A current national bibliography is a mirror that reflects the culture of a country. By looking at the current national bibliography one is able to learn about the uniqueness of a country. The emphasis on agriculture and technology, the make-up of its society through its various language publications, particular customs and ceremonies important in the life of the nation, the importance of education, literature and science, prominent literary authors of the time and political, social and religious trends within a country are all discernible. A current national bibliography should reflect the interests and unique characteristics of a country much as a mirror reflects the uniqueness of an individual.” (Bell, B. L. (1998). An annotated guide to current national bibliographies (2nd completely rev. ed.). München: K.G. Saur)

More than 50 years ago the definition was: “the ideal (current national) bibliography is conceived as a complete listing of all books, documents, pamphlets, serials and other printed matter published within the bounds of a single country and within the time limits of the previous year or less.” (Conover, H. F. (1955). Current national bibliographies. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office.)



Philippine National Bibliography (PNB) is an ongoing cumulation of the authoritative and comprehensive list of books and other materials published or distributed in the Philippines or the Filipiniana collection. It is produced in accordance with international standards. Wenceslao E. Retana, a famous Filipino journalist and Filipinologist defined FILIPINIANA publications as follows:

FILIPINIANA publications as follows:

  1. Those that were printed in the Philippines irrespective of the subject they treat of, because all of those are indispensable for the accurate study of the typography of the Archipelago;

  2. Those that are about the Philippines, no matter in what language they were written or the place where they were printed because they are more or less necessary for the study of the country; and

  3. Those that were written by Filipinos on any subject, regardless of their imprint, because they are of great use to measure the intellectual capacity, laboriousness, taste, ambitions, etc. of Filipinos.


In 1974, PNB was first published in book form and on May 23, 1978, a memorandum of agreement was made between the National Library of the Philippines (NLP) and the Technological Resource Center (TRC). The latter assisted the NLP in the implementation of the Philippine National Bibliography (PNB) system.

In 1985, the Bibliographic Services Division decided to publish the thesis and dissertation listing in a separate volume as the following:

Part I: Monographs which includes listing of books, serials, government publications and non- book materials. (Presidential Decree No. 49 under Copyright Law)

Part II: Theses that includes listing of theses and dissertation (MECS Order No. 7, s.1982).

In 2002, the PNB was published in Portable Document Format or PDF and is arranged in a classified sequence with author, title, series and subject indexes.

With the advances in technology, new approaches and developments combined with search-engine technology was initiated. Thus, PNB Online started in 2016. It contains items that are currently gathered in 2015.

PNB covers the following:

  • Books, pamphlets and non-book materials copyrighted under Presidential Decree No. 49. This is a decree on the protection of Intellectual Property or otherwise known as the New Copyright Law of the Philippines

  • Non-copyrighted books, pamphlets and non-book materials regardless of the number of pages.

  • Government publications including presidential decrees, orders, proclamations, and instructions;

  • Annuals, first issues of newspapers and periodicals;

  • Conference, seminar or workshop papers;

  • Thesis and dissertations;

  • Titles reprinted in the Philippines under PD No. 285 as amended by PD No. 400

  • Books for children

  • Artists’ books