On September 22, Dr. Shu-hsien Tseng, Director-General of the National Central Library, signed a cooperation agreement with Stanford University and formally launched the “Taiwan Resource Center for Chinese Studies (TRCCS)” services at the University. The Opening Ceremony was held after signing of the Agreement. This is the NCL’s 43rd TRCCS partner overseas. Both parties also signed an Agreement of Cooperation on the Database of the Union Catalog of Chinese Rare Books which expands the collaboration circle of NCL’s rare Chinese books. Invited to the ceremony included Mr. John Yung-Chang Chu, the Deputy Director-General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in San Francisco, Ms. Sophie Hui-Yi Chou, Director of the Education Division, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in San Francisco, and Ms. Yu-Chen Lu and Te-chen Wei, both are current Overseas Committee members. They attended to witness this special event for the collaboration between the two libraries.
Stanford University was established in 1891 and is a world-renowned private university, with outstanding research credits, especially is home to 84 Nobel Prize winners (as of April 2021). According to the QS World University Ranking, in 2020 and 2021 it was ranked second in the world. Director-General Tseng pointed out that Stanford University is a famed university, open in ingesting of resources and welcoming in recruiting outstanding scholars, and expressed her gratitude for this cooperation opportunity.
Director-General Tseng stated in her remarks that there are a few things in common between Stanford University Library and the National Central Library: Both bear the responsibility to preserve cultural and academic relics, and to be instrumental in encouraging use of such resources to facilitate good researches. She therefore believes that it is promising that the two parties could have solid strong cooperation relationship under the value the two parties share, especially that the two parties would inaugurate the TRCCS cooperation.
Director-General Tseng also mentioned that starting last year, the NCL library has launched a digitalization cooperation project with Stanford University Library. The Library has a rich collection of ancient Chinese books, including remarkable important rare books. This digitalization project has been completed early this year. The rare books digitized broadly cover five categories of antient Chinese books which include classics, history, individual works, collective works, and series. In addition, there are some in the fields of geography and politics. It will be of great help to scholars engaged in the research of Ming and Qing academia, literature, and history. Director-General Tseng said that she genuinely hopes that based on these foundations, the two parties can have more sharing of librarianship experiences and expand the cooperation scope in the future.
In addition, Director-General Tseng explained that since 2005, the NCL has been undertaking digitization cooperation projects with university libraries and national libraries in many countries that hold important Chinese ancient books. Up to the present, the digitization outcomes through such cooperation projects counted more than 4,700 titles of rare books which has yield nearly 3.2 million images. The digitized images are uploaded into the NCL’s "Database for Digital Images of Rare Books." When countries are affected by covid-19 epidemic, and physical activities are restricted, open access digital resources are very important for facilitating continuing research and education. The digitization projects that the NCL has accomplished through cross-countries collaboration and the open access agreements from the cooperation institutions, has made such online sharing possible. Not only the cooperated institutions can share each other’s resources, all users in the world can enjoy the same access right, as long as the use of the digital images is merely for none commercial research and education purposes. This is truly good news for the academia communities, and its benefit is far beyond a digitization project. Therefore, she appreciates that signing of the Agreement of Cooperation on the Database of the Union Catalog of Chinese Rare Books in addition to the TRCCS Cooperation Agreement will enrich the contents of the database, and enhance the services to the academia communities.
In the signing of these two collaborative agreements and the opening ceremony of the TRCCS, Director-General Tseng prepared special gifts for the new partner: a replica of a national treasure in NCL’s collection with 800 years of history Annotated Anthology of Mr. [Su] Dongpo's Poems (in 21 volumes). Another replica is the Diamond Sutra. Its original copy held at the National Central Library was produced in 1341 during the Yuan dynasty. These two replicas will add to Stanford’s collection important assets, and will stand as a token of this historical event for the cooperation between the two libraries.