The NLC and other institutions jointly release digital resources of ancient books online

On 21 April, on the occasion of the 26th World Book and Copyright Day, the National Library of China (China National Center for Preservation & Conservation of Ancient Books), Tianjin Library, Nanjing Library, Anhui Provincial Library, Hubei Provincial Library, Sichuan Provincial Library, Yunnan Provincial Library, Tibet Autonomous Region Library, Hangzhou Library, and Tanghe County Library of Henan Province held a symposium on the release of digital resources of ancient books. Rao Quan, Director of the National Library of China (NLC) and Director of China National Center for Preservation & Conservation of Ancient Books, Zhu Bo, Deputy Director of Public Service Department, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, as well as related comrades from National Research Institute of Ancient Books in Languages of Ethnic Minorities, the State Ethnic Affairs Commission of the People's Republic of China, and the Science and Technology Department of National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, representatives of experts and scholars, representatives of joint publishing institutions and news media reporters, attended the symposium. Zhang Zhiqing, Deputy Director of the NLC and Deputy Director of China National Center for Preservation & Conservation of Ancient Books, presided over the symposium.

Rao Quan pointed out that The Fourteenth Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development and the Outline of 2035 Long-term Goals published this year clearly put forward the need to carry out the project of inheriting and developing excellent Chinese traditional culture, promote the creative transformation and innovative development of excellent Chinese traditional culture, and strengthen the preservation, research and utilization of cultural relics and ancient books. This fully reflected that the Party and the government attached great importance to the work of ancient books, put forward requirements and pointed out the direction for the ancient books preservation in the future.

Rao Quan stressed that this year was the first year of "The 14th Five-Year Plan". Standing on the new historical starting point, under the guidance of Xi Jinping thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, the collection and storage agencies of the ancient books represented by the NLC would firmly implement the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping's reply letter to the NLC's senior experts and the tasks of "The 14th Five-Year Plan", and stick to "Inheriting Civilization, Serve the Society". In accordance with the overall deployment and top-level design of the Propaganda Department of the CPC Central Committee, under the guidance of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, we would actively explore ways of cooperative development and sharing, further strengthen the release and disclosure of digital resources of ancient books, continuously improve the service quality and improve the service level through the construction of the National Smart Library System, and continue to dig deep into the profound connotation and era value of ancient books, improve the communication ability of excellent traditional cultural resources, and make new and greater contributions to ensuring the safety of national cultural resources, inheriting and carrying forward the excellent traditional Chinese culture.

More than 1,700 pieces of ancient books were newly released this time, and 74,000 pieces of ancient books were released totally in the nationwide, including rare books of Song and Yuan Dynasties, ancient books of Ming and Qing Dynasties, local chronicles, genealogies and other characteristic resources close to local social and cultural life. In particular, the new release of a number of Tibetan rare books and Chinese medicine ancient books resources, increased the language and resources types of ancient books, and provided more abundant literature materials for readers, experts and scholars to carry out utilization and research. At the same time, among the 10 institutions participating in the joint release, 6 were from the Yangtze River Basin, which was of great significance for promoting the preservation, research and utilization of ancient books and cultural heritage in the Yangtze River Basin.

At the symposium, leaders, experts and representatives of publishing institutions discussed the construction of digital resources and cooperative service mechanism of ancient books, the sharing methods of digital achievements of ancient books, and the standards and specifications of digital ancient books, which provided important guidance and valuable suggestions for the further development of ancient books digitalization.

As an important stage achievement of the "Chinese Ancient Books Preservation Plan", the "Chinese Ancient Books Resource Database" and the "National Ancient Books Survey and Registration Basic Database" had successively released 33,000 pieces of ancient book resources since they were officially launched in 2016, and more than two-thirds of rare ancient books could be read online. At the same time, the NLC had organized five joint publishing activities of digital resources of ancient books with 39 ancient book collection institutions.

While China National Center for Preservation & Conservation of Ancient Books organized the release of digital resources of ancient books, important progress had been made in the work of "surveying ancient books" across the country. Up to present, more than 2.7 million Chinese ancient books had been surveyed in China. The "National Ancient Books Survey and Registration Basic Database" had released 825,362 items of ancient books survey data of 7,973,050 volumes from 264 institutions. With the continuous progress of ancient books survey and registration, the ancient books survey and registration data would be released and updated successively. At the same time, "National Rare Ancient Book Directory Database" released 752 ancient books of the 6th National Rare Ancient Book Directory.

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