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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access October 25, 2023

Requirements of Digital Archiving in Saudi Libraries in the Light of International Standards: King Fahad National Library as a Model

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From the journal Open Information Science

Abstract

This research aimed to measure the availability of digital requirements needed for digital archiving of King Fahad National Library in the light of international standards from the perspective of information specialists, determine the differences in their responses on the compatibility of these requirements with international standards due to (academic qualification, years of experience, and training courses) variables, identify the challenges, and make suggestions for providing those requirements. The researcher adopted the descriptive approach and applied a questionnaire to a sample of information specialists at King Fahad National Library. The results revealed that the participants had an intermediate agreement on the availability of digital requirements for digital archiving of the King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards. There were no statistically significant differences in the participants’ responses according to (academic qualification, years of experience, and training courses) variables. Moreover, the participants had a high agreement on the challenges and suggestions for providing those requirements. This research recommends holding training courses and workshops for information specialists in King Fahd National Library to determine and resolve the challenges they face in the digital age while carrying out the digital archiving of documents to comply with international standards for document management and digitization.

1 Introduction and Theoretical Background

Informatics and modern electronic communication systems have brought radical revolution against the traditional methods of information processing, preservation, and circulation. It has also imposed new concepts and advanced technologies in archiving and keeping correspondences, which forces institutions to use computer and internet applications in the archiving process. Hence, good management helps to organize, arrange, and process documents according to the appropriate scientific systems. It also seeks to benefit from modern technological means in processing data and documents, facilitate their circulation and retrieval, and benefit from their contents positively and effectively.

2 First: Digital Archiving

Al-Areshi and Al-Moatham (2012, p. 17) stated that the emergence of modern information technologies has imposed the need to reconsider the traditional concepts of archival science, and it has brought developments in document processing and in the way of dealing with them in various aspects of archival work, from inception to storage, passed by description, indexing, search, and retrieval method, which made the transformation to electronic archiving systems a compulsory trend for all institutions.

3 Definition and Concept

A digital archiving system is defined as “a system that accommodates all the documents of the institution after classifying, arranging and coding them, and then shifting them into an electronic form, which helps access information easily to help stakeholders in making decisions quickly. It also ensures keeping another electronic copy other than the paper, which may be damaged, burned, or lost. It also helps in speeding up the circulation of information to the institution” (Al-Bakri & Fasl, 2018, p. 100).

Allam (2022, p. 372) stated that digital archiving is considered an economic unit from the production elements, which are represented in (individuals, who are the office workers within the archives; archival means, which are the tools, devices, and equipment that help individuals to carry out their work effectively and quickly; and the objectives of the archival work which represented in accomplishing the work). Therefore, digital archiving is an integrated system for managing information and records, ensuring their protection and maintenance, and providing easy and quick access to information. It starts from creating a document until deciding its final fate (Saidi, Hijaz, & Saidi, 2021, p. 110).

Accordingly, the researcher believes that the digital archiving system is one of the systems that support decision-making due to the need of decision-makers for historical information. This system is also a part of the electronic document management system (EDMS) because digital archiving is a final stage within any EDMS, and the goal of this system is to save electronic documents for a long time.

4 Objectives and Significance

Digital archiving is one of the most important goals that archive centers and document preservation institutions seek to achieve, in order to enhance and facilitate access to their different archives; to achieve this, modern technologies must be adopted (Yassin & Abdel-Basset, 2022, p. 983). According to Al-Bakri and Fasl (2018, p. 100), the digital archiving system allows documents to be archived and preserved in the form of digital components, which provides the user with many ways to retrieve, view, and circulate them electronically in an easy way, as well as provides the possibility of applying them at the internal network in the administration so that each user can view the documents according to the powers granted by the system administrator.

Abdel-Ghafour (2017, p. 220) stated that the most important goals of digital archiving represented in a set of goals, including the ability to search the content of documents, the ease of exchanging documents inside and outside the institution, making the documents available for viewing by many people at the same time, seeking to achieve electronic governance, and encrypting archived documents to preserve its reliability. As the benefits achieved by digital archiving, it is now in a suitable location, which ensures the search tools and effective methods to facilitate access to the required documents and simplify search operations (Al-Eisi, 2014, p. 240).

So, the researcher concludes that the objectives of digital archiving at King Fahad National Library are the ease of accessing library documents in a reasonable time, providing access to it for employees according to tasks, ensuring the preservation and sustainability of its documents, using information technology as one of the most important axes of the library’s mission, developing departments and helping employees to keep up with the technical development, and moving toward specialization of digital archiving departments.

The importance of applying a digital archiving system lies in maintaining the security and confidentiality of documents, facing the huge increase in information, saving costs, raising workflow efficiency, providing tools with advanced search capabilities, reducing records and indexes in archives, and providing ways to cooperate with other archive systems (Al-Sayed, 2020, p. 76). Previous studies explained that the database program of digital archiving gives quick and accurate results, as well as the data retrieval process is done easily in the automated system, and the different display operations are facilitated according to the type of design in the automated program. In addition, printing is one of the most important advantages and functions of digital archiving, as it is easy to send the required reports to be printed.

Because of the importance of digital archiving, many studies have investigated it (Ahmed, 2016; Al-Azawi, 2012; Al-Hussein, 2017; Al-Jadani, 2016; Al-Shibli, Qteishat, & Al-Hadad, 2014; Ragaisis, Birstunas, Mitasiunas, & Stockus, 2012; Sedek, 2014; Zubair, 2021). These studies aimed to lay the foundations for the digital archive. They found the effectiveness of digital archiving in saving time and overcoming the shortage of papers and inks and the ability to store them on different storage media. In addition, they concluded that digital archiving is characterized by speed, accuracy, and ease of retrieval of archived documents and reduces the loss of documents.

5 Second: Digital Requirements for Archiving

5.1 Elements and Components

King Fahd National Library aims at acquiring, organizing, controlling, documenting, introducing, and publishing intellectual production, and its documents department sorts and indexes documents, as the department collects everything that was published inside and outside the Kingdom and collects what is published about the Kingdom and the vital topics of it that have a global intellectual production, which helps to study human civilization and keep pace with it in its various aspects, and to collect heritage books, manuscripts, rare photographs, publications, and selected documents, especially those related to Arab and Islamic civilization. It also includes most of the historical documents related to the history of the Kingdom, including local documents belonging to several regions and personal documents of some scholars and writers, in addition to the British and German documents….etc. The department is making great efforts to collect the original local documents of the Saudi state, they are read and reviewed to be published, and many documents have been translated. The department provides its services to many researchers and organizations.

Digital archiving can transmit documents automatically through local and international information networks, it can be a bank of electronic information for the state and its institutions, and it provides decision-makers with all the necessary information, which raises the quality of performance in the institution. Therefore, it was necessary in the light of the steady increase of digital archiving systems in the systems market, and the attitude of many Arab institutions to apply them, to study the digital requirements for them from the perspective of the specialists in the field. To provide digital requirements for digital archiving, efforts must be combined, starting from planning and providing the human factor represented by the workers involved in digitization, as well as the financial factor to providing special devices and software to accomplish this process (Al-Saleh, 2019; Barakat & Belarabi, 2017, p. 79). The archivist should have a great deal of maturity, confidence, and cultural awareness, as well as prepare the technical organization through the integration of all the elements of the art collection, which includes saving information and retrieving it quickly and easily, and preparing a classification plan (Abdel-Rahman & Al-Qadal, 2019, pp. 259–261).

