The process of archiving resources is useful in different fields. For the society to function smoothly, certain documents, records, and publications must be archived. Similarly, organizations need to archive their documents in order to retrieve them in the future when the need arises. The creation of a comprehensive archiving policy is the first step towards ensuring that an organization runs efficient archiving operations. Such a policy should address key legal and security issues. With the rapid advancement in technology and the society becoming more literate, organizations are challenged to enhance their archiving policies (Parry & Mauthner, 2004). They have to protect their documents and ensure that they do not break the laws while interacting with documents that are not their own. Some documents owned by organizations carry valuable and confidential information that needs to be properly guarded. Due to the advancement of technology, organizations are shifting from archiving manual documents to archiving digital documents (Van Bussel, Smit, & van de Pas, 2015). Institutions that wish to collect, store, and provide access to digital archives must take into consideration a number of legal issues. This paper will propose policies and procedures that can be used to ensure smooth operations at the Dubai Archiving Centre (DAC).
A Comprehensive Archive Policy for the Dubai Archiving Centre
The Dubai Archiving Centre has a significant volume of records related to finances, operations, staff, and other activities. The center manages huge amounts of records, making the information vulnerable if no effective measures are implemented. An effective management of the aforementioned records determines the quality of the centers operations. In order to oversee the running of the operations at the center, the storage, management, and retrieval of information are of significant concern. To achieve accountability and transparency, an efficient record keeping procedure and polices are important (Traistaru & Cotoc, 2013). Through a proper management of records, the center can account for its actions and decisions by providing significant evidence in the form of documents and records. In addition, a proper keeping of documents ensures that the center is able to preserve its collective memory as well as the memory of its clients. Various companies in Dubai and the UAE are likely to bring their valuable documents to be stored in the Dubai Archiving Centre. These documents may contain confidential information that must not fall into the hands of unintended people.
A failure to provide the safety and security of these documents may cause troubles for the center, ranging from legal repercussions to the loss of reputation. Therefore, the center must be concerned with all aspects of record keeping. Consequently, the proposed policy will ensure that the records of the centers clients, as well as those of the center itself, are documented adequately through the creation of documents and records that are managed according to the best archiving practices (Parry & Mauthner, 2004). The policy will be applicable in all areas of the organization. The fact that the Dubai Archiving Centre is in the process of partnering with other arching centers in the country, such as the Juma Almajed Arching Centre and the National Arching Centre, increases the scope of document and records management at the organization. The archiving policy will ensure that the operations at the center are consistent with all legal frameworks in all locations where the center operates. The information handled by the Dubai Archiving Centre is both manual and electronic. Therefore, the implemented policy will incorporate both digital and manual archiving.
While the archiving of manual records at the center is relatively straight forward, the archiving of digital records requires certain efforts to ensure that the records are secure and available when needed. The access to digital records can be trespassed easily due to the rapid development of technology. As a result, the policy advocates for the strong control of the access to digital records (Traistaru & Cotoc, 2013). For instance, passwords will be used to ensure that non-authorized staff or intruders cannot gain access to digital records. In addition, all staff should be aware that electronic and digital documents and records must be treated same as paper documents. There are legislative requirements that guide the operations at the center regardless of the kind and form of documents and records handled. Consequently, digital records must be subjected to the same level of care and confidentiality.
All electronic records that contain valuable information, such as evidence of official transactions and other critical information, must be backed up. After a backup, they must be migrated to new but secure systems. Similarly, they may be migrated to offline software devices, such as CD-ROMs. This should ensure the long retention of the information contained in the center. In order to facilitate the longevity of the records, strategies that would ensure that the records would remain usable and accessible via the future versions of the software used must be implemented (Redwine et al., 2013). Ideally, for the entire period of the retention of these documents, they should be easily accessible and usable in the required format.
The main requirements for a proper implementation of the proposed comprehensive archiving policy include office supplies, stationery, telephone, shelves, desks, storage cabinets, boxes, photocopiers, and envelopes. These accessories will mainly be used for the creation and management of paper documents and records at the center. With regard to non-paper records, the Dubai Archiving Centre needs to either purchase or lease such equipment as microfilm, microfiche readers, computers, audiovisual equipment, and tape recorders.
The main goals of the archiving policy are the following: ensuring that the documents created and stored are clear; protecting the confidentiality of the records; ensuring that the records are safe and secure; meeting all environmental goals, such as ensuring that the areas containing the records are fire and water resistant; ensuring that the resources are easily retrieved when needed, and ensuring that the documents are destroyed in case they are no longer needed.
Approval and Endorsement of the Policy
The policy will be presented to the board of management of the Dubai Archiving Centre. The center will act as the main sponsor for the policy. A copy of the policy will also be provided to the estimates and facilities manager and the director of finance. The benefits and costs analysis of the policy will be attached to illustrate the importance of the adoption of the policy. The board of management will then appoint a person who will evaluate the effectiveness of the policy. After the review and evaluation, the board will approve and endorse the policy. Further, the board will present the materials and resources needed for the implementation of the archiving policy.
