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Being an archivist

Lecture presented by Fe Angela M. Verzosa at the 3rd National Congress of Special Libraries of the Philippines with the theme "The Modern Strategist: Accelerating the Career Path of an Information Professional" from October 24-25, 2013 at Hotel H20 - Manila, 24 October 2013

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Being an archivist

  1. 1. “Being an archivist: fun and nurturing experience” By Fe Angela M. Verzosa 3rd National Congress of Special Libraries of the Philippines with the theme "The Modern Strategist: Accelerating the Career Path of an Information Professional” October 24-25, 2013 at Hotel H20 - Manila
  2. 2. What’s an archivist? One who works in an Archives… One who does archival work… One who works on archival materials…
  3. 3. Sometimes, also known as (but not really) Record Keeper Records Manager Records Custodian Manuscript Curator Manuscript Custodian Clue-seekers (detectives)
  4. 4. What is an archives? Archives" is one of those words that can be either singular or plural, though it is relatively common to drop the "s" when referring to the singular.  "Archives" can refer to a collection of archival materials, or the facility in which the materials are stored, or the organization that collects and maintains them.
  5. 5. Archives are the non-current records of individuals, groups, institutions, and governments that contain information of enduring value and selected for permanent preservation Include unpublished letters, diaries, and other manuscripts photographs, films, video and sound recordings, maps and plans, computer tapes and similar electronic records, and video and optical disks
  6. 6. ed lm a fi cro n as e mi zo nd ue nd t h a e d l L. Q a n a ib scr anue ichig e ,d fM fM d ge ers o sity o an r arr l pap nive , zed entia the U ni ga resid t of Or p c y e proje ibrar th t lL n joi tiona Na In 1967… My job position ~ Temporary Historiographer Qualifications ~  background in history writing and research skills no previous training – nothing to unlearn
  7. 7. For 2 years (1967-1969) What I did: • Learned to process Quezon Presidential Papers (sort, classify, arrange) • Prepared a descriptive finding aid and index • Learned to decode, translate, decipher, make true copies • Trained in microfilming using planetary camera and 35mm films
  8. 8. For 2 years (1967-1969) What I enjoyed: • Working on the floor as I sorted out the manuscripts • Brushing on my Spanish language skill • Communicating with the ghosts inside the Filipiniana Reading Room • Assisting renowned scholars like Prof. Theodore Friend, David Sturtevant, Ben Kerkvliet, and others
  9. 9. Then in 1969-1971  Organized the microfilm section of the UP Diliman Main Library, trained staff to microfilming work, and serviced the microfilm collections of the Library.  Organized, arranged and described the papers of Carlos P. Romulo, and other personal papers and private manuscript collections at the Rare Books and Manuscript collection of the Library.  Organized, arranged, and microfilmed the Hukbalahap records of the Court of Appeals in Manila City Hall, and other radical collections.
  10. 10. In 1972-1973 Organized, arranged and described the UP Diliman Library manuscript collections, such as the papers of UP President Carlos P. Romulo, the Faustino Aguilar Literary Collection, Jorge Bocobo Papers, and the court records of Amado Hernandez. Organized and arranged the presidential papers of the late Carlos P. Garcia at his residence in Bohol Avenue, and facilitated their transfer to the National Library.
  11. 11. For 3 years (1969-1972) What I enjoyed: • Job rotation – a balancing act as head of the Microfilm Section, manuscript curator at the Rare Books & Mss Room, and cataloger of microfilmed collections • Enrolling in MLS units free • Taking the Civil Service Exam for Librarian, and • Working independently on project basis
  12. 12. At Ateneo’s Rizal Library in 1974-1975 Took over the Microform Section as microform librarian expanded the collection to include the Theses Microfiche Project and the ERIC Collection
  13. 13. With Judge Jose D. Ingles and granddaughter Jojo Laurel With Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, Senator Sotero Laurel and family
  14. 14. The Presidential Papers of Elpidio Quirino at the Filipinas Heritage Library, Makati City The FHL has digitized 110,000 pages out of the 200,000+ in 130 boxes of the presidential papers of former President Elpidio Quirino. This prestigious collection of over 200,000 pages, a historical and scholarly treasure, was originally housed at the Syquia Mansion in Vigan. In 1977, I facilitated their transfer from Vigan to the Ayala Foundation Library, where I organized, arranged and described them, in time for inclusion in my thesis on Presidential Papers, submitted for my Master’s in Library Science in 1978.
  15. 15. What archivists do Archivists perform a wide variety of tasks: acquire, select, store and provide access to materials (that may come in the form of written documents, maps, photographs, films, memorabilia, etc) by providing description and finding aids to these collections… assist users in using the collections; answer inquiries, give talks to groups, mount exhibitions, and publish… plan and organize systems and procedures for the safekeeping of records and valuable documents to keep them secure, well-maintained, and preserved for posterity.
  16. 16. What archivists do The time archivists spend on these activities varies depending on where they work. In local government offices, archivists work with a variety of local records (local/oral histories). Those who work in the national libraries often look after literary Manuscripts collections or Personal Papers. University archivists may manage university records, or look after collections that belong to the institution’s illustrious alumni or faculty, and those relating to specific subjects. In businesses, archivists look after records about company history and product development.
