My journey with Filipiniana.net began a year ago when I was transferred to work on this website. I admit, it was not love at first sight. What would I do with a bunch of outdated, out-of-print digitized books? But as I learned the ins and outs of processing these seemingly boring materials, my heart did change. Working on these materials was only the beginning of my love story with Filipiniana.net.
Filipiniana.net was born out of the passion of Mr. Gaspar Vibal, executive director of Vibal Foundation, to disseminate knowledge and preserve Filipino culture. He, along with Hispano-Filipino historian Jaime Marco, conceptualized the idea of creating a library that would house digitized books, manuscripts and non-textual materials about the Philippines, and make these available online for free. This dream came true in 2006 when Filipiniana.net was launched.
From a typical online library to a large depository of Philippine materials, Filipiniana.net has evolved into a one-stop place for book lovers, researchers and scholars. People of all ages have found it useful in their research, while some are just delighted to see hundreds of photos stored in its image database.
Filipiniana.net has not stopped improving too! Filnet (as we fondly call it) has gone through several redevelopment stages. Maybe you have noticed the changing face of the website.
Filnet again underwent a tedious yet monumental “facelift operation” starting last May 2010. The editorial team which was then headed by Jack Nera, along with Vibal Foundation’s tech team, collaborated on the battle plan for the refurbishing of Filipiniana.net.
Indeed, this was not an easy task for us. Grueling days and nights (yes, nights) of planning, coding, embedding, uploading and more filled the months from May to October. Problems were taken as challenges, while errors were accepted as most treasured information. Most of us were exhausted from juggling other projects (it was also at this time when the development of our sister project Vee Press started), but none of us thought of stopping what we had begun.
We were all excited to share the outcome of our hard work. It was during the 31st Manila International Book Fair that we first presented the impending changes to Filnet.
Finally, Filipiniana.net 3.0 was uploaded to the web on 1 October. This version provides improved functions and additional features. Aside from the pleasing and comfortable website design, it allows users to navigate and search more quickly and easily. Though they can still browse the website by categories or collections (Filnet has 12 unique collections), users can also take advantage of the three new sections: Featured Book, Featured Article, and Filnet Recommends.
The Featured Book section highlights noteworthy books and documents in its collection. Featured Article provides scholarly discussions about the culture, economy, geography, government, history, religion, science and society of the Philippines. Filnet Recommends is a review section for contemporary books about the Philippines and/or penned by Filipinos.
Today’s Filnet is also more interactive. Interested parties can submit their entries for the latter two section (just email your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Filnet has also improved its citation feature (suggested MLA and CMS citation formats). In the near future, users will be able to annotate whatever part or text of the documents. Also upcoming is the most awaited revamp of the image database.
Some might ask, why? Why bother redeveloping an existing and already working website? Why can’t we be satisfied with what we have?
The answer is because we love it. I once heard that when you love someone or something you will do everything to make sure it reaches its full potential.
We are not doing this for money (by the way, we are part of a nonprofit organization); neither are we doing this for fame. We believe that the materials on the site are relevant and vital parts of the Filipino heritage that must be preserved and appreciated by future generations. This is indeed the gift of Filipiniana.net to the Filipino people.
We are still working on some minor glitches, but in the meantime, why not visit and test the site for yourself? Working with Filnet had greatly influenced my life. It taught me to be determined (determined to finish these piled-up publishing lists), strong (to accept all criticisms and take them in a positive light), and patient (implementing the plan is still a trial and error process).
Like me, it will always be a work in progress. Yet like me too, Filipiniana.net will not stop improving.
Also read Filipiniana.net retooled for interactivity.