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Cooperative Memorandum Strengthens Chinese Studies Links between Key Libraries in Australia and in Taiwan

Members of the Conference of Directors of National Libraries in Asia and Oceania meet every year to discuss issues of common interest and promote the sharing of information and resources within the Asia Pacific region. Its 22nd meeting was held on February 26 – 27 at the National Library of Australia in Canberra with the theme 'National Libraries in the Digital Domain'. The 28 representatives from 20 countries who gathered in Canberra included Dr Tseng Shu-hsien, Director-General of Taiwan's National Central Library.

Following this event, Dr Tseng and Ms. Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, Director-General of the National Library of Australia (NLA) signed a Cooperative Memorandum on the Union Catalog of Chinese Rare Books on February 28, in the NLA’s Asian Collections reading room, witnessed by Mr Yuri Yao-Tsung Chih, Executive Director of Education Division of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Australia. The signing of this cooperative memorandum brings the number of institutes participating in the joint catalog project up to 47 worldwide.

This international project is improving the cataloging and access of Chinese Rare Books. The Union Catalog of the Rare Book Collection at Taiwan's National Central Library is an exceptional source of material on Taiwan’s heritage, and the National Library of Australia has an important collection of Chinese and Chinese Studies related materials. Cooperation between these two libraries will contribute strongly to further high quality research in the field of Chinese Studies, and the related field of Taiwan Studies. Furthermore, it will help to make many more people aware of the enormously valuable professional study and research environment that Taiwan offers.

Professor Geremie Barmé, Director of the Australian Centre on China in the World (CIW) at the Australian National University welcomed a proposal by Dr Tseng to explore future cooperation to introduce Taiwan Studies resources to academic institutions in Australia and to the wider Australian community.