Officials from the Presidential Palace’s (ARG) archive said Tuesday that they have started the digitalization process of ARG’s archive and that they hope to get finished within five months.
A month ago the Afghan Film Archive was transferred to the Presidential Palace archive and has been renamed ARG archive.
ARG archive director Rafiullah Azizi said in the next two months they will digitalize visual and audio archives and then digitalize the written archive.
According to Azizi, so far over 36,000 hours of film has been entered into the archive’s data system - most of which are historical films. This is about 10 percent of the historical films in their possession.
“We have not received all the equipment and tools needed here. The main issue is equipment. We recently received a machine and more machines will be handed to us soon. Then we will do what we have promised,” Azizi said.
A separate section of the archive meanwhile houses important documents that date back to King Amanullah Khan’s era. These documents include memorandums of understanding, decrees, treaties and other documents.
President Ashraf Ghani’s deputy spokesman Shahhussain Murtazavi said they recently established a public relations office through which people and media can work to access archive material. According to Murtazavi, people will also be able to access the archive through its web site.
“There is no limitation to access to the information or media access to the archive. Government is committed to trusteeship, because it is the historical heritage of Afghanistan and it belongs to all Afghans and to the future generation of Afghanistan. No one has the right to censor or steal from the highly valued historical storage of the Afghan people,” said Murtazavi.
Historical films, documents, documentaries and other cultural heritage items were until recently kept at the national archive and was known as the Afghan Film Archive.
Staff who worked for the Afghan Film Archive were transferred and now work at the ARG archive. These employees however said the digitalization process will take at least two to three years to complete.
“We transferred all the equipment from the Afghan Film Archive here. What we do here is the same as we did there,” said Yar Mohammad, an archive staff member.
“We will start our work in the next few days. Digitalization of films is not easy, at least it will take two to three years,” Nazifa Hashimi, another staff member said.
But officials said once they receive the necessary equipment, they can start the digitalization process and finish it within five months.