Overview of the Automation Programme at KNADS

Automation of archival materials started in 1989 as a pilot project. In support of the policy on ‘District Focus for Rural Development’ initiated by the government of Kenya in 1985, UNESCO agreed to fund a pilot project on archival networking in Kenya. Two consultants, Mr. A.D. Droquet (1987) and Mr. K. Hall (1989) did the initial study and the evaluation respectfully and gave recommendations for improvement. Consequently, UNESCO donated two computers to KNADS that were used to initiate the computerization programme. The ICT section was formally started in 1994. Emphasis was on automation of the manual finding aids for the repository historical files, audio-visual materials, microfilms and library materials. The department continues using UNESCO’s CDS/ISIS program. This program eases the retrieval of archival materials since with the touch of a button, one is able to know the actual location of a file. The catalogues of these materials can be searched online in this website.

From 2007, the department embarked on the digitisation of selected archival materials. Emphasis was placed on materials that are heavily used as well as those that are physically deteriorating. At the beginning, the digitisation programme was outsourced. However, the department decided to develop its own internal capacity and today, the exercise is being carried out in-house. To this end, the department has bought scanners and computers to undertake the exercise. To-date, over 13 million documents have been digitised. These materials will be made available for online ordering through this website. With the redesigning of this website, the department intends to make the archival resources available online. Users of the materials will be able to download them remotely after paying the stipulated fees. This will help in making the materials more widely accessible. To ensure efficient and effective storage and access to the digitised materials, the department has installed top-end equipment including servers and storage area networks with adequate capacity to store and process all the materials. The department also acquired a state-of-the-art records management system that is capable of managing both paper and electronic records. This will serve the departments records management needs as well as act as a resource where other public organisations wishing to automate their records management systems could learn on best practices.