To provide these digital requirements, several devices must be available such as computer equipment, modern internal networks, a scanner, and a device that converts any form of paper into digital signals that can be stored in the computer’s memory, so, the result of the scan is a multi-format digital image, as well as fast laser printers (Barakat & Belarabi, 2017, p. 98). Digital requirements cannot be completed without software, whether they are drivers or application programs that are used to carry out digital archiving tasks. The most important of this basic software are image capture programs through the scanning process, image editing software that processes and improves digital images, optical character recognition (OCR) software, which converts page images into full text, database management software, protection, and security software, and electronic signature (Abdel-Rahman & Al-Qadal, 2019, p. 260; O’brien, 2016, p. 28). Finally, intellectual property rights must be taken into account (Barakat & Belarabi, 2017, p. 101).

5.2 Challenges Facing Digital Archiving

There are many challenges facing digital archiving, including the absence of the physical aspect of the digital archive and the necessity of having retrieval programs and devices – in addition to other challenges, including the lack of technical qualification of the workers, the gap between the use of technology and the qualification of the employee, the lack of a suitable environment for electronic work, the absence of a serious work plan, the neglect of technically qualified cadres, and keeping the traditional workers for the largest period (Abdel-Rahman & Al-Qadal, 2019, p. 263).

There is another set of challenges facing the provision of digital requirements for digital archiving, which are represented (Al-Madadaha, 2013, p. 67; David, 2016; Deepak, 2016) as technological challenges, including the challenge of the increasing quantities of electronic documents, the challenge of the diversity of digital documents, and the challenge of technological obsolescence such as creating information, processing it, making it available, locating it, and storing it easily; while ensuring that this information can be accessed in the long term, these tasks are performed by a combination of hardware and software, and these technologies are rapidly changing and obsolete and are one of the most important challenges associated with digital preservation. The challenges of security, authenticity, and reliability of digital documents make us think about setting standards that control the authenticity of documents; archivists must ensure that digital documents are not changed without prior permission from the stakeholders. The challenges of preserving the context of the digital document include the risks that arise when the data are insufficient, inaccurate, or incomplete, as well as the challenges related to electronic document management such as the challenge of managing documents in the digital archiving system and the lack of workers’ training, and finally the legislative and legal challenges.

Accordingly, the researcher concludes that the challenges of digital archiving vary from one institution to another and from one unit to another, but there are some challenges that all institutions share, including the lack of technical and technological qualifications for employees, a large gap between using technology and the employee’s qualification, the lack of incentives and seriousness, the lack of an electronic work environment, and the absence of a serious work plan. This is in addition to the absence of a physical vision for the digital archive and the necessity of having media, programs, and devices for its retrieval, since these automated means are losing their validity as a result of the rapid technological development that requires replacement of used hardware and software after a short time.

6 Third: International Standards Related to Document Management and Digitization

6.1 Importance

Libraries need a scientific method to help them manage the transformation processes from manual systems (paper) to work in digital environments, this is what international standards provide, including specifications and guidelines that enable institutions to update their document management systems and draw, implement, and direct transformation policies. Among the aspects of benefiting institutions from their application of document management and digitization standards (Alaoui, 2017, pp. 14–17) are imposing unified policies and rules for document management on all branches of the library; using global models that facilitate the exchange of documents and their contents and expand the scope of benefit from them; using a unified systematic approach through which operations can be planned, implemented, monitored, and evaluated; facilitating linkage and cooperation between libraries by adopting unified systems for managing their documents; saving time, effort, and resources by taking advantage of the best-proven methods; integrating the document management system with other management systems within the library; developing the system in line with the needs of the library; producing digital copies of paper documents with the same evidentiary power as digital evidence; supporting long-term preservation of digital documents by choosing international formats for saving their files; and increasing the efficiency of the research and retrieval operations.

According to Abdel-Samad (2019, p. 2), the success of managing the documents of any institution depends on its commitment to apply the principles and international standards; it supports the success and continuity of all institutions with their systems, helps in their development, and keeps pace with technological progress and its variables.

6.1.1 The Most Important of These International Standards

Since the standards are not issued on their own but rather, as a result of the effort of a group of experts affiliated with an entity (organization, council, authority, etc.) that enjoys the confidence of specialists and is widely accepted by those concerned with the subject, the researcher considered it necessary to introduce the most important international standards for document management and digitization, among the international standards that are used to confront the challenges that hinder the provision of digital requirements (Ahmed, 2020; Al-Khouli & Ibrahim, 2013; https://standards.iteh.ai›standards›s; Bustelo, 2016; ISO 14641-1 – Dansk Standard, 2012; ISO/IEC 27000 Information Technology Security Techniques Information Security Management Systems Requirements, 2013; Mohamed & Hamad, 2017; Peru, 2013; Yassin & Abdel-Basset, 2022).

The ISO technical report (ISO/TR) 13028 standard for technical specifications is a standard that provides guidelines for the creation and preservation of digital records resulting from the copying of the original paper document by scanning. It establishes principles in order to fulfill the requirements for the authenticity and reliability of activity-related materials. It establishes guidelines for accessing scanned documents. Among these media recommended by the standard are standard CD-RW, CD-R, and ROM disks, as well as hard drives, including rotating magnetic disks and tapes, such as Digital Audio Tape. The Document Metadata Standard ISO 23081-1 2004 provides a technical report dealing with the general framework for creating, managing, and using document metadata, as well as presents the second part ISO 23081-2.2009, which is related to the application of document metadata to codify the description of documents and facilitate their exchange between entities, and the ISO 14641-1 standard for digital archiving confirms that the security management system must be different and separate from managing information system processes or telecommunications systems.

The ISO 7498-2 standard (the reference model for the structure of information security) identified seven levels reflecting a world-class vision of computer network security requirements, adding to the traditional elements the following two levels: access control, authentication, and electronic distribution, the ISO/IEC 27000: 2018 standard provides a set of policies, procedures, guidelines, resources, and activities for designing an information security management system; to design it, the organization needs to analyze all the risks that threaten information security and develop appropriate policies, procedures, and measures to reduce the possibility of their occurrence or their impact on information security. The information management system also involves implementing security measures on information technology equipment, and the ISO 15489 standard stresses the need for each administrative unit to hold a training program for all workers who create records or use the record-keeping system and stresses the need for the management to conduct training programs to make the system more effective. There are two levels of training: the first is related to record management professionals who are required by technological developments to constantly improve their skills and competencies, and the second is related to employees in general, starting from high management.

In addition to the standard of the series of functional principles for documents in the electronic work environment issued by the International Council on Archives, as well as the European standard Moreq, which is a set of specifications that must be available in the EDMS, the ISO 15489-1 standard has three basic principles for good control of document management (archive documents are produced and used in business management, and institutions are advised to produce and preserve original, stable, and usable documents and to protect them for use when needed to follow up on business, to meet the legal environment, and to exercise responsibility – it is advisable to include rules for the production and archiving of documents and data in the general procedures applied to business administration to possibly require proof of activity – developing a plan to follow up the procedures for processing the basic documents for managing the institution when evaluating risks, protecting them, and retrieving them if necessary), and the ISO14589-1 standard for document management defines five levels in the legal and regulatory framework (government laws and decrees, compulsory standards, administratively accepted practices regulations, codes of ethics, and well-known aspirations of society in the field of employee behavior). What is required of archivists is to try to introduce the principles of document management and archival science at all these levels, based on many models that are currently available in publications or on internet sites.