  17. 17. What archivists do Some archivists specialize in the acquisition, management, description, and preservation of photographic or audiovisual materials or electronic records. Other aspects of the job may include records management, digitization, public outreach, writing, and teaching or mentoring. Archivists may keep records for local governments, educational institutions, business companies, churches, religious organizations, family estates, courts, hospitals, or charities.
  18. 18. What archivists do Archivists record and catalogue each document, identify those that need repairing, and select the best way to store them. They also decide which documents to keep for their historical value and which to discard.
  19. 19. In 1988 Initially, I was hired to work on the Aurelio Calderon Papers for 6 months, and to do a study-proposal on the establishment of a university archives for DLSU. Then I drew up and took charge of the implementation of the institutional archival program.
  20. 20. From 1989 to 2006  Directed all archival operations.  Managed a regular staff of three assistant librarians and four library clerks.  Conducted regular training courses on archives and records management both within the university, the DLSU System and consortium member-schools.  Established a separate Special Collections under the management of the University Archives in 1989. and expanded the Special Collections to include the collections of: Felipe Liao (Numismatic Collection), Daniel Tantoco (Earthenware Collection), Lorenzo M. Taňada, Francisco Ortigas, Jr., Local and Oral History Collection, and the Faculty Collections of Aurelio Calderon, Isagani R.Cruz, Emerita Quito, Wilfrido Villacorta, Andrew Gonzalez, FSC, Marcelino Foronda, Efren Abueg, Clodualdo del Mundo, Roberto Salazar, Tereso Tullao, Jr., etc.  Embarked on the digitization of the university theses and dissertations, the Lorenzo Tanada Papers, rare Filipiniana materials, and other special collections.
  21. 21. …and publish or perish…! Publications of the De La Salle University Archives
  22. 22. Finding Aids
  23. 23. DLSU Diary
  24. 24. Entrance to the De La Salle University Archives
  25. 25. De La Salle University Archives Reading Room
  26. 26. Selected archival materials on display at DLSU Archives
  27. 27. Felipe Liao Numismatic Collection at the DLSU Archives
  28. 28. Daniel R. Tantoco Jr. Collection of Museum Artifacts at DLSU Archives
  29. 29. Memorabilia Display at De La Salle University Archives
  30. 30. De La Salle University Archives La Salliana Collection
  31. 31. De La Salle University Archives Theses and CDs on display
  32. 32. De La Salle University Archives Special Collections
  33. 33. A peak inside the mobile shelf
  34. 34. De La Salle University Archives Publications
  35. 35. De La Salle University Archives Processing Area
  36. 36. My Archives team
  37. 37. As a DLSU ranked faculty, I was active as a Board director of the Faculty Association, contributing my skill and expertise in negotiating for a new Faculty Manual (1993 and (2002) as a member of the Technical Panel for its Revision. I was the first faculty to be promoted to the highest rank for non-teaching faculty ~ as Associate Professor, Rank 3-5 in 2003. Archivists who work in the academe are usually tenured members of the faculty.
  38. 38. Publications Among her published articles are: •“The Japanese Reparation Papers on Microfilm,” (in Southeast Asia Microfilms Newsletter 17: 1-8, July 1979) •“Archiving the Presidents’ Papers,” (in Philippine Panorama 22, no. 37: 7, 26, Sept. 12, 1993) •“Developing an Archival Curriculum,” (in Tanglaw 2, no. 2: 51-56, January 1994) •“Building environments for library and archival collections,” (PAARL Bulletin 1, no. 1: 27-35, 1997). •Among the in-house publications and books she has authored/co-edited/compiled are the following: Filipiniana on Microfilms (1971), Andrew B. Gonzalez, FSC: a Bibliography of his Writings, 1960-1990 (1990), As Others Saw Us: a Chronicle of the Works of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (1990), Faculty Publications and Other Writings (1991), and DLSU Chronicle, 1993-1994 (1994). •Her recent paper on “Library Automation And Its Impact On Strategic Planning For Academic Libraries” appeared as an electronic publication of Asian Libraries, a quarterly publication of MCB University Press (1997). Other articles appeared in the Asia Library News, namely: “Occupational Safety and Health Concerns in Library Work Places”, and “The State of the Filipiniana Collections at DLSU Library”.
  39. 39. Is it fun…? a nurturing experience? What Archivists Do… Identify/appraise Acquire/select Arrange and describe Preserve Make Available .... If there’s time, Promote, or reach out
  40. 40. Outreach activities exhibits tours, open house, visits brochures, flyers, leaflets, etc. seminars or workshops books, other major publications any activity demonstrating the value and diversity of archival collections
  41. 41. Personal Qualities and Skills methodical and pay attention to detail. communication skills to interact with different kinds of people, to advise the public and to give lectures research skills are important in this work as you need to find out about the background of materials. background in history is useful as is good literary skills (writing) comfortable with new technology Work independently and without much supervision (can work in dirty conditions and carry heavy volumes) Discerning ~ be aware that some documents are confidential.
  42. 42. Opportunities Undergraduate degree necessary, preferably in relevant discipline or field of study; graduate degree is desirable…. no upper age limit for entry to this occupation  mature entrants with relevant skills and experience, such as that gained in library or information profession, have a fair chance of entry salary and benefits depend on financial capacity of employing institution, and on how they value archival work, and appreciate your qualifications, skills and experience Welcome to a rare breed of professionals…
  43. 43. Unsolicited advice to potential archivists…  Take on the challenges as they come; just believe you can do it, motivate yourself  Be a lifelong learner; don’t stop learning; there are so many things in an archivist’s job that are not taught in school; you learn on the job  There are no hard and fast rules; the only archivist’s motto to go by ~ “create order from chaos”  Do the best with what you have ~ there’s no such thing as a perfect workplace
  44. 44.