Event highlights importance of digitising manuscripts

Muscat - 

There are an estimated 60,000 Omani manuscripts available with private and public libraries and some cultural institutions. Only ten per cent of such manuscripts is accessible, and only one per cent exists on the Internet, researchers at an event observed. 

Omani researchers have urged for serious steps to collect these treasures and join forces to create a digital unit that will bring together all the digital projects currently being adopted by some government and private bodies.

Dr Saleh bin Sulaiman al Zehaimi, chairman of Trans Gulf Information Technology Company, in a paper presented during a seminar organised by the National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, said, “In order to establish a unified national project to put the Omani manuscripts on the Internet in accordance with the international standards, it requires us to identify existing projects in the digital field.”

The event was held in collaboration with the Oman Memory Centre on the occasion of Arab Manuscript Day.

Dr Zehaimi added, “The Ministry of Heritage and Culture is diligent in digitising the Omani manuscripts and has gone a long way in this respect. The issue still needs double effort in this aspect to put this treasure on the Internet. The National Records and Archives Authority (NRAA) is making great efforts to digitise the Omani manuscripts; many of them are outside the sultanate, but they have been reached.”

Sultan bin Mubarak al Shaibani said in a paper titled ‘Migratory Manuscripts, Problematic Concept and Meaning’ many immigrant manuscripts located in different parts of the world. Many people do not know about these treasures and so we should catalogue, describe and spread awareness regarding them.

“They are not less important than many Omani manuscripts, especially if we consider the Omani manuscripts as messengers of peace.”

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