Moreover, the ISO 15489 standard indicates that it is necessary when using automated systems to identify documents of archival value and ensure their preservation and availability in the long term. The ISO 16175: 2010 standard was designed to address the document management deficit resulting from the excessive use of business systems. It aims to present a set of comprehensive requirements for the document management profession and help institutions improve their digital achieving practices. The ISO 1615:2011 includes the basic principles for distinguishing between commercial information systems and digital archiving systems. It aims to clarify a set of professional requirements for digital achieving and applying these requirements to the documents, explain the requirements needed for defining document management in digital achieving, and develop the professional requirements for digital achieving, and also, the ISO/TR 26122:2014 standard includes business data, in relation to information, documentation, and business process analysis of documents; this technical standard provides guidance on analyzing a business process from the perspective of creating, capturing, and controlling records, and this standard defines two types of analyses: functional analysis (analyzing jobs into processes) and sequential analysis (investigating transaction flows). Each analysis entails an initial context review (i.e., responsible for the data and regulatory environment) suitable for the analysis. The components of the analysis can be performed in different combinations depending on the nature of the task, the project size, and the purpose of the analysis. This criterion can be used to assess the adequacy of the technical tools that support the organization’s business processes. This technical report also focuses on existing business processes rather than facilitating “workflows” (i.e., fully or partially automating a business process, in which documents, information, or tasks are passed from one participant to another to take action, according to a set of procedural rules).

In addition, the ISO/TR 18492:2017 standard, which aims to preserve electronic information for the long term, provides practical guidelines for the long-term preservation and retrieval of the original electronic documentary information, in cases where the preservation period exceeds the expected life of the technology (hardware and software) used to create and maintain the information. This standard also addresses the role of neutral IT specifications in supporting accessibility in the long term. These guidelines also recognize that ensuring the long-term preservation and retrieval of documented electronic information should involve information technology professionals, document managers, records managers, and archivists. These guidelines do not cover the creation, capture, and classification of electronic documentary information. This technical standard applies to all types of information obtained from information systems and kept as evidence of transactions and business activities, and the ISO/TR 21946:2018 standard provides information about document management, in relation to information, documentation, and evaluation of document management; this standard provides guidance on how to conduct an assessment of records management. It describes some of the products and results that can be delivered using the evaluation results. As such, this standard describes how to list some of the main purposes of assessment and describe the importance of determining an area for assessment; it also explains how to analyze business functions and develop an understanding of their context, explains how records requirements are defined, describes the relationships between record requirements and business functions and business processes, explains how risk assessment is used to make records decisions, lists options for documenting assessment results, describes possible uses for assessment results, and explains the importance of monitoring and reviewing the implementation of assessment decisions.

7 Related Studies

As for the importance of their role, particularly in the field of digital archiving, many studies tackled international standards. For instance, Yassin and Abdel-Basset (2022) referred to the challenges facing digital archiving, clarified that applying these standards is the real concern facing digital archiving, and developed strategies to address these challenges using modern international standards. Hindi and Khalifa (2020) sought to measure the extent to which the ISO 14589 standard can be applied in the EDMS and they found that there is a good base for archival practices.

In addition, Al-Housh (2019) aimed to present the standards that must be found in digital archiving systems due to their importance and the possibility of choosing among them without any commercial nor bias. Abdel-Rahman and Al-Qadal (2019) found that digital archiving systems are not as good as global digital archiving systems because of the weakness of the infrastructure that is necessary for applying digital archiving, in addition to the lack of training and qualifications that are provided to workers in the fields of information and communication technology. Also, Cunningham (2019) aimed to clarify the way by which we can benefit from the standard series (ISO 16175), which consists of three main parts: the first is the standard (ISO 16175-1: 2010), which includes a set of basic principles and theories that seek to spread information awareness; the second is the standard (ISO 16175-2:2010), which guides in determining the requirements of EDMSs; and the third is the standard (ISO 16175-3:2010), which includes the functional requirements related to the institutions’ work systems.

Moreover, Alaoui (2017) illustrated the most important elements of electronic systems, their components, requirements, and implementation difficulties as well as their functions and operations, and whether they are technical such as classification, or indexing. Domingo, Ruesta, and Alsina (2013) discussed document management’s technical standards and ensured its importance in achieving document management projects. It also hinted at the most important international organizations that produce document management standards. Moreover, it dealt with the ISO 15489 standard and referred to its importance as the main manufacturer of all document management policies. It also pointed to the significance of using international standards such as ISO 26122 in analyzing the contexts that create documents. Finally, it proposed a set of standards that are indispensable in the implementation of document management processes.

Previous studies were useful in constructing the cognitive frameworks for the current research. Most of these studies emphasized the necessity of keeping pace with scientific and technological developments such as digital achieving systems in providing a mechanism to preserve all sources of information in their various forms, organizing and saving time and effort in the process of retrieving. It also emphasized the importance of digital archiving systems that helped process, organize, store, and preserve data and documents from damage and loss and facilitate their use and retrieval, and benefit from them effectively and positively.

Therefore, the researcher believes that King Fahd National Library needs a scientific methodology that helps manage the transformation processes from paper systems to digital archiving. This is provided by international standards, with their specifications and instructions, which enable the library to draw plans for updating its document management systems and put, implement, and redirect transformation policies.

So, it can be said that there is no particular study, as the researcher believes, that focused on the digital requirements needed for the digital archiving system in the King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards, the challenges that face these requirements, and making suggestions for providing them. This is what the current research seeks to achieve.

8 Statement of the Problem

The current statement of the problem stems from other several sources, including the recent rapid and unprecedented developments in all aspects of life. Perhaps, dynamism is one of the most prominent developments that characterize our current era, especially in the technological field, and those that are related to information, and the methods of processing and disseminating it to the beneficiaries and the inability of King Fahd National Library to store huge amounts of daily-resulting documents as well as the difficulty of controlling the course of archival documents optimally by adopting classical methods, as it requires using large numbers of qualified people in the archive sector and the adoption of modern technological methods. In addition, libraries are stressed by the increasing requests for exploiting such information that is stored in them due to their increased significance in our contemporary everyday life.

In addition, there is a trend toward updating the King Fahd National Library in an attempt to develop both individuals and society by adopting a set of techniques that have a great influence on documentarians and archivists during the process of storage and preservation, besides the notable changes that took place in information storage media and digitization technology. Therefore, many libraries attempt to automate their operations and digitize their groups; the importance of digital achieving for institutions as in the report entitled “Best Practices for Analysis, Selection, and Application of Electronic Document Management Systems” illustrated that most projects, which adopt a document management system, failed as a result of a misunderstanding between the institution and suppliers regarding what the system should include or a general lack of determining the requirements that need to be achieved (Hastert, 2012; Wise Guy Reports, 2015).

Moreover, the risks and challenges that the digital requirements, which are vital in the digital archiving system, may face. The digital environment is always characterized by continuous change because electronic information is vulnerable to be lost even after a long time due to the obsolescence of information files, the obsolescence of storage media, technical difficulties in managing digital archiving systems, or challenges that are related to the legislative aspects. They are considered a major obstacle that may confront the integrity, authenticity, and authoritativeness of the electronic document.

Also, the researcher noticed that King Fahd National Library lacks many digital requirements that are needed for digital archiving. Therefore, the researcher conducted a pilot study through a personal interview with a sample of 21 information specialists at the King Fahd National Library to identify the significance of providing the digital requirements needed for digital archiving in the light of international standards. In addition, the researcher attempted to highlight the challenges, which face providing these requirements. The findings showed that all the sample members agreed on the significance of providing these digital requirements because they facilitate communication. In addition, it becomes an urgent requirement to cope with the current developments. However, it is also mentioned that all workers should be trained on this to provide the beneficiaries with all services within less time and effort in addition to change the technological infrastructure.

