National Digital Library
Laying the Foundation for a National Digital Library
The National Central Library (NCL) began developing information services in April 1980. In cooperation with the Library Association of the Republic of China (
In September 1987, the library drafted a “NCL’s Information Network Plan” and submitted it for approval by the Executive Yuan. The NCL subsequently established a LAN and a new integrated automation system, as well as developed a national information network. In October 1994, NCL's national information network was officially launched with bibliographic records for 1.7 million Chinese publications. This resource can be accessed directly at the library, by phone, or through an online connection.
In February 1994, the Executive Yuan launched the National Information Infrastructure (NII) plan. The NCL was designated as the lead organization for development of the Remote Electronic Access/Delivery of Documents of the National Central Library (READncl). In June 1996, the NCL completed the READncl system, enabling integrated search and delivery of three major types of documents—periodicals, government publications, and specialized (literary and historical) resources—across nine major systems. The system provides readers with online access to various types of ROC publications, documents and research resources, as well as full-text service. In April 1998, the NCL launched a new online cooperative cataloguing system called the National Bibliographic Information Network (NBINet) to establish a national bibliography and promote cooperative cataloging and resource sharing.
At the direction of the Ministry of Education, the NCL drafted a Three-year (2001-2004) Library Development Plan in July 2001 and presented it to the Executive Yuan for approval. The project involved the ongoing development of existing library information systems as well as the establishment of several new systems, including Taiwan Memory, Taiwan Info, and the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation System, as well as the Taiwan Research Portal. These new systems expanded the NCL's online resources beyond books and documents to include image and digital audio-visual resources.
In 2002, the Cabinet-level National Science Council approved the five-year (2002-2006) National Digital Archives Program. Under this program, the NCL was in charge of four sub-projects on the Digitization of the NCL Rare Books Collection, Digitization of Taiwan Local Documents Collection, Digitization of the NCL Periodical and Newspaper Collections and Establishment of Hardware and Software for the NCL Digital Collection Information System.
In November 2004, the NCL and Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU) signed a cooperation agreement, under which the NCL was permitted to digitalize the Taiwan genealogical microfiche records in the GSU collection. In March 2005, the NCL and US Library of Congress signed a Digitization of Chinese Rare Books Plan. In March 2004, the NCL and Tainan Municipal Library signed an agreement on a Taiwan Books from the Japanese Occupation Period Cooperation Plan. Furthermore, the library and Council for Hakka Affairs teamed up to draft a Taiwan Hakka Information Net plan with the aim of establishing a Taiwan Hakka E-Library Portal.
Although the NCL has been developing information systems since 1982, this work has greatly accelerated over the past decade or so. The library currently has databases or information systems that provide public access to ROC publication resources. These online systems have steadily grown in popularity over the years. Public use of the systems averaged two persons per second accessed in 2005, 3.9 persons per second in 2006, and 5.2 persons per second in 2007. The exponential growth of digital information services at the NCL represents a high return on investment and is worthy of continued public support.
At present, the NCL is planning to migrate its information systems and platforms to an open service-oriented architecture (SOA) and provide WEB2.0 personalized and interactive service functions. It will also continue to develop as a "National Digital Library Integrated Service" portal for the academic sector, government agencies, and general readers, providing a treasure chest of information for the national knowledge bank.