Global Memory Net (GMNet) is funded by the National Science Foundation's International Digital Library Program under grant number NSF/IIS-9905833 (2000-2005, PI: Ching-chih Chen, Simmons College), and grant number NSF/IIS-0333036 (2005-2007). During 2000-2002, the project, then titled Chinese Memory Net, was more limited in scope. However, the core collection of the project has leveraged the results and products of Prof. Chen's 20-year interactive videodisc and multimedia project, PROJECT EMPEROR-I, initially supported by the US National Endowment for the Humanity’s Library Program (1983-1986). The project's by-products, both the interactive videodisc and multimedia CD, entitled The First Emperor of China, published by The Voyager Company, include an image collection of over 4000 images together with extensive descriptive annotations. "Content" is the real substance of any digital library, thus, these images have become the initial core collection of CMNet and then GMNet. It is clear that without the extensive earlier efforts, the current project would not be possible.

GMNet‘s Collection is constantly growing, and its system and interface design are continually being upgraded and modified to take advantage of improvements in technology. Since September 2010, these activities have been supported by Global Connection and Collaboration, Inc. (GlobalCC).