Melanie Jimenez, News, Communication Management Office
Digital technologies are valuable tools for preserving cultural heritage. With their increasing importance in the field of archiving, there is a need to broaden and strengthen the application of these digital tools in order to make them more generally available and effective.
Towards this end, the Philippine Documentary Heritage held a two-day webinar series on Digital Archiving in celebration of the National Heritage Month with the theme, “Digital Technology and Documentary Heritage,” last May 20 and 27.
A discussion from Assistant Professor Paul Jason Perez from the University of the Philippines, Diliman was featured on May 20. He stressed the ramifications of our growing reliance on digital technology and how we might deal with it by expanding awareness on the ethics of digital archiving, particularly web-archiving. He explained that websites and social media have become prominent media for archiving information.
With the rise of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, archivists must also focus on providing voices to groups in need of representation. He also emphasized the importance of Philippine institutions and communities becoming mission-centered in their web-archive curation.
“Web-archiving is no longer viewed as something that can be done separately; this should be in collaboration with the community you are archiving, communities that need to be heard, their stories and truths are likewise valid, and we must preserve their voices [sic],” Perez said.
The second offering of the Digital Technology and Documentary Heritage series explored the possibilities of the archive and archival work in the artistic and personal practice of a transdisciplinary artist and researcher.
On May 27, insights on some of the tools, methods, learning resources, and even examples of archiving as a mode of thinking and doing were discussed. Dr. Diego S. Maranan, dean of the Faculty of Information and Communication Studies at the University of the Philippines Open University talked about “Archiving as Artistic and Personal Practice: Tools, Methods, Examples, and Learning Resources.”
Dr. Maranan discussed his works, as a transdisciplinary artist and researcher. These range from investigating how digital technologies are changing the way humans move and perceive human movement to co-creating socially engaged art installations that foster symbiotic relationships between plants, computers, and people. He encouraged everyone to get involved in the field of archiving as everyone can play an active role in preserving our cultural and historical heritage.
“Archiving is something all of us can do, not just professional librarians and archivists although their support is something very important in order to create useful, complete and usable archives,” Dr. Maranan quipped.
In his closing remarks for the webinar series, Arnulfo Junio, Head of the National Committee on Archives at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, invited all cultural professionals and artists to participate on the various 2023 NCCA competitions and activities.
The webinar is part of PHDH, an ongoing collaborative research project between the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. It is a valuable effort towards “collecting, preserving, and giving access to creative works, accounts, and manifestations of experiences of the arts and culture sector” during the pandemic. It offers a unique way to “inform researchers, academics, scientists, policymakers, and other stakeholders about the extent and diverse ways the pandemic impacted the sector.” To learn more about the project, you may visit and like their Facebook Page.
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