The board will use the following template:
Review Impact or Action
Approval by the Board of Management
Acquisition of Appropriate Materials
For smooth archiving operations, the Dubai Archiving Centre will have to acquire the needed materials outlined in the comprehensive policy plan. Further, the center will have to obtain the records to be stored through different methods, such as recording and publication. These materials will be procured from the funds issued by the sponsoring partners. Further, the Dubai Archiving Centre will facilitate the question of these materials. As outlined, the materials acquired will entirely depend on the kind of records and information that need to be stored. Ideally, the information and records stored fall under two main categories, namely digital records and non-digital records. For the management of digital records, electronic equipment will be acquired, such as backup computers, CD-ROMs, magnetic tapes, and readers (Parry & Mauthner, 2004). Audiovisual materials will also be acquired. In addition, shelves, photocopiers, and storage cabinets will be acquired to be used in the storage of non-digital records. The center will have two main options in the acquisition of materials. These will include either the purchase or leasing of materials. The decision to either lease or purchase the needed materials will lie on the director of finance. However, for the materials that will store confidential and valuable information, purchase will be the most viable option.
Gaining Legal, Physical, and Intellectual Control
Intellectual control offers the means through which potentially relevant materials are identified. Ideally, a pointer to where these materials are located will be identified (Traistaru & Cotoc, 2013). The Dubai Archiving Centre will employ manual pointers and electronic pointers. Electronic pointers will be used to identify where digital and electronic documents and records are located. Manual pointers, in their turn, will represent specific shelves where records are located. The main purpose of the aforementioned pointers will be to ease access to information. In addition, the compilation of the initial inventory of the materials at the center will be performed by means of intellectual control.
Legal control, in its turn, ensures that the documents, records, and information stored at the center are legally protected from misuse and use by unauthorized individuals (Redwine et al., 2013). In order to legally control the records at the Dubai Archiving Centre, copyrights will be created, and the access or the use of the records without the permission of the center or its partners will be deemed illegal. Penalties for the violation of copyrights will be exercised by the UAE copyright law.
Finally, physical control will ensure that records are located exactly where they should be (Society of American Archivists, 2016). Thus, physical control will ensure that documents, records, and information are retrieved as efficiently as possible. At the Dubai Archiving Centre, the pointers will be absolute, meaning that they will be pointing to a specific box in a specific shelf in a specific storage room. The reason for the choice of this mode of pointers is to ease the process of locating the required information. Materials will be evaluated on the daily basis in order to ensure that materials that need immediate treatment are identified. With regard to paper documents, the policy will advocate that the records at the Dubai Archiving Centre must be stored in clean and secure environments. Consequently, the records must be stored in areas that have a low risk of fire, dampness, mould, rodents, and water (Society of American Archivists, 2016). In addition, they should be kept away from sunlight or other sources of excessive heat and light. The center should create an area that is well-ventilated and maintained at stable humidity and temperature levels. Moreover, the Dubai Archiving Centre will store information that is in non-paper format, such as photographs, computer disks, and maps. For an effective storage of such materials, specialized expertise will be sought on issues such as the chemical properties of photographic materials and the components of the ink used in drawing the maps.
Making the Materials Available for Use
People who use archived materials will be required to have legal, intellectual, and physical access to them. Access to materials will encompass all the three aforementioned aspects (Archives Association of British Columbia, 1988). With regard to intellectual access, records will be properly arranged and described. Archivists must be proficient enough to offer assistance in case the need for it arises. Ideally, finding aids will be availed to users. These aids will help users in the identification of archived materials. Confidential or personal information, which should only be accessed by specific individuals, will require users to have an explicit permission access it. Such permissions will be granted to users through different techniques. In case of digital records, users will be offered passwords (Society of American Archivists, 2016). To ensure that these passwords are not shared with any unauthorized individuals, the access to these materials, especially the highly confidential ones, will be closely monitored. The comprehensive archive policy will ensured that the documents, records, and other materials stored at the Dubai Archiving Centre are accessed and used equitably and fairly by all users. Finally, issues such as privacy, preservation, copyright, confidentiality, and freedom of information will be closely observed as well.
Bringing Materials Into the Archive
The Dubai Archiving Centre will acquire materials in different ways. Donations will play a key role in acquiring the needed materials. The center will solicit donations from private institutions, charity organizations, citizens, and association. The center will make itself known to the public through the use of special events such as anniversaries and special sporting events. Loans will also be used as a way of acquiring materials. The center will accept materials as loans, focusing majorly on temporary loans. Besides, some materials will be acquired through purchases.
This stage will entail evaluating whether a certain material is worth acquiring. Ideally, the center will determine the archival value of materials as well as their suitability. In order to evaluate the usefulness of acquired materials, the following criteria will be used: administrative value, quantity, age, physical quality, and uniqueness.
Once the Dubai Archiving Centre reaches a decision to acquire records, the next step in the managing of documents will be the accession of records. Accession is the process through which an archival repository takes legal, intellectual, and administrative/physical control of its records (Parry & Mauthner, 2004).
The creation and implementation of a comprehensive archiving policy will be the first step towards ensuring that the Dubai Archiving Centre runs smooth archiving operations. The main goals of the policy are to ensure the security, accessibility, confidentiality, and effective destruction of the materials acquired. Approval for the policy will be sought from the board of management. The acquisition of the materials to be used at the center will mainly occur through purchase, donations, and loans. Accessioning is the process through which the Dubai Archiving Centre will have intellectual, physical, legal, and administrative control over the materials archived.