entities and official figures.