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Passion for research

Editorial Staff

16 October 2020

Those of us who work in the archives call them "researchers". It's a term we've always used and it sums up our entire audience very well. But it's impossible not to notice the perplexity, and at times hilarity, that this definition provokes within the company among those that don't work at the archive. We get it, let's not forget that Eni's roots are in research! For the company, researchers are something else, they are geologists, seismologists, physicists and explorers, all those who have sought and still are looking for sources of energy, they are the explorers. It is precisely because of this corporate heritage that we don't mind the perplexity, indeed it's quite the contrary. Here at the archive, we are even prouder to describe our scholars as researchers. It doesn't matter to us what their official title is or what position they hold, whether they are colleagues, former colleagues, school children, university students or people who are simply curious, researchers is definitely their fitting title for us. After all, we always explain to those who are not in the field, we too are researching. Like you, we use the tools we have (and are always experimenting with newer and more cutting-edge ones) to dig. Yes, that's right, we are digging too, but into the past, both already discovered and still uncharted, and despite the disappointments we may run into, we often find just what we wanted and at times even more! This work is carried out with great enthusiasm by the researchers together with us archivists.

The research

Enrico Mattei is certainly the father of Eni. From Agip's reorganisation after World War II, the discovery of Italian gas and oil, the foundation of Eni and up to its international expansion, Mattei's period is definitely the most studied in the archive. But research often takes more disparate paths and we see papers and publications flourish, not only on energy policy and industrial development in Italy and abroad, but also on Eni's contribution to architecture, corporate welfare, training, advertising, culture and society. Group records hold a wealth of information and it's possible for those who are interested to retrace the corporate life stories of people and places all over the world. This rich seam of narratives has led not only to the publication of numerous documentaries, biographies and autobiographies about the various characters, starting with Enrico Mattei himself and even his most recent of collaborators, but has ensured that over time the archive has become the depository for both the corporate and personal memories, which is continually being added to with direct testimonies and oral accounts of unique value. The archival heritage is historical, yes, but it's also alive. It is always growing and opening up new avenues for researchers. Now, there are many people looking into the post-Mattei period, pushing themselves to go off the beaten track and look at those less explored topics. This has given us the impetus to press on with our sorting work, cataloguing more recent and still unknown material. New energy and new life is being breathed into the archive!

"Yes, the archival heritage is historical. But it's also alive"

News for those who carry out research

The historical archive website is up and running, opening up new horizons for research into Eni's history. The inventory is now online and features analytical archival descriptions at file level and a rich digitised heritage that can be directly accessed online. Anybody who is interested can now carry out research independently from home and you don't need to be an expert, help is readily available. This tool has helped to bring the archive and the researcher even closer. The number of researches, and those with simple questions, from Italy and abroad has increased and it is a pleasure to note the satisfaction when even the smallest of curiosities is answered. Of course, the archive always remains open to visitors where researchers can see for themselves the precious memories it safeguards. However you access it, archival research allows you to follow the thread uniting the past with the present. Each new piece of research is not only an exploration into the company's history and roots, but a starting point, almost a new beginning for something that might happen. The deeper the roots, the taller the branches.

"The deeper the roots, the higher the branches"