Al-Sayed (2020) and Mohamed and Hamad (2017) indicated the significance of providing the requirements needed for achieving digital archiving, while previous studies (Amin, 2020; Hussein, 2022; Ibrahim, 2018; Lee, 2016; Morag, 2017; Nascimento, Moro Cabero, & Valentim, 2018; Oliver, 2014; Omar, 2013) highlighted the importance of employing international standards in the field of document management and digitization due to their significance in conducting digital archiving of documents, in an attempt to achieve the reliability and authenticity of documents. In addition, Ahmed (2014) recommended paying more attention to electronic archives, developing information services, activating their role, and disseminating them through electronic sources in an attempt to cope with the information revolution, provide spatial space, and replace paper archives.

Therefore, the statement of the problem in this article highlighted the exposure of King Fahd National Library to some kind of confusion while applying the electronic system for managing its archival documents. Because digital archiving is newly adopted inside the library, they still have an unclear image regarding the availability degree of the digital requirements needed for the digital archiving system according to international standards. Therefore, there is an urgent need to determine all kinds of digital requirements so that the system can work well, figure out the most important challenges that prevent providing these requirements, and make suggestions to develop and activate them. So, new policies and strategies must be held to face these challenges according to international standards in digital archiving.

So, this study attempts to identify the requirements needed for digital archiving according to international standards, using them as a guide for organizing and managing information. In an attempt to solve this problem, this study tried to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the availability of digital requirements needed for digital archiving in King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards from the perspective of information specialists?

  2. Are there differences between the respondents of the research sample regarding the degree of compatibility of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving in King Fahd National Library to international standards due to (academic qualification, years of experience, and training courses) variables?

  3. What are the most prominent challenges facing the provision of digital requirements needed for digital archiving in King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards from the perspective of information specialists?

  4. What are the suggestions for providing the digital requirements needed for digital archiving in King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards from the perspective of information specialists?

9 Objectives

This study aims to:

  1. Measure the availability of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving of King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards from the perspective of the information specialists.

  2. Detect the differences between the responses of the research sample regarding the degree of compatibility of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving in the King Fahd National Library with international standards due to (the academic qualifications, years of experience, and training courses) variables.

  3. Discuss the most important challenges that face the provision of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving in King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards from the perspective of the information specialists.

  4. Make some suggestions to provide King Fahd National Library with the digital requirements needed for digital archiving in the light of international standards from the perspective of the information specialists.

10 Significance

10.1 Theoretical Significance

The present research is significant because it discusses a new topic, as it is one of the modern trends that are adopted in many Saudi libraries as a basis for developing the work systems inside Saudi libraries to cope with the great changes that took place in the field of preserving, storing, and retrieving data and information and it deals with the information specialists in libraries, as they are the most important element that can be invested for the successful implementation of the plans and the achievement of the desired goals. This research is a response to the requirements of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which aims at digital transformation in libraries and information centers, and the findings of this research may enrich Arab educational libraries, due to the lack of studies that deal with the digital requirements of digital archiving according to international standards. Moreover, it provides the researchers with a theoretical background related to digital requirements, digital archiving, and international standards that are necessary for such archiving.

10.2 Practical Significance

The findings and recommendations of this research may help those who are responsible for the digital transformation process and decision-makers in King Fahd National Library overcome the challenges of lacking some of these requirements; it also presents a standardized research tool (questionnaire) to measure the availability of the digital requirements needed for the digital archiving of Saudi libraries in the light of international standards from the perspective of information specialists; in addition, it is hopeful that the present research is fruitful for all researchers who can conduct similar studies in new societies, different institutions, multiple categories, and other variables.

11 Delimitations

The study was limited to the following.

11.1 Spatial and Human Limits

It includes a group of information specialists at the King Fahd National Library in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

11.2 Time Limits

This research was applied during the first semester of the academic year 2022–2023.

This period was spent collecting the necessary data that lasted from 20/10/2022 to 9/11/2022 during the academic year 2022/2023.

11.3 Objective Limits

They include recognizing a set of digital requirements needed for digital archiving in King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards, identifying the most prominent challenges facing the provision, and presenting a set of suggestions to provide Saudi libraries with these requirements.

12 Definition of Terms

12.1 Digital Requirements

Nkhoma et al. (2021) defined it as “they include trained human resources to manage digital systems and physical components such as hardware, software, and networks that are necessary to digitally manage the whole enterprise.”

The operational definition of digital requirements is

all the digital elements that are related to (the information specialists’ competence, training, and qualifications – the digital infrastructure of libraries – the role of information specialist in libraries regarding digital archiving – and the management and description of all electronic records and documents) because they must be available inside and outside King Fahd National Library so that all its documents and records can be electronically archived with high efficiency to cope up with the international standards.

12.2 Digital Archiving

Al-Areshi and Al-Moatham (2012, p. 46) defined it as “the process of scanning, processing, and then storing documents for long periods in electronic media, and investigating how they can be connected to the index database, allowing access to directly view the document.”

The operational definition of digital archiving is:

transforming paper records and documents in King Fahd National Library into electronic forms by using scanners or any other devices, as well as storing digital copies of all kinds of archival materials on long-term storage media while providing the ability to access them when they are needed by using the appropriate search means; this provides many ways to save, retrieve, and review the information easily while saving time and effort, either locally through an internal network or in a larger scale via the Internet for all beneficiaries all over the world.

12.3 International Standard

They are defined as “a set of specifications and rules for practices that are adopted by some experts in the field for achieving quality. They have been reviewed, approved by a competent authority that includes some specialists and interested people in the community, and published to get benefit from them” (Alaoui, 2017, p. 15).

The operational definition of international standard is “the internationally recognized rules by which the digital requirements needed for the digital archiving in the King Fahd Virtual Library can be measured and evaluated.”

13 Research Methodology and Procedures

13.1 Research Approach

The researcher followed the descriptive approach because it is suitable for the research objectives.

13.2 Research Community

The research community consists of all information specialists at King Fahd National Library in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who are on service and their number is 50 specialists based on the official statistics from the library 2022/2023.

13.3 Research Sample

The research consisted of 46 information specialists at King Fahd National Library in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in the academic year 2022/2023, where 50 questionnaires were distributed from the original research community and 46 questionnaires were retrieved at a rate of 92%, which was the research sample. The researcher choses the information specialist in King Fahd National Library because their information about archiving is more sufficient than other information specialists in the National Library. Table 1 shows the description of the research sample according to its variables.

Table 1

Description of the research sample

Variables of the research sample Research sample
Frequency Percentage
Academic qualification Secondary 2 4.3
University 30 65.2
Postgraduate studies 14 30.5
Total 46 100
Years of experiences Less than 5 years 2 4.3
From 5 to 10 years 14 30.5
More than 10 years 30 65.2
Total 46 100
Training courses Yes 40 87
No 6 13
Total 46 100

Table 1 shows the comprehensiveness, diversity, and variation of the research sample in terms of (academic qualification, years of experience, and the training courses they have obtained in the field of computer and information technology) variables.

14 Preparing the Research Tool

14.1 Steps of Developing the Questionnaire

14.1.1 Determine the Objective of the Questionnaire

The questionnaire aimed to measure the availability of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving of King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards from information specialists’ perspective and to identify the most important challenges and make suggestions for providing these requirements.

