On Tuesday 25th of Dhu al-Hijjah 1440 AH corresponding to August 25, 2019, the research of the al-Abbas's (p) Holy Shrine was presented in the IFLA World Conference on Information and Libraries 2019 in Greece, considered the first Iraqi research to participate in this conference, where only five research were accepted in this session. The research will participate alongside (the National Library of Japan - Tokyo - Japan, the National and University Library in Strasbourg - France, French National Library - France, General Archives of the Greek State - Athens - Greece, Library and House of Manuscripts of the al-Abbas's (p) Holy Shrine - Karbala - Iraq).
The research of the Holy Shrine, entitled "Post-Disaster - The Iraqi Scientific Product Conservation Project (Case Study)", was the second research to be presented in this session among the five listed papers, and was delivered in English by Mr. Hussein Adil al-Rahelati.
It is also known that disasters of all kinds, whether natural or man-made lead to many damages, including what affects the population, or property. The previous research and studies agreed that strategies, capacities, capabilities and measures needed to reduce the negative consequences of disasters.
The study aims to bring into view the precautionary and preventive measures that the libraries and institutions which contain the assets of their country should follow before the occurrence of a man-made or natural disaster. this is due to our experience after the terrorist attack that took place in part of our country Iraq by terrorist groups they called themselves ISIS.
After reviewing most of the measures taken at present, the focus is on the tools used to strengthen and support library building to confront exceptional circumstances as well modern technologies that can be sued for early warning. In this study, we will answer a question that has rarely been addressed. What should be done to confront a human terrorist disaster (like ISIS for example)? What proactive measures should libraries and institutions do to avoid the loss of their assets by terrorist acts?"
Based on the United Nations concept of Sendai in 2015, we discussed Priority 4 and explained how the library of the al-Abbas’s (p) Holy Shrine (a public library in mid of Iraq), contributed to the preservation of Iraqi scientific assets deposited in other libraries after ISIS attacks which brought damages to many of them, via digitizing old assets where no electronic version is available.
The process of converting old works of all kinds (manuscripts, lithographs, old books, letters, university theses and dissertations, journal, etc.) from paper version to electronic version to ensure that these assets are not lost and it’s consider one of the most important pre-emptive steps before a disaster happens.”
The session was followed by a number of interventions, including a question about the challenges facing the holy shrine and Iraq with regard to projects for libraries and information science, and the answer came by Alrahelati: "Why do we have to wait for the disaster and then look for solutions? The experts should learn from what happened to the Iraqi heritage and the experience of the al-Abbas's (p) Holy Shrine and preparedness before the disaster strikes. "
At the end of the session, Mr. Hussein Adil thanked the IFLA organizers for this opportunity to convey the extent of devastation of the Iraqi heritage following the terrorist attacks. And he called on librarians and colleagues to unite to benefit from this experience and to digitize the products.