Joint project with UAE to create new website

On Monday, we hosted a delegation from the National Archives of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who were here to sign a digitisation contract with us to make information regarding the UAE and other Gulf States more accessible for the first time.

Our Chief Executive and Keeper, Jeff James, signed the contract along with HE Dr Abdulla Al Raisi, Director General of the National Archives of the UAE.

The National Archives UAE understands their users and the cultural context of the records as they refer to the local audiences; The National Archives brings digitisation expertise, technical skills and, of course, the records. The mutual benefits of the collaboration are significant in that The National Archives UAE will have an outstanding resource to present historical records and The National Archives will be able to provide much greater access than is currently possible.

We plan to launch a new website – the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive – with approximately 500,000 images of The National Archives’ records. These will come from a number of The National Archives’ record series and will focus on documents relevant to the UAE, mainly from Foreign Office series as well as from our Cabinet Office collections. This is the first phase of the project which will proceed with other phases as we discover more documents to be digitised and published online.

We expect there to be significant interest from Gulf Region and international researchers and academics. We are also keen to find a way to make the content relevant and accessible to the general public as well as producing educational resources.

We intend that the website will be available in both English and Arabic. Although the records will be presented in their original language, we intend to make them searchable using both languages.