14.1.2 Initial Form of the Questionnaire

The questionnaire was prepared in its initial form by reviewing the literature related to the research topic (Abdel-Rahman & Al-Qadal, 2019; Abdel-Samad, 2019; Ahmed, 2020; Alaoui, 2017; Al-Saleh, 2019; Barakat & Belarabi, 2017; Bustelo, 2016; Cunningham, 2019; David, 2016; Deepak, 2016; Domingo et al., 2013; EL-Sheikh, 2010; Hindi & Khalifa, 2020; Mohamed & Hamad, 2017; O’brien, 2016; Yassin & Abdel-Basset, 2022) and interviewing some specialists in the field. This helps the researcher define the themes of the questionnaire, as well as formulate the statements related to each theme of the questionnaire. The initial form of the questionnaire included three themes with 74 statements: 39 statements in the first theme, 17 statements in the second theme, and 18 statements in the third theme. The statements are short, precise, and clear.

14.1.3 Final Form of the Questionnaire

It consisted of two parts:

  1. The first part includes personal data and the following variables: educational qualification, years of experience, and the training courses obtained in the field of computer and information technology.

  2. The second part includes the three themes and the statements of each theme. The researcher used a five-point Likert scale (strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, and strongly disagree).

14.1.4 Validity of the Questionnaire

14.1.4.1 Face Validity

The questionnaire was presented in its initial form to a panel of jury members consisting of 16 faculty staff members in Saudi universities specializing in libraries and information science to ensure its face validity, and the necessary modifications were made in the light of their opinions and observations. The questionnaire became in its final form consisting of 74 statements.

14.1.4.2 Internal Consistency of the Questionnaire

The questionnaire was applied to a pilot sample consisting of 15 participants, and then, the internal consistency was calculated between the score of each theme and the total score of the questionnaire as shown in Table 2.

Table 2

Correlation coefficients between the score of each theme of the questionnaire and the total score (N = 15)

Theme one: The digital requirements needed for digital archiving of King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards
Correlation coefficient **0.94
Theme two: The challenges of providing the digital requirements needed for digital archiving of King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards
Correlation coefficient **0.77
Theme three: Suggestions for providing the digital requirements needed for digital archiving of King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards
Correlation coefficient **0.83

**Significant at 0.01.

Table 2 shows that the correlation coefficients were between 0.77 and 0.94. Therefore, all the correlation coefficients are statistically significant at the level of 0.01, which indicates the validity of the questionnaire.

14.1.5 Reliability of the Questionnaire

The reliability of the questionnaire was calculated using the alpha-Cronbach’s coefficient as shown in Table 3.

Table 3

Reliability values for the questionnaire as a whole and for each theme

Research tools Item numbers Alpha coefficient
The questionnaire as a whole 74 0.97
Theme one 39 0.96
Theme two 17 0.93
Theme three 18 0.98

Table 3 shows that all the reliability coefficients of the questionnaire with their themes were significant; it ranged between 0.93 and 0.98, and the reliability coefficient of the questionnaire as a whole was 0.97, which indicates a high reliability level.

15 Results and Discussion

To answer the first question of the research, which states: “What is the availability of digital requirements needed for digital archiving of King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards from the perspective of an information specialist?”

Frequencies, mean values, and standard deviations were calculated for the responses of the research sample about the availability degree of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving of King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards as shown in Table 4.

Table 4

Responses of the research sample about the availability degree of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving of King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards

Items Total sample
Frequencies Mean Standard deviation Rank Agreement degree
Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly disagree
Continuous training courses are held to help information specialists in the King Fahd National Library to have the necessary information technology skills such as arranging, classifying, indexing, retrieving, protecting, and evaluating electronic documents used in electronic archiving 38 2 2 4 0 4.61 0.75 1 Very high
Determine the current and future needs of an information specialist in information systems, software, and online work; to adapt to the new technological requirements of digital archiving 32 2 4 8 0 4.26 0.83 2 Very high
The information specialist at King Fahd National Library has the ability to deal with databases and information to cope with the digital transformation of archiving 26 0 2 16 0 3.83 0.77 3 High
The information specialist at King Fahd National Library has the ability to use technology in photocopying tasks 12 10 4 20 0 3.30 0.64 4 Intermediate
Requirements related to information specialists and their competence, training, and qualification 4 The first
Providing websites to information specialists; to view all new developments in the field of digital archiving in the light of international standards 2 14 26 4 0 3.30 0.82 1 Intermediate
Providing users with interfaces whose design was according to international standards 0 14 30 2 0 3.26 0.57 2 Intermediate
Providing a set of modern software related to the processes of creating sources in the digital form, the programs of documents and data retrieval, indexing, manufacturing of materials and security, and verifying the users’ identity 0 14 30 2 0 3.26 0.71 2 Intermediate
Providing global communication networks and ports with high efficiency and speed 0 10 34 2 0 3.17 0.70 3 Intermediate
Providing original copies of database management systems, software, and antivirus 0 8 36 2 0 3.13 0.53 4 Intermediate
Providing technical support from specialists to solve technical problems related to digital archiving 0 8 36 2 0 3.13 0.53 4 Intermediate
Providing halls equipped with modern technology that is used for digital archiving, such as computers, scanners, cameras, and media for archival backup 0 10 32 4 0 3.13 0.64 4 Intermediate
Providing databases in which full texts of documents and sources of information are stored so that they can accommodate all forms of digital sources 0 10 32 4 0 3.13 0.64 4 Intermediate
Requirements related to the digital infrastructure of libraries 3.19 0.64
The ability to identify which electronic records and documents should be indexed and which ones do not need to be indexed 0 18 26 2 0 3.35 0.58 1 Intermediate
The ability to back up records and documents; to avoid the disasters of data loss 0 18 24 4 0 3.30 0.65 2 Intermediate
The ability to replace data storage media regularly; to reduce the damage or loss of records 2 14 26 4 0 3.30 0.82 2 Intermediate
The ability to select digital preservation tools; to store data electronically for long periods through a network of electronic document repositories 2 14 26 4 0 3.30 0.82 2 Intermediate
The ability to select an appropriate strategy according to international standards; to design electronic systems 2 14 26 4 0 3.30 0.82 2 Intermediate
The ability to design the flow of electronic documents, starting from scanning, then indexing and reviewing 0 16 26 4 0 3.26 0.65 3 Intermediate
The ability to control electronic records and documents; to allow monitoring and accessibility 0 16 26 4 0 3.26 0.65 3 Intermediate
The ability to evaluate the effectiveness of electronic systems; to address their shortcomings 2 12 26 6 0 3.22 0.87 4 Intermediate
The ability to enter, record, classify, and store electronic documents 0 10 34 2 0 3.17 0.55 5 Intermediate
The ability to build partnerships with IT staff in institutions and libraries; to get benefits from their experience in the EDMS and digital preservation 0 14 26 6 0 3.17 0.71 5 Intermediate
The ability to follow a mechanism to migrate archived books into an external hard drive 0 14 26 6 0 3.17 0.71 5 Intermediate
The ability to provide reporting tools and statistics about electronic groups that are created or destroyed 0 14 24 8 0 3.13 0.76 6 Intermediate
The ability to use open data formats; to facilitate the process of data migration in an easy and organized way 0 12 26 8 0 3.09 0.77 7 Intermediate
The ability to monitor digital records and documents regularly; to protect them from any unauthorized access so that they cannot be changed or damaged 0 8 28 10 0 2.96 0.83 8 Intermediate
Requirements related to the role of library information specialist in digital archiving 3.21 0.72 The third
Control the electronic documents by using check-out or check-in 0 26 18 2 0 3.52 0.56 1 High
There are different formats for creating electronic documents, and it is not limited to one format (web authoring tools, e-mail application, and word processing applications) 2 18 24 2 0 3.43 0.77 2 Intermediate
Flexibility in displaying and manipulating images of electronic documents, such as zooming in, zooming out, and flipping images 0 22 20 4 0 3.39 0.64 3 Intermediate
Browsing and graphs, such as the processes of collecting electronic documents, structuring the classification system, selecting and retrieving electronic collections, and displaying their contents 0 22 20 4 0 3.39 0.64 3 Intermediate
Naming mechanism that is based on standard terms, and extracts information that is compatible with international standards 0 20 22 4 0 3.35 0.64 4 Intermediate
Generate an automatic serial number within the classification system for each new electronic assembly 0 18 26 2 0 3.35 0.58 4 Intermediate
Electronic consultation and sending notifications via e-mail to the beneficiaries of the electronic messages 0 18 26 2 0 3.35 0.58 4 Intermediate
Search by all fields and multiple logins for more than one user at the same time 0 16 28 2 0 3.30 0.58 5 Intermediate
Text recognition within OCR in both Arabic and foreign languages 0 16 26 4 0 3.26 0.65 6 Intermediate
Introduce changes to the security features of the beneficiaries, such as access rights, security levels and privileges, and initial password assignment 0 16 24 6 0 3.22 0.71 7 Intermediate
Metadata for electronic documents is automatically generated before the documents are registered 0 16 22 6 2 3.13 0.98 8 Intermediate
Electronic documents are automatically numbered to distinguish the different versions of the stored electronic documents 0 10 32 4 0 3.13 0.64 8 Intermediate
EDMS access without accepting any user’s profile authentication mechanism 4 12 18 8 4 3.09 1.29 9 Intermediate
Requirements relating to electronic records and documents and their management and description 3.30 0.71 The fourth
Total 3.42 0.70 Intermediate

