Digital libraries in China

Today I went to a talk about digital libraries in China. The visiting scholar was from the National Science Library, which serves the China Academy of Sciences. He focused mostly on how they’re building infrastructure for e-science, including an institutional repository grid, subject-specialized information portals, and an open architecture digital library.

Two interesting points were brought up during the discussion period: one librarian mentioned that it’s difficult to integrate non-Western language resources into federated search tools designed primarily for Western languages. I had never considered this; it seems like a pretty significant issue, though. Someone else asked a question about the differences between digital library development and organizational structure in China vs. the US. There was some discussion of how the national institutes in the US are located in just one place, not distributed with multiple locations across the country. The system in China (multiple institutes all part of one system) seems to make standardization (and thus, data integration) somewhat easier than it is in the US, where so many people are working on similar things in their own way, at unrelated institutions across the country.

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