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Online Finding Aids : Evidence of the National Archives of Malaysia’s Thrust Forward.

The Development of the Online Finding Aids (OFA) Application initiated with a Project Proposal Paper on Online Finding Aids was prepared by the Finding Aids Section dated 14 January 2005, and was ensued by the Online Finding Aids Committee in 2008 headed by Dr. Hjh Samsiah Muhamad and is currently being realised through one of the scope of MyCreative Content (MyCC) Project.

The implementation of the MyCC Project was initiated towards the end of 2011, with four main scopes namely the Digitisation of Archived Document Materials, Digitisation of Archived Audio Visual Materials, Upgrade of Data Centre and Development of OFA Application. The OFA Application Development is further divided into six main activities namely the Finding Aids module development, data integration between the OFA application with data from the Computerised Archival System and Services (COMPASS), Archival Management System (AMS) and Media Asset Management System(MAMS) applications, development of an online reservation module, development of an online payment module, development of a digital format preservation module and modification of COMPASS and MAMS applications.

When these four scopes of MyCC coming to an end in March 2013, all of the 3,400,000 pages of archived and published materials together with 2,242 hours of digitised audio visual archive materials stored in the hi-tech Data Centre may be accessed directly through the OFA application. Usage of OFA enables unlimited access of archived materials by the public from all walks of life regardless of time, venue and situation limitations. Researchers, local or international, may directly utilise OFA while surfing the National Archives of Malaysia’s Portal at any given time. Contrary to the application of COMPASS and COMPASS Web, OFA application uses a similar interface and search procedure to facilitate researchers.

The National Archives of Malaysia’s does not only provide access to archived materials, but is now able to provide early reservation services of materials via OFA. Researchers may now make early reservations as early as 3 days prior to their arrival to conduct research. This will expedite the research process and indirectly minimise the waiting period for the material. The National Archives of Malaysia’s not only provides access for researchers into its databank and metadata information, but also provides digital images that may be viewed, reserved and subsequently bought especially for researchers who are unable to visit the National Archives of Malaysia’s building or the National Archives of Malaysia’s cyberspace.

The future of OFA utilisation will also enable a convenient centralised search centre for all types of archival materials. This is due to the ability of OFA in performing a centralised search between the COMPASS, AMS and MAMS systems which are used to store archived materials according to different types and formats.

Through OFA, the National Archives of Malaysia’s has successfully built and developed a sophisticated Online Finding Aids project which attracts researchers as well as members of the public. Listing of archived materials for each collection is made comprehensively via groups. The listing and description of materials are also made based on level of description (ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description).

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