To promote the digital resources of Taiwan, show forth its academic soft power, and to encourage international collaboration and exchange, on September 5, 2023 the National Central Library went to the Collège de France in Paris to hold a session of its Taiwan Resource Center for Chinese Studies Exchange Workshop. Participants there were from 15 countries.
Director-General Shu-hsien Tseng stated, the National Central Library began in 2011 to establish Taiwan Resource Centers for Chinese Studies (TRCCS) throughout the world as one of its new brands and to promote international collaboration. It invites important scholarly institutions and libraries to join its network of international collaboration. As of July 2023, a total of 46 partners have joined. To ensure collaboration with each of these partners, NCL has already held 72 Taiwan Lectures on Chinese Studies, 7 international scholarly conferences, 2 young scholar workshops, as well as 15 exhibitions on special topics. None of these was accomplished by NCL on its own, but rather through the efforts of its collaborating partners.
After what was learned during the pandemic, NCL gained an even more concrete and realistic way of quickly putting research resources into the hands of researchers without things getting in the way. Changes in the international scene also caused NCL to ponder on how it could help the Chinese studies institutions throughout the world value the scholarly resources and achievements from Taiwan more. Consequently, it held its first TRCCS Exchange Workshop in Europe. Through discussion and interaction in the workshop, the digital databases developed in Taiwan by NCL, government agencies, and scholarly institutions were introduced to our collaborating partners. The event followed right after the EASL biennial meeting. So NCL extended a special invitation to Dr. Dafydd Fell from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies to speak on “Making Taiwan Studies Sustainable in Europe: Achievements, Challenges and Opportunities.” In addition, NCL also arranged for Director Wen-de Huang and Dr. Leo Lin to explain the digital resources from the National Central Library and other institutions in Taiwan. Lastly, a discussion was held where each of our collaborating partners could share their experience in running a TRCCS and in collaborating with other institutions.
Attendees all agreed that it was wonderful NCL could proactively come to Europe to introduce its collection database and the digital resources of important scholarly institutions in Taiwan, as well as the interlibrary loan program for TRCCSs. That the collaborating institutions could interact face to face in sharing their experiences in how they ran their TRCCS and promoted its resources can provide a way for the TRCCS services to have a greater effect in each of their locations, especially in helping collaborating partners in their teaching needs and research expansion, thus increasing Taiwan’s visibility on the worlds academic stage. This was not only helpful for scholarly research but even more importantly, any more European scholars and students that have an interest in Taiwan can find more ways to get to know Taiwan’s customs and culture. This will result in a closer cultural connection between Europe and Taiwan.