The Public Records and Archives Administration Department (PRAAD) has launched a project to digitise its archival materials and also host them online.
The project is sponsored by the Open Foundation West Africa (OFWA), a not-for-profit organisation committed to promoting the free publication and use of information, otherwise known as ‘open movement’, in West Africa.
The project is also supported by the Wikimedia Foundation, another open society organisation.
It is aimed at enhancing the storage of national archival materials and enabling researchers, historians and interested stakeholders to have access to non-classified information at their convenience and on time.
Electronic records management
Speaking at the launch, the acting Director of PRAAD, Mr Felix Nyarko Ampong, said as custodians of the collective memory of the country, there was the need to put the department’s information on the global stage after 70 years of existence.
He pointed out that conserving records against deterioration at the archives was very expensive and that the cost of the Japanese tissue paper used for the restoration of records alone was way beyond the budget of PRAAD.
The project, he said, was a precursor to the introduction of electronic archives (e-archives) and electronic records management in the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
“PRAAD, with assistance from other sister public institutions such as the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), is putting in place the necessary infrastructure to roll out this programme, in line with international best practice,” he said.
For his part, a representative of OFWA, Mr Felix Nartey, said the partnership became necessary after a Daily Graphic publication on the deterioration of records at PRAAD.
He stressed the need for state institutions to take crucial steps to store information electronically.
He urged private institutions to partner the government to ensure maximum efficiency in national projects and activities.
He gave an assurance that although OFWA was supposed to work with the department for six months, there was still the opportunity to continue with its support.