About the Project


Since 2020, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) has allotted a budget for the continuous development of an online platform that can hold a great number of high-resolution digitized materials concerning Philippine national and local history. Named the National Memory Project, the endeavor envisions democratized Philippine history materials, especially the rare collection, unique items, and public domain materials found in the NHCP library, archives, or museums.


The National Memory Project envisions a democratized Philippine history for all with a mission to:

  1. 1. Host a common online platform for public and private stakeholders of Philippine history where they can contribute their unique sources and items;
  2. 2. Simplify historical research in the Philippines;
  3. 3. Empower the public to be more critical of their shared past by bringing Philippine history sources closer to them;
  4. 4. Address the disparity of access to primary sources of the history scholars, students, and enthusiasts in the provinces and Filipinos abroad;
  5. 5. Contribute to the democratization of Philippine primary sources, which are made available online by great repositories here and abroad but with fewer restrictions:
    1. a. Downloadable in high-resolution
    2. b. Minimal watermark that does not impair the appearance of the material digitally
    3. c. Can be searched internally, especially the texts



1. Platform: Develop a site that is intuitive, following the conventions and best practices of democratization of information here and abroad
2. One-Stop NHCP Site: Unify the diverse platforms and collections of the NHCP into a single online platform via the National Memory Project.
3. Uploading: To make the NHCP holdings available online with a small watermark footer like the conventions of the National Library of the Philippines to its digitized items
4. Respect for Copyright: Not all NHCP holdings are accessible to all, especially the copyrighted Philippine materials unless accessed in the NHCP Main Library in Manila. Thus, accessibility is not for all unless equipment belongs to NHCP-authorized personnel and/or part of the NHCP premises. To address the mobility concern, there is a need to develop NHCP Spaces in the NHCP Museums and other areas where the public can enjoy the contents of the National Memory Project on all levels (see Accessibility Levels). Otherwise specified, downloading and reproduction of copyrighted materials are restricted in these spaces.
5. Enriching Philippine History: Expose more Philippine history materials found in various repositories of the country by expanding the catalog of Philippine history materials through collaboration with institutions and personalities with unique Philippine history collections.
6. Expand: Equip participating collaborators with digitization, especially the government ones. Collaborators may bring the NHCP-provided scanners to other institutions in their respective localities for more digitization efforts.


The National Memory Project is designed to be user-centric, thus addressing the concerns of how learners, educators, researchers, and the public, in general, can access and enjoy the historical wealth of the NHCP and its collaborators. The following are the expected features:

  1. 1. A one-stop site of digitized Philippine history materials at www.nhcp.gov.ph/memory
  2. 2. General search bar capable of deep search per item uploaded
  3. 3. Initial 2-terabyte Cloud storage (upgradable)
  4. 4. Special features include:
    1. a. Journal of Philippine Local History and Heritage. The official biannual journal of the NHCP since 2014.
    2. b. Philippine Heraldry Registry. Contains the government seals classified into Provinces, Municipalities, Cities, Agencies, State Universities and Colleges, GOCCs, and Military, as well as government decorations and military badges.
    3. c. Philippine Local History Index. Collates the titles of published and unpublished studies on local history, some of which are downloadable if available.
    4. d. National Registry of Historic Sites and Structures. Encompasses the marked and declared sites, structures, events, institutions, and personalities of the NHCP since it began marking in 1934.
    5. e. NHCP Museums Collection. Features artifacts and holdings found in 29 NHCP history museums.
    6. f. NHCP Publications
    7. g. NHCP Survey Files
    8. h. NHCP Photo Collection
    9. i. NHCP Special Collection
    10. j. NHCP Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection
    11. k. NHCP Technical Notes
  5. 5. Curated contents based on topics
    1. a. Rizaliana
    2. b. Symbols
    3. c. Women
    4. d. Philippine Muslim History
    5. e. Markers
    6. f. Historic Sites and Structures
  6. 6. Collaborating institutions will have respective clusters to feature their contributed items.


There is undeniably an explosion of knowledge online over the last 30 years. It enables everyone with internet access to accumulate unlimited information, especially in history anytime and anywhere right at their fingertips. Notwithstanding the abuses and unethical practices (e.g., purveying of disinformation, deliberate distortion of facts), digital sophistication must serve the public well by flooding cyberspace with a plethora of historical primary sources such as archival materials, artifacts, publications, ephemera, maps, and other historical materials from authorities and great repositories (e.g., libraries, learning centers, archives).

