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INTRODUCTION

Information plays a great role in improving education, bringing better development,developing science and technology and advancing knowledge. When information resources gathered, organized and used properly it can be a great weapon to solve the problems of a society. For these reason Archives, Libraries and documentation centers play very vital role to get well organized and enriched information.

Based on these facts Ethiopian National Archives and Library Agency is working as the national information center and executing its responsibilities by collecting, systematically organize reserve and make the information resources of the country available for study and researcher purposes and pass them to the next generation.It is also serving as a repository center for publications of international and national organizations as well as research institutions.

Brief History of the Agency

The Ethiopian National Archives and Library Agency is  established in 1944 with the name "wemezekir"   as a public Library. It first inaugurated by his Majesty Imperial Haile Selassie I in the year of 1944 and started giving service with the books donated by the king.

The Ethiopian National Archives and Library Agency reestablished in 1999 by proclamation No. 179/1999 as a national institution by the name Ethiopian National Archives and Library Agency.  

Having made a number of structural changes in its old age history, the agency has been delivering lots of services particularly to the researchers, scholars, academicians, writers, higher education students and the public at large. 

Vision:-

To be one from five leading National Archives and library Agencies in African  in 2020 where information resources of the country are systematically organized and the culture of utilizing information is developed in building democracy and development.


Mission: -

Acquire, organize, and preserve Information Resources and create a National Information system to avail the resources for study and research purposes to make the public beneficiary.


Values:- 

 Effective and efficient Services Delivery

Transparent and participatory leadership

Respect professional ethics

Readiness for change.

Powers and Duties of the Agency Among Others:-   

 Operate as a national repository centre of printed matter, gray literature, non printed documents, manuscripts, historical archives and records etc.
-Make efforts to bring to the country the original or copy of literary documents which were taken out of the country.
- Prepare publish and distribute the Ethiopian National Bibliography and periodicals index.
- Serve as a national registry centre of ISBN.
- Function as a training centre to achieve its objectives.
- Work closely with national and international organizations to develop and promote professions pertaining to archives and library affairs.
- Serve as a repository centre for publication of international and national organizations as well as research institutions.
- Work in collaboration with state archives and libraries as well as public libraries established or to be established in regional administration.
- Ensure the proper handling and safety of records in provenance.
- Nationalize archives which have national importance and which are in possession of individuals upon payment of compensation whenever they are exposed to man or natural disasters.
- Ensure that original archives and documentary heritage of the country are not taken abroad on a permanent basis; inspect copies and permit for their being taken out of the country.
- By concluding agreements with religious institutions and private persons, collect priceless and rare ancient manuscripts when this is not possible and make them available for study and research purposes. 

Information

Archives- Invalueless Records


According to Wikipedia encyclopedia the word Archive can refer to a collection of historical records or the physical place they are located. Archives contain primary resources documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual or an organization’s lifetime and are kept to show the function of that person or organization.


According to Gregory S. Hunter, archives have three possible meanings; the first being the meaning given to materials which refer to noncurrent records of an organization or institution preserved because of their enduring value; the second possible meaning referring to the place where these archival materials are located; and the third meaning referring to the program office or agency responsible for identifying, preserving, and making valuable records of enduring value.

According to Wikipedia encyclopedia the word Archive can refer to a collection of historical records or the physical place they are located. Archives contain primary resources documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual or an organization’s lifetime and are kept to show the function of that person or organization. According to Gregory S. Hunter, archives have three possible meanings; the first being the meaning given to materials which refer to noncurrent records of an organization or institution preserved because of their enduring value; the second possible meaning referring to the place where these archival materials are located; and the third meaning referring to the program office or agency responsible for identifying, preserving, and making valuable records of enduring value.


According to the Ethiopian National Archives and Library Agency Proclamation 179/91 “Archives means non-current records, either original or copy, in the form of scripts, maps, graphs, audio and video recordings, photographs and other records of similar nature produced by government offices and private persons in the course of conducting their day to day affairs and selected for permanent preservation because of their information value.”
As we can see from the above three definitions of archives, it is obvious to conclude that archives should be at least collected and preserved for their enduring values. However Who do this sacred duty?


The Ethiopian National Archives and Library Agency established in 1999 by proclamation Number 179/99 with great powers and duties . Among the powers and duties the Agency acquired by the proclamation, are operating as a national repository center of printed matters, gray literatures, non-printed documents, manuscripts, historical archives and records and preparing publishing and distributing the Ethiopian National Bibiliography and periodical index are a few.


