Thursday, July 24, 2008

On The Train (ICA Congress Day 2), July 23, 2008

It is common for major conference or congress today to provide Wifi services for their participants. The ICA Congress is no difference and I was actually tracking who would be blogging about the congress. The first one I found is written by someone from the Secretariat. The second one was a blog by Molly Kleinman who actually going to present a paper on Creative Commons in the context of archiving.

The other two that I found were actually a commentary of the Minister of Unity, Culture, Arts and Haritage’s opening speech. The Voice of Malaysia wrote ‘

“The ministry has been retrieving these documents but this is an international issue,” he (The Minister) said after opening the 16th International Council on Archives (ICA) Congress here.

It is understood that most of the documents are in Britain and Spain and were taken out of the country prior to Malaysia achieving independence.

Shafie (the Minister) said the documents would help prevent future losses of territory due to a lack of records.

“The recent case involving Batu Puteh (Pedra Branca) was a lesson to all, even though documentation was not the sole factor that caused the island to slip from our hands,” he said.

He said the congress would provide professional networking among archivists and experts to make it easier for Malaysia to bring back long-lost documents.

“Previously, we also sought co-operation from international bodies like the United Kingdom Department of Archives, as in the case of Sipadan and Ligitan.”

In 2002, the International Court of Justice ruled that the islands off the coast of Sabah belonged to Malaysia.

The congress, which is held for the first time in Southeast Asia, has drawn 1,200 archivists and professionals from 138 countries to discuss the challenges confronting the profession and to set a trend for the new millennium.”

Anything I Can Say blog under the title of Non-Muslim should not fear Umno Pas reported that in his Open Ceremony address the Minster said,

“… history researchers and archivists should adapt modern digital technology in their work to help them in preserving important documents. Such documents will not only be useful for posterity and help impart knowledge to future generations, but the artefacts can help us in resolving conflicts with other countries. It's important for us to have proper places for the safe-keeping of our documents,"

The Minister also said. ‘

"The right to information is an important element in any modern democracy. There is also an increasing need to bring the goals and vision of the archiving community to bear on issues such as transparency and good governance."

The second day of the Congress went on with more papers presented concurrently so much so some of us had to make a hard sacrifice. I joked among my colleagues if it were to be too difficult for me I’ll opted for the Dancing session which was in the programme to promote our culture to the spouse of the foreign participants. I stayed on the technology trends trail until before lunch I had enough of technology and switch to Competency and Skill required for modern archivist. But I was a bit disappointed as I did not get to hear or learn something new, closer to what we had planned for our own archives.

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