December 13, 2022, Director-General Shu- hsien Tseng represented the National Central Library in signing a collaborative agreement with world- renowned Heidelberg University (HU). This marks the 45th Taiwan Resource Center for Chinese Studies partnership worldwide. Given HU’s long history and numerous rare Chinese books in its library’s collection, an additional collaborative agreement was signed by both parties to participate in the Rare Books Union Catalog that NCL created. Invited to the ceremony were TECO in Munich Representative Joseph Chao and TECO Education Division Head Ching Tseng. Both were witnesses to this historic moment of collaboration and exchange between the two libraries.
Heidelberg University President Bernhard Eitel greatly supports and values this collaborative endeavor. He made special arrangements for the signing to happen in his personal office and to meet with Representative Chao. Presitent Eitel thanked NCL for sharing its research resources and particularly emphasized the multi-faceted nature of democratic governments. Europe should have a better understanding of democracies in other regions. For example, this collaborative relationship established with National Central Library can enable the faculty and students in the democratic state of Germany to create an exchange and platform for discussion with the democratic nation of Taiwan in Asia. He also stated that this collaborative endeavor is rife with meaning.
Established in 1386, Heidelberg University is Germany’s most well-known and oldest institution of higher learning. It is ranked 70th worldwide and 3rd in Germany. It has many scholarly resources and has the reputation of being one of the top three universities in Germany. HU Library was established in 1388 and boasts 80 branches. Library holdings for each discipline are very replete and diverse. Heidelberg University comprehends on a deep level the importance and influence that scholarly publications from Taiwan have on its Center ’s Taiwan studies, contemporary Chinese studies and traditional Chinese studies.
In addition, the Rare Books Union Catalog Database that NCL created currently has over 80 collaborating partners. Heidelberg University’s addition to the collaboration further strengthens the partnership. During the trip, Director-General Tseng also signed a collaboration agreement with Heidelberg University for NCL to add them to the Rare Books Union Catalog. This opportunity to work with Heidelberg University to create digitized copies of their rare Chinese books strengthens the interaction and shared resources between our two libraries. It also expands the resources in the database.
In signing these two collaborative agreements with HU and in the unveiling of the TRCCS, Director- General Tseng presented HU with two special gifts: replica copies of the Annotated Poems by Mr. Su Dongpo, the original of which has over 800 years of history and has been listed as a national treasure in Taiwan, and the Diamond Sutra. These works will add to HU’s already wonderful collection of books and express the high value NCL places on this historic collaborative exchange between the two libraries.