Table 4 shows that the mean for the availability of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving of King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards from the perspective of information specialists ranged between 4.61 and 2.96, where the statement “Continuous training courses are held to help information specialists in libraries to have the necessary information technology skills such as arranging, classifying, indexing, retrieving, protecting, and evaluating electronic documents used in electronic archiving” ranked first. This indicates that most information specialists agree that the availability of many training courses is one of the most important requirements for the digital archiving system. The statement “The ability to monitor digital records and documents regularly, to protect it from any unauthorized access so that they cannot be changed or damaged” ranked lastly. According to the researcher, this mean is weak compared with other means, which indicates that the information specialists lack awareness of the importance of working in electronic archiving within legal limits. In addition to their lack of realization that to achieve this goal, electronic documentary information must be preserved in a manner consistent with international standards for electronic document management. The researcher attributed it to their low culture in the legal aspects and the lack of awareness programs in this aspect.

The total mean (3.42) for the first theme (the availability degree of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving of King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards from information specialist’s perspective) reflects an intermediate agreement, which means that King Fahd National Library makes a satisfactory step toward providing the digital requirements needed for digital achieving in the light of the international standards; rather, it still needs more procedures to provide these requirements. These results confirmed that information specialists believe that digital requirements need continuous updating and development to keep pace with rapid change and to cope with new technologies; in addition, this result shows that King Fahd National Library oversees some of these requirements, which is of great importance. The inevitable result of this shows that what is practiced in the library in managing documents electronically due to its omission of many digital requirements does not follow the recognized international standards and does not reflect the sufficient ability to apply international standards, but is closer to a guide, procedures, instructions, and directives for managing those documents electronically adopted by the library to establish national standards for its management.

This result is consistent with previous studies (Abdel-Rahman & Al-Qadal, 2019; Al-Saleh, 2019; Barakat & Belarabi, 2017; O’brien, 2016) in terms of the need to provide the digital requirements needed for digital archiving, as it is consistent with the result of previous studies (Abdel-Rahman & Al-Qadal, 2019; Abdel-Samad, 2019; Alaoui, 2017; Cunningham, 2019; Domingo et al., 2013; Hindi & Khalifa, 2020; Yassin & Abdel-Basset, 2022) on the necessity of providing these requirements in the light of international standards.

16 Results Related to the Second Question

To answer the second question of the research, which states: “Are there differences between the respondents of the research sample regarding the degree of combinability of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving King Fahd National Library to international standards due to educational qualification, years of experience, and training courses?”

To calculate the significance of the differences in academic qualification and years of experience, the “Kruskal–Wallis test” was used instead of the one-way ANOVA after conducting a test for the normality of the data distribution because of the small size of the sample, the inequality of the academic degree variable, and the period of service in administrative work. In the training course variable, the significance of the differences was calculated using the Mann–Whitney test, as shown in Tables 57.

Table 5

Participants’ responses about the degree of compliance of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving in King Fahd National Library to the international standards according to the academic qualification

Themes Qualifications Number Rank average Chi-square value Significance
The degree of compliance of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving in King Fahd National Library to international standards Secondary 2 15.50 1.477 0.478
University 30 25.03
Postgraduate studies 14 21.36
Table 6

Participants’ responses about the degree of compliance of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving in King Fahd National Library to the international standards according to years of experience

Themes Qualifications Number Rank average Chi-square value Significance
The degree of compliance of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving in King Fahd National Library to international standards Less than 5 years 2 7.50 3.544 0.170
From 5 to 10 years 14 22.07
More than 10 years 30 25.23
Table 7

Participants’ responses about the degree of compliance of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving in King Fahd National Library to the international standards according to the training courses

Variables Groups Number Rank average Total ranks Z” value Significance
The degree of compliance of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving in King Fahd National Library with international standards Courses holders 40 24.50 980.00 −1.31 Not significant
Not taking courses 6 16.83 101.00

16.1 Differences According to Academic Qualification

Table 5 shows that there are no statistically significant differences between the research sample in their responses about the degree of compliance of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving at King Fahd National Library to international standards according to the academic qualification variable, as the value of chi-square was 1.477, which is a non-significant value, which means that the academic qualification does not affect the perspective of the research sample.

This result indicated that the participants’ responses are close to determine the degree of agreement with the digital requirement needed in the digital archiving of King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards. This result can be due to the importance of these digital requirements in achieving digital archiving in King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards for all the information specialists in libraries, regardless of their academic qualifications (secondary, university, and postgraduate); this is because they all carry out the same technical tasks and duties related to digital archiving and all of them are very keen in their professional development and cope up with digital innovation in libraries.

16.2 Differences According to Years of Experience

Table 6 shows that there are no statistically significant differences between the research sample in their responses about the degree of compliance of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving in King Fahd National Library to international standards according to the years of experience variable, as the value of chi-square was 3.544, which is a non-significant value. This means that the years of experience do not affect the perspective of the research sample.

This means that the participants’ responses are close to determine the degree of agreement with the digital requirements needed for the digital archiving of King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards. This result can be due to the importance of these digital requirements in achieving digital archiving in the light of international standards for all information specialists, regardless of their years of experience (less than 5 years, from 5 to 10 years, and more than 10 years); this is because all of them are subject to the same laws and regulations, and they all carry out the same work, so there were no significant differences between them.

16.3 Differences According to the Training Courses

Table 7 shows that there are no statistically significant differences between the research sample in their responses about the degree of compliance of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving in King Fahd National Library to international standards according to the training courses variable, as “Z” value was −1.31, which is a non-significant value. This means that the training courses do not affect the perspective of the research sample.

