The first course focused on Archival studies in Pakistan, under the auspices of Information Technology University (ITU) concluded here, today. The objective of the course was to bring together the knowledge from several disciplines to equip people working in different archival environments with updated knowledge. Speaking at the conclusion of the course, PITB Director General IT Operations Faisal Yousaf said the course added to the skill set of their team immensely, enabling them to carry out their tasks in an efficient and able manner.

Addressing the certificates distribution ceremony ITU Registrar Zaheer Sarwar, underscored the innovative nature of this course and said ITU has always strived to bring new thinking patterns to Pakistan. ITU were also the pioneers of this course in the country and were using technology aiming to help preserve our past for our future.

The Project Director Dr Yaqoob Bangash informed this seven-week course was developed in accordance with the guidelines of the International Council on Archives, and several archives related courses taught over the world. This course provided the best information, teaching and skills, needed for archival specialists in Pakistan, he added.

Noting the progress of the project the outgoing Project Director said: “In two years we have come a long way. From an idea to actually locating records, ensuring their preservation, sorting them and now finally digitising them for access, has been a dream which is now becoming a reality. The scope of this project is huge and I hope the Punjab Archives Department continues to upload these documents to the dedicated online portal so that scholars and even the general people can have access to their history and heritage.”

During the seven week archival studies course the students were taught by various experts from different fields on topics ranging from understanding the difference between a library and an archive, types of archival management schemes, preservation issues, ethical concerns, bibliographical problems and the modernisation and digitisation of material. This comprehensive course was specially crafted for the team members of the Punjab Archives Digitization Project enabling them to fully equip for undertaking the task of digitising the largest archive in Pakistan.

The Punjab Archives Digitisation Project was envisaged in 2017 with the aim of opening up the largest archive in Pakistan for researchers and the public. The project initiated with an opening workshop, where scholars from all across the world came and set the tone for the project in March 2018. Several exhibitions, based on primary sources from the archives, were organised in 2018 to introduce the archive to scholars and the people. To date over twenty years of documents have been sorted, preserved, and organised for digitization, which is continuing at a fast pace.

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