The Ethiopian National Archives and Library Agency( NALA) has acquired dual duties- to serve as national library and national archives . Archives play a great role in history making. They are used as primary sources to writers who want to study the past history of an organization and/or a country. Because archives depict the daily activities of an organization or a country. Historians & Reesearches refer to them and get a real and accurate past information of an organization or politically prominent figures.


How Archives produced ?
Archives can be collected from different bodies. Individuals make Archives in their daily activities to record what the employees accomplished in their work activities, their employees` behavior, problems, weakness and strengths. They may record even the benefit of their employs, they may also record the legal aspects of their employees such as disciplinary corrective measures they take or disciplinary rewards they give to their employees. They may jot down in the files of their employees, the medication and safety methods that their employees get from the organizational or private work.


Organizations, whether governmental or nongovernmental, produce Archives. Governmental organizations like ministries of Defense, Justice, Health, Education, Foreign Relations, Agriculture, Transport, industry and the like produce archives. The records they do each and every day about their work, movements, employees, properties, ups and downs they face, they are indirectly doing the real history of their respective ministries which in turn reveal the real history of the country.


Nongovernmental organizations also do almost similar things. They record the relations they have with individuals and governmental organizations, the material they use, the aspects of their employees` benefit and remunerations; the wealth, the purpose and activities of their organization.


Hence, the making of archives is indirectly the making of a country`s economic, political, religious, legal, social, health aspects and needs of concerned body. moreover in the same way as the making of archives is very important, there is also important how are they made and kept. If an archive is made in a biased and less factual way, it carries these unnecessary effects in to the country’s history and results in unwanted intellectual debates which is the wastage of the country’s resource and intellectual human power that can contribute to the further development of the country.


To escape this problem, the producers of archives have great responsibility. They have to be objective and just in producing archives since archives are crude resources of history. Biased writing and polished sources of information can be checked against by properly produced archives.


How archives are kept is as crucial as how they are produced. If a very important archive is produced by an organization or individual but is not kept in a good condition, and as a result, lost or un recoverably damaged, it is better not to be produced.


Accordingly, archives are very useful in different ways. They are invaluable informative materials that reflect the cultural value of society of a particular era. They play a vital role as tools through which knowledge and communications are stored. The information contained in archives has been the driving force for development in human history as they passed down from generation to generation. They transfer knowledge which involves human action for an effective sharing of ideas and experiences.

 
Even though they only belong to the past, archives are national heritages. They have to be kept as national heritage because they hold critical evidence about our development. Some of them inform us how to define our national identity, value and place in the world while others tell us the history of national constitution development and the creation.


Archives support researches in many fields. private and business records document change in national, continental and global natural environment which later on help us to trace back and establish boundaries of identity. They also preserve evidences of different approaches to using and conserving our own natural resources which help us to claim against any change to them as we did in the case of Ethio-Eritrean border conflict.


Archives help to manage the building in the Environment since they are part of the working lives of town planner, architects and engineers. Professional consultants of original surveys, plans, technical reports, photographs and films which are relevant to the lifetime of the infrastructure to manage the building in environment of a town or city.


Archives also play a vital role in supporting education. They play an important part in formal education from primary to tertiary educational level. Students and teachers use archives to evaluate and understand primary sources. They help also to develop critical intelligence. Moreover, archives help public education since learning is not confided only to formal courses and institutions. Hence, a national archive of a nation provides many opportunities to such informal learners.


Based on the fact of archives` priceless value, archival collection and preservation system have been developed since long period of time. Almost all countries in the world have developed means of collecting and preserving archives In our country, ENALA has been established for this purpose. Besides delivering the service of national Library, it collected Archives because of different purposes. grouping them into different classifications based on their place of origine.

In the collections, In the Ethiopian National Archives and Library Agency ,we can get private and government colletions. “Dejazmach Kebede Tesema` collection; Belata Merse’ehazen W/Kiyorkis` collection; Dejazmach Dr. Zewude G/Selassie`s collection and Aleka Taye `s collection can be b mentioned as private collections.


Archives from the former Ager Gizat Ministry, Yegibi Ministry, Ministry of Health; Federal Audit ; Ministry of the former Water Resources, Ministry of Social Affairs are some of government collections.


The Ethiopian National archives and Library Agency has collected more than two hundred thousand archives from the former Ager Gizat ministry in 2003 E.C.
So the Agency invites all researchers, , journalists, writers and different interested individuals to use the collections for research and study to enhance the country’s development, democracy and the GTP. Moreover, the Agency believes that the proper handling and preservation of archives is the crucial thing in which it needs proper attention of all citizens of the country so that archives would be transferred to the next generation with their great value.

From the Ethiopian National Achieves and Library Agency Public and International Relations Directorate 















 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Modified: 08/05/2014
 

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