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  • 2024-05-06
Signing Ceremony for Digital Collaboration Agreement between National Central Library and National Cheng Kung University
Signing Ceremony for Digital Collaboration Agreement between National Central Library and National Cheng Kung University

National Central Library recognizes that many domestic libraries and archival units have preserved publications from before 1949 which record information about Taiwan’s history, culture, humanities and geography, art and literature, society, politics, economics from that time. These records are highly valuable for academic research and serve as an excellent resource for Taiwan Studies research. However, because Taiwan’s hot and humid climate is not conducive to book preservation and many library and archival spaces lack proper humidity and temperature controls, this has led to paper acidification of old books, often making them impossible to open and read without causing damage; or, when damage has already occurred, such books have been disposed of. To fulfill the missions of preserving culture and promoting academic research, these materials are being digitally archived to reduce the damage that comes from physical use. By making these materials available on the internet for use by readers and researchers both domestically and abroad, the preservation lifespan of the physical books can also be extended. 

To this aim, in 2015 NCL initiated its “Collaborative Digitization Project for Taiwan Documents,” hoping thereby to digitally preserve and make available for use publications from before the year 1949, while at the same time establishing the “Taiwan eBook” database and “Taiwan Memory Database” systems with the goal of providing open access to these materials. These efforts allow libraries and archival units throughout Taiwan to be able to provide relevant publications to readers throughout the world through digitization. Collaborating universities include: National Taiwan University, National Taiwan Normal University, National Chengchi University, National Taipei University of Education and National Taipei University of Technology. 

In a continuation of this project, the first university to collaborate on digitization of book archives this year is National Cheng Kung University, where NCL Director-General Han-ching Wang teaches.  The university was founded as the “Taiwan Governor General Office Tainan Technical College” in 1931 during the Japanese Colonial Period and Director-General Wang is deeply acquainted with the valuable historical texts and archives from the Japanese Colonial Period that have been meticulously preserved since the schools founding. These texts which number in the tens of thousands have been preserved to the present and stored within the NCKU Library. The texts cover a rich range of topics including science and engineering, mathematics, literature and historical research, and more. Therefore, Director-General Wang has actively promoted a collaboration between the two institutions to digitize these materials, focusing first on materials published before 1949 in Chinese and Japanese on Taiwan-related themes, totaling 370 volumes. Among these texts, the oldest is Taiwan Historical Materials (《臺灣史料》), and the second oldest is Chronicles of Taiwan (《臺灣志》). Notably, the latter book was written by Japanese anthropologist and folklorist Inō Kanori who came to Taiwan as an employee of Japan’s Army Ministry and served in the Civil Affairs Bureau of the Governor-General's Office. He was devoted to the study of Taiwan throughout his life and is considered to be one of the pioneers of research on Taiwan’s history and indigenous peoples. Additionally, the digitization efforts include a comprehensive collection of the "Annual Reports of the Taiwan Governor-General's Office Monopoly Bureau," spanning volumes 1 to 27 published in 1906, as well as the "Annual Report on Taiwan Agriculture" published in 1919, and "Kunqu Cui Cun," donated by former NCKU President Jer-Ru Maa, among numerous other invaluable resources. Through digitization, these precious old texts and archival materials will be made available online, so that the academic contributions of predecessors in all fields and these traces of Taiwan’s history and development can be available to all.

Last Update Time:2024-05-06
  • The results of NCL and NCKU’s digitization collaboration will be added to the collections of the “Taiwan eBook” database and “Taiwan Memory Database”
    The results of NCL and NCKU’s digitization collaboration will be added to the collections of the “Taiwan eBook” database and “Taiwan Memory Database”
  • The oldest texts in the NCL and NCKU digitization collaboration project are Taiwan Historical Materials (《臺灣史料》) as well as Chronicles of Taiwan (《臺灣志》) written by Japanese anthropologist Inō Kanori
    The oldest texts in the NCL and NCKU digitization collaboration project are Taiwan Historical Materials (《臺灣史料》) as well as Chronicles of Taiwan (《臺灣志》) written by Japanese anthropologist Inō Kanori
  • Pictured are old texts that are part of the NCL and NCKU digitization collaboration
    Pictured are old texts that are part of the NCL and NCKU digitization collaboration
  • Signing Ceremony for the NCL and NCKU Old Text and Archives Digitization Collaboration
    Signing Ceremony for the NCL and NCKU Old Text and Archives Digitization Collaboration