Treat Omani manuscripts as treasure: Researchers

MUSCAT: Omani researchers have said that there are an estimated 60,000 Omani manuscripts in the possession of private and public libraries and some cultural institutions. Ten per cent of such manuscripts are reachable and 1 per cent exist on the Internet. “This is very confusing. Serious steps to collect these treasures need to be taken. Everyone should join forces to create a digital unit that brings together all the digital projects currently being done by some government and private bodies”, they said.
“In order to establish a unified national project to put the Omani manuscripts on the Internet in accordance with the international standards, it requires us to identify existing projects in the digital field”, Dr Saleh bin Sulaiman al Zehaimi, Chairman of Trans Gulf Information Technology Company, said in a paper presented at the seminar organised by the National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, in collaboration with the Oman Memory Centre on the occasion of the Arab Manuscript Day.
He added: “The Ministry of Heritage and Culture is diligent in digitising the Omani manuscripts and has gone a long way in this respect. The issue still needs greater efforts in this aspect to put this treasure on the Internet. The National Records and Archives Authority (NRAA) is making great efforts to digitise the Omani manuscripts, many of which are outside the Sultanate. But the NRAA has managed to reach them, and this is a great effort that needs to be highlighted”.
Sultan bin Mubarak al Shaibani said in a paper on the “Migratory Manuscripts, Problematic Concept and Meaning” that there are many migratory manuscripts with many people here in Oman and abroad. We should catalogue, describe and post them to let others know about them. They are not less important than many Omani manuscripts, especially if we consider the Omani manuscripts as messengers of peace and introductory messages to other people. Thus it is necessary to establish an integrated database of these manuscripts and must be identified by Omani researchers”. — ONA