The public service staff of Special Collections and Archives work closely with researchers daily. As a new feature of this blog, we will be sharing stories about research in Special Collections and Archives that yielded successful outcomes. We hope to further expose the wide variety of research that our collections support and to encourage others to ask us for assistance. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 949-824-3947.
SUCCESS STORY 1
WHO: Phuc Cao Pham, undergraduate Biological Sciences major, Hum Core 1C student
THE CHALLENGE: In searching for a paper topic for Humanities Core, Phuc Cao Pham sought a topic with an intense personal connection to inspire him to work hard. He was required to employ primary sources in his paper. His professor suggested that he visit Special Collections and Archives for primary sources.
ASSISTANCE PROVIDED: Pham reviewed the website for Special Collections and Archives and discovered the Southeast Asian Archive. Looking through the archival collections listed online, one collection caught his eye, the records of St. Anselm’s Cross-Cultural Community Center. When his family first arrived in the United States after leaving Vietnam, St. Anselm’s Cross-Cultural Community Center greatly helped his family settle and begin a new life in Orange County. He wanted to learn more about this organization.
Phuc Cao Pham visited Special Collections and Archives and asked to use this collection. Staff provided an orientation to using archival resources and encouraged Pham in using the material. Pham spent many days poring over original documents from St. Anselm’s historical archive. Pham explained, “From doing research in the SEAA, I learned that research is a very intensive process, involving hours of reading and interpreting material. I find that this method provides far more useful and insightful research than relying on online resources. Primary sources, especially, are a boon of this method of research.” His paper focused on their efforts to help Amerasians.
POSITIVE RESOLUTION: Pham found a paper topic that inspired him, and with the resources of the Southeast Asian Archive, Pham learned to do advanced, original research in the humanities. Moreover, he became a supporter for the important mission of the Southeast Asian Archive: “To me,” he writes, “the SEAA symbolizes the preservation of history. And that’s something whose value can never be underestimated. Although it can be argued that it utilizes resources and energy that could be otherwise diverted to the other more dire matters of today, the preservation of history allows us to obtain knowledge from another time and place that would otherwise be unobtainable in present day.”
MORAL: Special Collections and Archives offers unique, primary resources to support advanced, original research in the Humanities. Scholars from around the world visit the Southeast Asian Archive to conduct research, but UCI undergraduates may take advantage of this research treasure in their own backyard.
Special Collections and Archives preserves unique, first-hand evidence of the the Southeast Asian American experience so younger generations may learn and appreciate where they came from.