Alongside the concern for informed judgment, the NHCP believes that it is high time to intensify the campaign to democratize the historical resources of the country. It can empower Filipino society to obtain first-hand, authoritative historical materials. It can help capture the interest of the public in the richness of their shared, inherited past, as most of them may not have seen such materials before. One example is the El Renacimiento, a noted American-period Philippine newspaper in Spanish and Tagalog. Several generations are familiar with the newspaper but have never seen one except for a front-page published in their Social Studies textbook (most often than not, printed in black and white, sepia, or monochrome blue, green or red). With the University of Santo Tomas Library joining the democratization of knowledge in recent years, learners, teachers, and the public can now access extant issues of the newspaper online. But only a few institutions of learning and research have done so in the Philippines.

Social media is a great venue to freely exchange information about rare Philippine materials online, mostly originating from the online collection of the U.S. Library of Congress, the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, the University of Michigan Digital Library, and the Biblioteca Nacional de Espana, among others. These materials are often open access, downloadable for free, in high-resolution, and with a small watermark. Materials from these sites are rarely seen, espousing great interest among Filipinos. Thus, exposing the public to this historical wealth contributes to the flooding of sensible social media features and the enhancement of historical research, discourse, and education. Democratization of history is a deliberate campaign to bring knowledge closer to everyone


In 2019, the professional national historical societies, history departments, local historical bodies, and other historical and cultural institutions affiliated with the NHCP Local Historical Committees Network (LHCN) clamored for a more democratized Philippine history. They wanted the Philippine cultural agencies such as the NHCP to make their digital collections available online for free at par with other digital libraries with Philippine historical and cultural materials. On 30 June 2019, the said LHCN member-affiliates and the NHCP management adopted the LHCN National Action Plan 2019-2022, otherwise known as the Baler Agenda. It sealed the commitment of the NHCP to democratize its library, heraldic, archival, and museum collections through an online platform to be known as the National Memory Project (NMP).

On 12 August 2020, the seminal online platform of the NMP was launched. Funded by the National Quincentennial Committee (NQC) as its legacy project, the platform was initially an integrated OPAC of the NHCP Serafin D. Quiason Resource Center (SDQRC) and of selected catalogs of the then 27 NHCP museums with photographs. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the relevance of the NMP became evident as the NHCP wanted to ease the historical research in the country, especially in fulfilling its mandate on historical research under the remote work mode. In 2022, the NHCP inherited from the now-defunct NQC the NMP online platform. The NHCP Research, Publication and Heraldry Division (NHCP RPHD) conducted a massive digitization program in the SDQRC and Heraldry Section. The digitized items, along with the issues of the Journal of Philippine Local History and Heritage and other NHCP publications, will be made available once the NMP platform is improved into a full-blast digital library and archives. Other commitments of the NHCP are the integration of the NMP the National Registry of Historic Sites and Structures, the uploading of select NHCP Survey Files (collected through time from the field works and documentation of various historic sites and structures in the country), and the continuous enrichment of the museum catalogs. The Cebu City’s Cultural and Historical Affairs Office (CHAO) and Cebu Province’s Museo Sugbo were the pioneer collaborators of the NHCP in the NMP whose rare materials were digitized by the SDQRC from 1-3 August 2022. The Juan D. Nepomuceno Center for Kapampangan Studies of Holy Angel University and the Philippine World War II Foundation, Inc. also signified their interest to join in the cause.

Meanwhile, on 4 August 2022, the LHCN adopted the LHCN National Action Plan for Local History and Heritage (Cebu Framework 2022-2027) which details the commitment of the LHCN member-affiliates to collaborate with the NHCP in enriching the NMP in the next five years. This is also parallel with the NHCP Action Plan 2022-2027 which emphasizes the democratization of the historical wealth of the NHCP by supporting the NMP.

By 2023, the NMP will now become an integral part of the NHCP website under memory.nhcp.gov.ph. yet respectful of the original name and the humble beginnings with the LHCN and the NQC

Moving Forward

The NHCP alone cannot accomplish this task. We need institutional collaborators that believe in our aims “to inculcate awareness and appreciation of the noble deeds and ideals of our heroes and other illustrious Filipinos, to instill pride in the Filipino people and to rekindle the Filipino spirit through the lessons of history.” But initial consultations were carried out to address their concerns about democratizing their collection.