This means that the responses of the research sample are close in determining the degree of agreement of the digital requirements needed for the digital archiving of King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards. This result can be due to the importance of these digital requirements in achieving digital archiving in libraries in the light of international standards for all the information specialists in libraries, regardless of whether obtaining training courses or not in computers and technology and due to the widespread modern technologies in libraries in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which contributed in spreading the culture of providing these requirements.

There are no sufficient studies – within the researcher’s knowledge – whose results are consistent with the results of this question.

17 Results Related to the Third Question

To answer the third question, which states: “What are the most prominent challenges facing the provision of the digital requirements needed for the digital archiving in King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards from the perspective of information specialists?”

Frequencies, mean values, and standard deviations were calculated for the participants’ responses to the most prominent challenges facing the provision of the digital requirements needed for the digital archiving of King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards, as shown in Table 8.

Table 8

Participants’ responses to the most prominent challenges facing providing the digital requirements needed for digital archiving in King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards

Statements Total sample
Frequencies Mean Standard deviation Rank Agreement degree
Strongly agree agree Neutral disagree Strongly disagree
The problem of poor English language of the executors of the imported technological applications necessary for digital according to international standards 22 14 10 0 0 4.26 0.80 1 Very high
Lack of awareness of human resources in King Fahd National Library of concepts, applications, and the importance of digital archiving in general, and according to international standards in particular 22 16 6 0 2 4.21 0.98 2 Very high
Lack of human cadres in King Fahd National Library who are qualified to deal with computers and information technology and to process electronic documents 18 20 4 2 2 4.08 1.02 3 Very high
Human challenges 4.18 0.93 High
The high costs of hiring data and information technology experts who know digital archiving systems and their digital requirements 20 18 8 4.26 0.74 1 Very high
The high prices of electronic equipment, devices, and electronic software related to the application of electronic archiving according to international standards 22 14 10 4.26 0.80 2 Very high
Insufficient financial resources to maintain and update computer programs used in digital archiving 20 14 10 2 4.13 0.90 3 High
Difficulty in developing King Fahd National Library policies and procedures related to the standards and the applications that help in creating and preserving electronic documents 12 20 8 4 2 3.78 1.07 4 High
King Fahd National Library’s inability to keep up with the proprietary software they prefer to use, for their privacy, which matches the privacy of electronic documents 10 20 12 4 3.78 0.89 4 High
The difficulty of maintaining the basic form of the electronic document without changing its environment, form, and content 12 18 6 10 3.69 1.09 5 High
The lack of conviction of officials and decision-makers in digital archiving; makes them reluctant to provide administrative systems that regulate the electronic work of archiving 14 18 4 4 6 3.65 1.35 5 High
Financial and administrative challenges 3.93 0.97 High
The rapid development of electronic devices and systems used in digital archiving 22 20 4 4.39 0.64 1 Very high
Poor network and communication infrastructure needed for applying the digital archiving system according to international standards 22 18 6 4.21 0.98 2 High
The quantities of electronic records and documents are increasing continuously 22 14 2 4 4 4.00 1.29 3 High
Electronic documentary credit stored in a single medium can be corrupted, which loses the information it contains 16 16 8 2 4 3.82 1.21 4 High
Technical challenges 4.10 1.03 High
The problem of the credibility and authenticity of the digital document, its intellectual and physical property, and the protection of personal data 14 18 6 6 2 3.78 1.15 1 High
The absence of a national plan and legislative support for electronic archiving in King Fahd National Library, which ensures the application of modern technologies 14 14 10 6 2 3.69 1.17 2 High
The weak security of the technological work system and the confidentiality of archival information, with the lack of security systems to protect electronic documents 14 18 2 10 2 3.69 1.24 3 High
Legislative and security challenges 3.72 1.18 High
Total 4.40 0.71 Very high

Table 8 shows that the means of the most prominent challenges facing providing the digital requirements needed for digital archiving in King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards from the perspective of information specialists ranged between 4.39 and 3.65, where the statement “The rapid development of electronic devices and systems used in digital archiving” was ranked first, which ensures the need to follow up the new developments in electronic document management. While the statement “Lack of conviction of officials and decision-makers in digital archiving, which makes them reluctant to provide administrative systems that regulate the electronic work of archiving” was ranked lastly. This means that officials and decision-makers have a weak attitude to transfer to digital archiving and modern technologies. Despite that, this statement has the lowest rank; it has a high mean, which is an indication of the need to be aware of the importance of transforming to digital archiving to keep pace with new technological developments.

The mean score for the second theme (the most prominent challenges facing the availability of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving in King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards) was “4.40,” which reflects (a very high) agreement. Six challenges received very high levels of agreement, and 11 challenges had high levels of agreement that reflect the need to overcome these challenges.

The researcher believes that this result reflects the need for King Fahd National Library to develop a strategic plan to activate the provision of digital requirements in the light of international standards and use them in achieving digital archiving in King Fahd National Library by focusing on human elements, financial and material assets, infrastructure, technology, and assets based on legislative and security matters. It also reflects the importance of the information specialist to face these challenges and suggest successful international standard solutions to ensure the survival of information and documents in a changing digital environment. The researcher also believes that obtaining high agreement levels for these challenges is an indication of the necessity of presenting suggestions through which policies and procedures are developed to overcome these challenges.

In terms of the types of challenges, the human challenges were ranked first as the most challenges facing the availability of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving in the libraries in the light of international standards, then the technical challenges were ranked second, then the financial and administrative challenges were ranked third, and the legislative and security challenges were ranked last.

This result is consistent with the results of previously published studies (Abdel-Rahman & Al-Qadal, 2019; Al-Madadaha, 2013; David, 2016; Deepak, 2016) that there are challenges facing the provision of digital requirements for digital archiving in libraries.

18 Results Related to the Fourth Question

To answer the fourth question, which states: “What are the suggestions for providing the digital requirements needed for the digital archiving of King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards from the perspective of information specialists?”

Frequencies, mean values, and standard deviations were calculated for the participants’ responses to the suggestions for providing digital requirements needed for the digital archiving in King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards, as shown in Table 9.

Table 9

Participants’ responses to the suggestions for providing the digital requirements needed for digital archiving in King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards

