Ángel González Lara, Archivist & Librarian, Research & Documentation Directorate, Spanish Parliament (Congreso de los Diputados)
Ángel González Lara develops his current activity at the Directorate of Research & Documentation of the Congreso de los Diputados, the Spanish Low Chamber, as a senior officer of the so-called Cuerpo de Archiveros-Bibliotecarios de las Cortes Generales, the staff in charge of the records of the Parliament, in Spain known as Cortes Generales and composed by the Congreso de los Diputados and the Senado. This body of Archivist & Librarians directs as well the parliamentary libraries and the information services of the two chambers, following a long tradition since it was founded in 1813, one year after the very inception of the institution as a contemporary Parliament, once the Constitution of 1812 was promulgated. That’s to say, as soon as the congressmen began to meet some difficulties while tracing their bills and papers.
Having already assumed his condition as a scattered or missing documents collector, he is involved at the moment, altogether with several other counterparts, in the team-project El Parlamento sin papeles (A Paperless Parliament), aimed (in spite of some understandable weaknesses and temptations) not to burn these million papers, but to create an integrated digital network able to host the many parliamentary activities and the huge mass of political and legislative documents thus generated, which are to be retrieved orderly, in a friendly manner and in their full text. The endeavor focuses both at an internal or institutional level and at a public or external one. Internally it comprises many an aspect, from the re-rationalization of the parliamentary procedures and its integration with the new technologies nowadays available, to the specific software and hardware tools being implemented, the re-designing of the library and information services, databases and products, et caetera. Externally, it is aimed to allow and foster a much more significant interaction between the constituency and its representatives, as well as to provide the citizenship with an extensive and up-to-date information about every bill, proposal or subject under the consideration of the chambers, accordingly with the critical role to be played by the Parliament in any democratic nation, and within the context of the new Information Society, producing, sharing and discussing knowledge about the different national public policies and projects already implemented, on the making or still to be born.
Mr. González has been working in the field of archival and information management since 1987, both in the private and government sectors, in Spain and abroad. Among other positions, he started his career working for the Spanish Ministerio de Cultura (Department of Culture), at the Archivo Regional del Reino de Galicia, and as a Senior Consultant of ICSA (Ingenieros Consultores, S.A.). In 1993, after a public open competition, he became Archivist and Librarian of the Cortes Generales, where he has developed, at the Congreso de los Diputados, the core of his professional career, from 1993 to 1999, and then again from 2005 to date. During five years, between 2000 and 2004, he had the privilege to serve in Manila, Philippines, as the Head Librarian of the Instituto Cervantes, the institution set up by Spain in 1991, and nowadays extended to four continents, to promote and teach Spanish and to spread the culture of Spain and the Spanish-speaking countries abroad.
Born in Madrid, Spain, in 1963, Mr. González received a B.A. in Philosophy and Letters (Geography and History) from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in 1986. Immediately after, he followed the official postgraduate program at the Dirección de los Archivos Estatales (Board of the National Archives), obtaining, in 1988, a Master’s Degree in Archival Management. In 1999 he got a Diploma in Law from UNED. Since then, and among other academic activities, he has taught as a visiting professor at several universities, both in Spain and in the Philippines. Along 2007 he is completing the fifth and last yearly course in order to hold a Degree in Law from Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED, Madrid).
In the years to come he is looking after to retake what should become an absorbing lifetime project, aimed to create, through a cooperative and multinational network, and hopefully with the support of the Spanish cultural authorities, the Archivo Digital Hispano-Filipino y del Pacífico (Phil-Spanish and Pacific Digital Archive), a website hosting the multiple sources dealing with the Phil-Spanish period and the Spanish secular presence in the vast Pacific ocean and the South Seas since 1521. It should start only at a reference or secondary level, to incorporate, step by step, the primary information, and in particular the archival records and bibliographical documents, although with attention, too, to the museum artifacts and other culture materials still available, with an especial focus on images (drawings, photographs, cartography and the like). The purpose is to facilitate research in this field, since the sources are disseminated in several continents and are extremely difficult to retrieve; to guarantee the preservation of this cultural heritage, providing at the same time a web-based access to the digitized materials, and, eventually, to provide the Philippine people and other Pacific nations with the opportunity to recover a fundamental part of their own history and heritage, kept in the golden cage of the archives, libraries and private collections of the former metropolis (Spain and the United States of America) and many other countries (like for instance México, Chile or the United Kingdom of Great Britain).
Apart from his Filipiniana reveries, Mr. González adores most nature-related activities and cycling. He has toured on his own Spain and the islands of Mindoro and Bohol, in the Philippines, riding his mountain bike. He is also particularly passionate for languages, having indulged himself (and therefore tormented the candid and generous native speakers who were kind enough to pay attention to him in spite of his many mistakes) with up to eight foreign varieties, including, as an indelible and beloved inheritance of his Philippine period, Tagalog and some Bisaya.
He is married since 1989, and is the proud but still vigilant father of two sons, the first-born having already a far better knowledge of English than his father and threatening to beat him also, very soon, rolling his mountain bike pedals.