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
“Being an archivist:
fun and nurturing
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
What’s an archivist?
One who works in an Archives…
One who does archival work…
One who works on archival materials…
Sometimes, also known as (but
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
are the non-current records of
individuals, groups, institutions,
and governments that contain
information of enduring value
and selected for permanent
Include unpublished letters,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
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My job position ~
background in history
writing and research skills
no previous training –
nothing to unlearn
For 2 years (1967-1969)
What I did:
• Learned to process Quezon
Presidential Papers (sort, classify,
• Prepared a descriptive finding
aid and index
• Learned to decode, translate,
decipher, make true copies
• Trained in microfilming using
planetary camera and 35mm
For 2 years (1967-1969)
What I enjoyed:
• Working on the floor as I sorted out the
• 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
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.
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
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
At Ateneo’s Rizal
Library in 1974-1975
Took over the
Project and the
With Judge Jose D. Ingles
and granddaughter Jojo Laurel
With Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, Senator Sotero Laurel and family
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
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
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
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.
What archivists do
Some archivists specialize in the acquisition,
management, description, and preservation of
photographic or audiovisual materials or electronic
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,
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.
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.
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
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.
…and publish or perish…!
Publications of the De La Salle University Archives
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.
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.
•“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
Is it fun…?
a nurturing experience?
What Archivists Do…
Arrange and describe
If there’s time,
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
Personal Qualities and
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.
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…
Unsolicited advice to
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
Do the best with what you have ~ there’s no
such thing as a perfect workplace