Complex Made Simple

Qatar National Library hosts top regional libraries for a heritage preservation and awareness event

Qatar National Library (QNL), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, recently teamed up with the World Digital Library (WDL) to host the 2014 WDL Arab Peninsula Regional Group Symposium which focused on heritage preservation and awareness.

The two-day symposium, entitled ‘Preserving Cultural Heritage Content Training – A legacy for the future’, took place at the Qatar National Convention Centre and attracted more than 40 attendees.

Delegates included senior representatives, professors and librarians from a number of libraries and universities including QNL, Qatar University, Kuwait University, King Hamad Digital Library in Bahrain, the California State University in San Francisco and the Library of Congress.

Following the great success of the hands-on training workshop last year, QNL and WDL embarked on continuing activities within the region and dedicated the discussion to the value of preserving heritage and culture, the means to ensure preservation of cultural items, and the ‘themes approach’ to presenting them.

WDL was created by the Library of Congress, and reinforced by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). Libraries and cultural institutions from around the world contribute to WDL, led by the Library of Congress, by sharing their cultural treasures to create a digital fountain of knowledge. Information contained within WDL is available in seven languages, including Arabic.

Saadi A. Al Said, QNL’s Associate Director for Administration and Planning, who participated as a panellist at the event, said: “QNL was so thrilled to once again collaborate with WDL to host a highly informative symposium on the preservation of our heritage.

“This area is particularly relevant to QNL as we have adopted state-of-the-art technology to preserve and transform our treasured Qatari Arab and Islamic historical records for future generations.”

Commenting about the symposium, John Van Oudenaren, Director of WDL, said: “This has been another great opportunity to work with QNL and other partners from across the region on capacity building and strengthening the profile of the Arabian Gulf region for WDL.”

“In previous workshops, we focused on technical training with regard to digitisation and metadata standards. In this symposium, we stepped back and took a broader view. We discussed heritage awareness and the role of digital libraries in helping to preserve and increase awareness of heritage content.

“We covered such issues as promoting and preserving Arabic and Islamic identity using digital media, approaches to increasing user engagement with online cultural content, and how to identify and select content for digitisation and inclusion in WDL and other digital libraries. It was a very useful discussion from WDL’s perspective, as well as from the point of view, I believe, of our partners at QNL and elsewhere in the region.”

QNL was announced in 2012 by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development. Under the guidance of Qatar Foundation, the library provides free access for students, educators, researchers, and the wider community in Qatar.