Dr Gillian Oliver visit

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For someone with so much experience, Dr Gillian Oliver passes as a quiet astute woman unassuming to anyone until she talks about the Archives and the noticeable passion for the trade presents itself.

I had the pleasure of her acquaintance when she and colleague Dr Eric Boamah walked through the National Archives doors equipped with gadgets and questions to assist them in their research on Information Culture. She is soft spoken, articulate and full of advice for aspiring archivists.

The visit to Fiji was due to a research project titled “Learning to Walk the Talk: A case study of the National Archives of Fiji”. The research is aimed at helping archivists understand and apply the key concept of Information culture as part of the next generations’ recordkeeping practice.  The case study is part of a multi-national research programme supported by the International Council on Archives.

A Programme Director and Master of Information Studies at the School of Information Management at the Victoria University of Wellington Dr Oliver has 15 years of experience with records and archives. A qualified librarian her transition to the archives field was not something she had set out to do.

“I enjoyed learning other languages at school and had seen a library job advertised that required translation of specialist medical literature from French, German and Italian. That got me started in the information management domain, and then I was lucky enough to have opportunities to work with records and archives and have since realised how fascinating this area is.”

Over the years Dr Oliver has taught for seven years at the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand before she joined the Victoria University of Wellington. She was also fortunate to spend a semester at Tallinn University of Estonia. During her stint at these institutions she has seen changes in the way information is managed at Archival institutions.

“There is so much awareness now of the importance of facilitating access to archives and increasing awareness of archives. The proliferation of digital information is forcing re-rethinking of practices that were appropriate in a paper environment, but impractical in the digital age.

Her advice to any archival institution striving to work at world class level:
“To be outwards focussed – to understand their environment, the needs of their users, and to build strong relationships with key partners locally and internationally e.g. other cultural heritage institutions or government ICT agencies.  No Archives is an island!”      

Her advice to the National Archives of Fiji: “The future looks very bright indeed.  There’s an amazing journey ahead which will doubtless be very challenging.  In our interactions with staff we witnessed the vision, the motivation and collegial work ethic that will be essential to success so I have no doubt that the National Archives of Fiji will achieve its goals.

“It was truly wonderful, from both personal and professional perspectives.  We learnt a great deal, the input from staff at all levels of the Archives will make an enormous contribution to development of internationally appropriate recordkeeping strategies.

Quick Links

Pacific Regional Branch International Council on Archives:
Government of Fiji Website:
International Council on Archives:
Fiji Memory of the World website:
ITC Services website:
eGovernment Services Online:
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Contact US

National Archives of Fiji
25 Carnovan Street
Box 2125
Government Buildings
Tel: 3304144
Fax: 3307006