Digitization of Philippine Rare Perodicals and Training in DH

This TEAM project funded by VLIR-UOS is a collaboration between the University of Antwerp and the University of the Philippines System that combines an exchange of DH expertise and training with a specific digitization project of rare Philippine newspapers and magazines. The Universtity of Antwerp's project two promotors are Mike Kestemont and Dirk Van Hulle, and it will be implemented by Rocío Ortuño.     

Project Goals

The project aims to improve the competitiveness of Philippine Humanities research in a globalized world, including the possibilities of student and professional mobility offered by the ASEAN confluence, by training faculty members and students in the field of Digital Humanities. The first and crucial step towards this objective (1) is the digitization of materials and the creation of a freely accessible environment with user friendly search facilities. Several periodicals published before World War II are in a rpecarious state of preservation and, located in Metro Manila, they are not accessible to all universities in the Philippines. By digitizing these periodicals and hosting them in a freely accessible online repository, they could be made available to all peripheral universities, and used in DH related research. Subsequently, (2) training in DH will be provided at different campuses of the University of the Phillipines System. This training fits in the Philippine government's priority for promoting digital literacy both among scholars and the larger public. It also allows the University of the Philippines to participate in the global emergence and collaborative hallmark of DH. 


The project consists of two phases:

Phase (1): Digitization of the UP's collection of rare periodicals (paper and microfilm). 

This collection comprises an estimated nimber of 12.000 issues published in Spanish, Tagalog, English, Chinise, and regional languages of the Philippines. Among others, they include news articles, articles on social and artistic subjects, literary works, sports sections, and women's sections. Thankfully, the Philippine copyright law allows for the public reproduction of articles in mass media, as well as for images published more than 50 years ago – so there are no legal issues with regard to intellectual copyrifgt in the creation of this repository. 

The project provides a grant for 5 people to be trained in Antwerp in the relevant techniques and methodologies that this work requires. Once all materials have been double-keyed into a text version, this training should enable them to: 

  1. Annotate the text in TEI-XML;
  2. Implement the framework developed by the IIIF consortium;
  3. Catalogue and upload the materials to the online platform hosted by the UP and the implementation of a search interface;
  4. Enable RDF standard (semantic web).

This process will facilitate further research on the digitized texts using DH methodologies. In addition, the IIIF tagging will allow that the images appear in international search engines of combined databases around the world, enhancing the visibility of Philippine studies.

A developer will enable the collaborative enhancement of information in the repostiory using the Trove model, facilitating research, collaboration, and possible future addition of materials digitized by private initiatives or other institutions. Genealogies and itineraries can also be created by this tool from the information contained in the documents.

Phase (2): Training in Digital Humanities.

This training will be divided into 4 parts:

  1. Introductory Course – Diliman campus (June of year 2)
  2. Advanced Course  – Diliman campus (January of year 3)
  3. Training Session 1 – peripheral campuses (December of year 2)
  4. Training Session 2 – peripheral campuses (June of year 3)

Parts 1 and 2 will be delivered by professors from the University of Antwerp, who will travel to the Philippines to teach courses in collaboration with the (co-) promotors from the UP. This will consist of one introductory course in June 2019, and one Advanced Course in January 2020. Together, both courses will cover general skills for DH research, such as digital corpus construction and consultation; text mining; topic modeling; sentiment analysis and stylometry; TEI markup and conversions; GIS; visualizations with Gephi and Tableau; database construction and manipulation; classroom applications and didactics of DH; as well as offering concrete examples of the possibilities of working with the repository created in Phase (1). These two courses will be delivered at the UP Diliman campus, and attended by postgraduate students and Faculty memers of the UP, and at least one professor from other Philippine campuses (Baguio, Cebú, and Iloilo) will join the training.

Parts 3 and 4 will consist of training sessions that are delivered at the peripheral campuses, taught by Philippine professors who attended parts 1 and 2, and who will be developing their own projects within the larger Phase (1) digitization project. These sessions will take place in December 2019, and June 2020. Before parts 3 and 4 can commence, the necessary equipment for digital scholarly work in the Humanities will be purchased and provided. Online support from Antwerp will also be provided for both the digitization projects, and the continued training.