Issues Problem Statement Argument Action Plan
Accessibility Institutions possessing significant public-domain and   unique historical materials domestically restrict Filipino history scholars,   educators, students, and enthusiasts in various occasions and circumstances   from accessing them (e.g., costly reproduction, only in photocopy format or   in poor quality if scanned, neither can be photographed nor shared, cannot be   enjoyed in full). The public, in the case of the Philippines, has been   benefiting from the democratization of knowledge—in all forms—contributed by   various institutions online, here and abroad: free, unrestricted downloading   of public-domain facsimiles of important books, manuscripts, newspapers,   photographs, and videos in high-resolution and less watermarked. -Initiate dialogue among the concerned institutions to   join the National Memory Project
Clientele Loss Democratization takes away the institutions’ revenue, as   well as the excitement of future researchers in visiting those items   personally. Democratization is not an enemy but helps promote/market   the institution. For example, institutions like Beinecke Rare Books and   Manuscripts of Yale University and the Lilly Library of the Indiana   University-Bloomington democratize their historical wealth yet implemented   innovative revenue ways: These materials can be accessed in a read-only   quality but if someone is interested to obtain high-resolution copies, they   must pay. -Create innovative ways how to ignite interest in visiting   the libraries and archives physically through this project
Explosion of Materials Local institutions fear the arbitrary spread and usage of   their holdings, depriving them the credit. This adamancy of the institutions is valid,   notwithstanding the fact that the culture of lack of citation has been   rampant since the advent of the internet. But democratization, when   implemented, must have a program on the ethical use of the materials. A clear   fair use disclaimer must be issued. Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery   of Art, for example, has this: “Images can be used for all non-commercial   purposes, from desktop wallpapers to artistic gifts for family and friends.   For permission to use high-resolution images commercially, contact Rights and   Reproduction.” -Establish and implement conventions on the ethical use of   the materials and include this in the basic education curriculum
Commercial Abuse Public domain materials, when uploaded online, can be   exploited by anyone for profit purposes, thus, depriving the owner of the   items due credit and/or enjoyment of the fruits of their collection/s. Although a risk, it is a universal convention that the   public-domain materials are exposed to such an advantage. For example,   Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo are obviously in   the public domain, and everyone may reprint, resell, and reuse it by any   other means. This fear must not affect our greater service to history   students, scholars, and enthusiasts vis-à-vis impede scholarship but rather support massive interest in   historical research and education by making our collection readily available   online. -Determine the levels of accessibility to the materials to   be uploaded (see Accessibility Levels)
Restrictions There are institutions that joined democratization but   implemented restrictions such as placing a watermark across the document   (marring the quality of the material) and restricting downloading. Great institutions such as the University of Michigan, Harvard   University, Indiana University, Biblioteca Nacional de España, Universidad   Complutence de Madrid, and the Spanish archives, to name a few, “were   extraordinary in loosening the physical and temporal constraints on the   information.” -Curate materials that are restricted for download but not   at the expense of furthering historical research.
-Initiate   dialogue among the concerned institutions to join the National Memory Project
Intuitiveness There are institutions that joined the democratization   whose sites are difficult to navigate. A lot of innovative ways and exemplars are accessible   online to implement an intuitive, user-friendly site. -Initiate a review of the existing digital libraries and   archives around the world for further development of the National Memory   Project
Familiarity Only a few people, who are mostly history students and   scholars, are familiar with the historical wealth online. The growing disinformation and historical distortion   should alarm history students and scholars to act by leading the public to   reputable sources of history. -Inspire innovative ways of exposing the public to access   curated historical materials such as the National Memory Project

Expected Innovative Solutions

Innovative solutions must address the following areas of concern that the NHCP sees as hindrances to the democratization of historical wealth:

  1. 1. Accessibility. Encourage the institutions, especially the government sector, to join the advocacy for the common good. In the case of the Philippines, a great part of   historical wealth is accessed from the digital libraries abroad
  2. 2. Familiarity with historical wealth. Lead the public to the wide array of sources available online.
  3. 3. Inspire collaboration. Develop innovative ways to access the historical wealth available online.

Accessibility Levels


Levels Description NHCP Materials
1. Open Access Anyone can download for free, in high-resolution   (otherwise declared by the owner “high-resolution materials for request”) -Public domain materials
-Unique NHCP   materials
-NHCP   Journals
2. View Only Anyone can enjoy full access to the materials but not   downloadable. -Special collection
3. Snippet View Limited viewing, applicable for non-public domain NHCP   publications* and other items determined by the collaborators. This feature   enables anyone to have an idea that a particular material exists in the   collection of the NHCP and its collaborators.** – Copyrighted NHCP publications for sale
4. Restricted Access Owing to restrictions, especially by the Intellectual   Property Code of the Philippines (RA 8293), only authorized persons can access the NHCP   digitized materials.** -Copyrighted non-NHCP publications
-Architectural   plans
-Survey files

*For those who wish to access the materials, one can purchase the NHCP publications online or at the designated NHCP Bookstores.

**Outside researchers may view the items only in specific kiosks of the NHCP Spaces like the NHCP Serafin D. Quiason Resource Center, NHCP museums, and other designated extensions of the library. Another mode of access is by logging in to the system, as authorized by the NHCP. However, these modes are view-only and restricted from downloading.


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