Dzongkha

National Archives

National Archives Building

The National Archives is responsible for collecting and preserving important past, present and future documents on Bhutan for future generations.

In July 2000 Denmark signed an agreement with the RGoB to support the National Archives to provide assistance for the construction of a modern archive building. This two storied building, which was completed in 2004 is equipped with a modern security and fire alarm system as well as temperature and humidity control.

Our National Memory Bank

The repository rooms of the archives now house many importaint documents including old records, old letters and around seven thousand important photographs. The archives also hold microfilms of many other important documents. Particuarly rare and important books and manuscripts from the National Library collection are also kept in the secure and controlled facilities of the Archives. Thus the archives is the foundation of our National Memory Bank.

The National Archives solicits co-operation from all concerned in its effort to create our National Memory Bank. We therefore request individuals and instituions, inside and outside the country holding important documents and other material related to Bhutan which may be of interest to future generations, to provide copies for our National Archives.

Microfilming Facility & Service

The National Library & Archives offers a free microfilming service for institutions and individuals within Bhutan holding important rare texts and documents. We actively encourage anyone holding such documents to bring them to the library for microfilming in order to ensure the long term preservation of the contents of these documents should anything happen to the original. Upon microfilming the original text or document will be returned to the provider along with one microfilm copy, and one copy will be held in our Archives in safe and secure controlled storage conditions.

Conservation & Preservation

The Archives primarily deals with paper documents. Paper is composed of oganic materials which deteriorate with the passage of time. Documents printed on modern paper often contain bleaches and other chemicals which can speed up this deterioration. Similarly photographs and film often contains chemical traces left over from processing which can cause deterioration. Therefore, when documents or photographs are selected for preservation it is important that they are treated to nuetralize harmful these chemical residues.

Many old documents come to us in a fragile or damaged condition and must be carefully conserved or strengthened to ensure their long term preservation.

Legal Deposit Act

Since the passing of the Legal Deposit Act during the 77th session of the National Assembly in 1999 the National Archives also stores copies of material deposited under the provisions of that act.

Summary of the Legal Deposit Act

This is an Act to Collect, Preserve and Manage Bhutan's Documentary Heritage. This Act extends to the entire Kingdom of Bhutan as well as to all Bhutanese Citizens residing outside the country. The National Assembly Members have passed the Legal Deposit Act during the 77th session of the National Assembly.

Under this Act, publishers and producers of books, printed material, and other materiel (including audio or visual material) are required to deposit copies of their publication or production of any material free of cost at the National Library and Archives within three months of the date of publication or production.

Where materials are published by the government, or by government-owned or related sectors and organizations they should deposit ten copies of printed materials and five copies of non-printed materials at the National Library and Archives.

Where the material is published by private organizations, companies, non-government organizations, individual or private sector concerns who undertake the production of materials for the purpose of selling or free distribution they should deposit four copies of printed material and two copies of non-printed materials at the National Library and Archives.

"Printed materials" include books, newspaper, magazines, serials, government publication, maps, charts, tables, drawings, graphic arts, photographs, catalogues and posters produced by printing, lithography, photography, xylograph, duplication or any other similar processes.

"Non-printed materials" include educational cinema, tele-films, documentaries, microfilms, and audio-visual recordings, electronic media (computer software, CD-ROM), Braille and any other media containing information. Under this Act, the National Library has a provision for the publication exchange programs with national and international organizations. So let us start this program with our relationship to provide information resources for all citizens.

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Future Plans

In the 10th five year plan the National Archives plans to carry out a nation wide survey to determine where records of national importance are located; and in what form, shape and condition these records are being maintained. If such records are not being taken care of properly we will endeavour to assist the owners and custodians of these records to ensure their proper preservation.

We also plan to create special Oral History Tradition and Audio Visual Unit to survey, create and maintain Oral History and Audio Visual documentation for the nation.

Outreach

To improve our service to the public and community, the National Archives plans to develop outreach programs for schools, institutions, scholars and the general public. This will include holding meetings, exhibitions and semminars; visiting schools, TV and Radio broadcasts, providing information through the press, as well as helping in the developpment of reading materials and textbooks. We also plan to make some of the interesting and important material held in our National Archives available online.