Statements Total sample
Frequencies Mean St. D. Rank Agreement degree
Strongly agree Agree Neutral disagree Strongly disagree
Preparing training programs for King Fahd National Library workers to recognize them with the international standards they need, and to train them on how to benefit from them in the field of digital archiving 36 10 10 10 10 4.78 0.41 1 Very high
Providing the latest specifications of digital communication networks and devices, and linking between computers 36 10 0 0 0 4.78 0.41 1 Very high
Providing original copies of database management systems programs, software, and antiviruses 34 12 0 0 0 4.73 0.44 3 Very high
King Fahd National Library uses information security techniques that provide confidentiality and security during applying digital archiving systems, such as firewall software and data encryption 34 10 0 0 0 4.69 0.55 4 Very high
Preparing a program to support the culture of change; to help old King Fahd National Library staff to be aware of the importance of the digital archiving system in the light of international standards; to qualify them for digital transformation; and to encourage them to accept it rather than to make them convinced of its difficulty 32 14 0 0 0 4.69 0.46 4 Very high
Continuous evaluation and updating of all stages of electronic document management in the light of international standards; to accommodate any shortage, repair any defect, and keep up with the developments in this field 30 16 0 0 0 4.65 0.48 5 Very high
Regular training and rehabilitation; to develop King Fahd National Library workers’ skills and their capabilities in the field of information technology, databases, preservation, and documentation of information 32 12 2 0 0 4.65 0.56 5 Very high
See the experiences of other successful institutions in the field of digital archiving according to international standards to get benefits from them 32 12 2 0 0 4.65 0.56 5 Very high
Issuing legislative and legal regulations for electronic transactions by developing the necessary executive regulations to manage the digital archiving system, in accordance with international standards, such as electronic expansion and preservation 30 16 0 0 0 4.65 0.48 5 Very high
Developing programs for preparing information and library specialists at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, so that they stem from the actual needs of digital archiving, the requirements of the age, and distinguished international expertise 32 12 2 0 0 4.65 0.56 5 Very high
Developing a comprehensive advertising marketing plan (holding internal and external seminars, conferences, and discussions) to promote the application of the digital archiving system in the light of international standards, highlighting its advantages and the need for everyone to participate in it 30 14 2 0 0 4.60 0.57 6 Very high
Providing financial support to King Fahd National Library, for the success of the digital archiving system according to international standards 30 14 2 0 0 4.60 0.57 6 Very high
Spreading informatics and electronic culture and comprehensive awareness among King Fahd National Library workers in the field of digital archiving in the light of international standards and clarifying their objectives 30 14 2 0 0 4.60 0.57 6 Very high
Providing consultations to King Fahd National Library concerning the planning and implementation of the digital archiving system in the light of international standards 26 20 0 0 0 4.56 0.50 7 Very high
Orientation toward more translations and studies of international standards in the field of electronic document administration and digitization, to benefit from them in conducting digital archiving process 28 16 2 0 0 4.56 0.58 7 Very high
Making some administrative modifications to enable employees to deal with the digital generation and to activate the digital archiving system in accordance with international standards 28 16 2 0 0 4.56 0.58 7 Very high
Appointing a sufficient number of professionals who have experience in digital archiving systems for libraries according to international standards and their digital requirements 28 16 2 0 0 4.56 0.58 7 Very high
Studying the international standards that regulate the process of managing electronic documents and producing national standards that are compatible with the nature of Saudi Arabia 24 22 0 0 0 4.52 0.50 8 Very high
Total 4.63 0.52 Very high

Table 9 shows that the means of most prominent suggestions to provide digital requirements needed for digital archiving of King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards from information specialists’ perspective ranged between 4.78 and 4.52, where the statement “Preparing training programs for King Fahd National Library workers to recognize them with the international standards they need, and to train them on how to benefit from them in the field of digital archiving” was ranked first, while the statement “studying the international standards that regulate electronic document management operations and work to produce national standards that compatible with the nature of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” was ranked lastly.

The total mean score of the third theme (suggestions to provide the digital requirements needed for digital archiving of Saudi libraries in the light of international standards from the information specialists’ perspective) was “4.63,” which reflected “a very high” agreement. All the statements of this theme have a very high degree of agreement, which reflects the need to provide these mechanisms.

The researcher considers this result logical and related to the results of the third question, and she attributes this result to the fact that the previous challenges can be faced, and it is not difficult if certain policies are followed on a scientific basis for the gradual transformation to achieve the strategic goals of digital archiving in King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards and to the importance of the availability of the requirements in the light of international standards in general, and its use in the digital archiving system in libraries in particular, which requires attention.

This interest comes only through a set of suggestions that can be taken as a guide in achieving the digital archiving of libraries. The researcher also believes that the diversity of the suggestions to achieve this digital archiving contributes to its completion in the best way and meets the requirements and the needs of the beneficiaries and contributes to solving the problems they face while dealing with records and documents electronically.

This result is consistent with the results of previous studies (Abdel-Rahman & Al-Qadal, 2019; Al-Madadaha, 2013; Al-Saleh, 2019; Barakat & Belarabi, 2017; David, 2016; Deepak, 2016; EL-Sheikh, 2010; O’brien, 2016) that there are mechanisms, strategic plans, or suggestions to activate the provision of the requirements needed for digital archiving in libraries.

19 Recommendations

In the light of the research results, the researcher suggests some recommendations that help to provide the requirements needed for digital archiving of King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards, which are appropriate to develop clear policies and strategies, such as:

  1. King Fahd National Library should get benefits from the international standards related to its requirements and use them to ensure the speedy provision of the digital requirements and overcome the challenges facing them.

  2. King Fahd National Library should re-engineer the current electronic archiving procedures, in order to pay attention to provide the most important digital requirements for digital achieving to avoid any loss of time, shorten the number of tasks, and follow the path of the documents accurately.

  3. High management at King Fahd National Library should increase the commitment to support the digital requirements needed for digital archiving by developing guidance programs to educate employees on the concept of digital requirements, and the importance of striving toward providing them and overcoming the challenges they face.

  4. Conducting continuous pilot studies in the King Fahd National Library on the availability of digital requirements needed for digital archiving to assess the beneficiaries and their reactions to the quality of the availability of digital requirements for digital archiving and to address any defect.

  5. The King Fahd National Library should focus on developing appropriate and clear plans for providing digital requirements for digital archiving in consultation with several parties such as experts in the field of digital archiving and the field of intellectual property rights, so that they are specific to certain goals and the King Fahd National Library is committed to implement them.

  6. The King Fahd National Library should speed up toward providing digital requirements needed for digital archiving, by adapting flexible administrative structures to allow wide participation of all employees.

  7. Providing official bodies and higher committees to supervise the provision of the digital requirements needed for digital archiving to create the necessary environment and periodically evaluate the levels reached in implementation.

  8. Holding training courses and workshops for information specialists at the King Fahd National Library to know the most important challenges they face in the digital age while archiving documents electronically and how to confront them in order to comply with international standards for document management and digitization.

  9. King Fahd National Library should support the new developments in the global systems market, including cloud computing applications, social networks, and smartphone applications.

  10. King Fahd National Library should exchange visits with Arab and foreign libraries that have successfully achieved experience to benefit from them.

  11. King Fahd National Library should cooperate with international organizations concerned with document standards and digital transformation in an attempt to find a national entity that would be responsible for setting national standards for document management and digitization in the light of international standards.

  12. Producing national standards commensurate with the nature of the Kingdom through studying the standards that regulate document management and digitization operations.

  13. Scientific departments concerned with teaching documents and archives sciences in Saudi universities should be distinguished in teaching courses according to international standards.

  14. Preparing translations and studies of international standards in the field of document management and digitization to benefit from them in conducting digital transformation operations for the documents available in the King Fahd National Library.

  15. Strengthening the role of document management in the King Fahd National Library by issuing legislation that guarantees information specialists the authority to carry out their tasks.

20 Conclusion

As a result of the increasing number of documents and records at different libraries, digital archiving has become one of the most important applications of information technology, as it is the latest method that shortens time and space. It made a quantum leap in the field of archival work, which requires stakeholders to take many precautions, strategies, and policies based on international specifications and standards to meet all the digital requirements related to the application of these policies and strategies. Therefore, the researcher tried to identify the digital requirements for archiving and the most important challenges that impede the process of their availability and presented some suggestions to provide these requirements and overcome their challenges. The results revealed that the participants had an intermediate agreement on the availability of digital requirements for digital archiving in King Fahd National Library in the light of international standards. There were no statistically significant differences in the participants’ responses according to (academic qualification, years of experience, and training courses) variables. Moreover, the participants had a high agreement on the challenges and suggestions for providing those requirements. A set of recommendations were also presented.

  1. Conflict of interest: The author states no conflict of interest.

  2. Data availability statement: Not applicable.

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Received: 2023-03-19
Revised: 2023-09-23
Accepted: 2023-09-28
Published Online: 2023-10-25

© 2023 the author(s), published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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