18-22 JANUARY 2005





21.1.2005 (1600 Hrs)









Chief Secretary

Education and Cultural Committee

Legislative Yuan &

Vice-President of APLAP




The Goals And System Complex In The New Century

In the 21st century, there are three basic tasks a Parliamentary Library needs to take for the parliamentarians, including the member and the law-making researcher in the party office or in the Legislature. These tasks should serve the public as well: (i) to provide the democracy memory of the country; (ii) to serve as to conduct the freedom of information and access to the legislation; and (iii) to offer the knowledge management (KM) for the Legislature and the Member’s Offices.

The goal of these tasks will not be achieved, and we even cannot get any proper results for its service purpose if we ignore the current IT/ICT applications and the Parliamentary Library service system. The service-oriented applications should be within an IT/ICT complex.

In general, an efficient IT/ICT technology system complex which when applied in a government organ like the legislative branch, which consists of at least four components, should require enough capacity of hardware, dynamic software, multi-communication/channel netware, and the most important, machine readable dataware. All the above mentioned IT/ICT wares have to integrate into a web-based platform and upgrade to a level of KM system. Thus, the IT/ICT system complex can provide a variety of information/knowledge services to match the functional goals. Data/Datahousing/Dataware is the key element of any successful information system whatever for a traditional library, a hybrid library , or a digital library at large. Data is the basic processing element for any information. Information is the basic connecting element for any knowledge. Data, information, knowledge can form a chain, a cycle; they also can appear in the different forms from the cycle, chain. The relationship of data, information and knowledge is just as like the relationship of water, ice/snow, and steam. However, they all are the resources of wisdom and the vital energy of human activity.

Web library as the knowledge base

During the past three decades, telecommunication technology has been progressing speedily. Vast application development in human society and the media message process which includes data, voice, image and graphics are all in a revolution of digital status and digitalization. Therefore, data/datahousing/dataware that conveys the messages may be brought under proper IT/ICT applications to support directly as a real time solution in an on-line digital library. In other words, a knowledge-based service can be provided by an on-line digital library through the network system and website service. In our country, I got some initial experience about it and I named this kind of library management and services as the "Weblibrary", a concept which I presented as a paper at the 67th IFLA open meeting in Boston, USA in the year 2001.

Today, we trust that data, information and knowledge are highly sophisticated components of digitalized library for its content management. Content management is a process of problem solving for the knowledge providing service to the knowledge consumer in an enterprise, government agency or institute. Librarians have a lot of content management experience from both digital and non-digital library management. For instance, before library automation, librarians used manual catalogue system, bibliographies, and periodical index to provide proper knowledge contents from a book or a couple of books/materials. And in this computerized age, MARC, machine readable catalogue format, helps librarians in managing bibliographies and index for the knowledge media control, whatever it is – a monograph, an article from a periodical, a music record, or AV materials.

MARC breaks a new frontier of the bibliographical management system indeed. It also brings a powerful tool for tracing knowledge content and context. Consequently, a new series of information services such as ISAR (Information Storage and Retrieval), SDI (Selective Dissemination of Information), citation indexes and so on has been created for the library’s client.

Since the 1980s, the industry of database is in a mature stage as all kinds of database are being produced. It consists of numerous database, bibliographical database, text database, document database, image database, etc. So the digital databases are gradually becoming the major media of knowledge collection. Database collections which are connected on the website, partially substitute for the book collection in recent years. And this approach will be more and more advanced in the coming years, and the web-based library will become a new pattern of librarianship. It now serves as the knowledge base for the economy, society and knowledge in this new century.

Content service is the King

Although a library has to play the important role of knowledge media storage at anytime and anywhere, on the other hand, how the mining and finding out of useful and meaningful information/knowledge from this kind of storage whatever it is – traditional collections or modern collections – in digitized form on the web is still a challenge to all librarians and knowledge managers. For the readers the knowledge consumers, content service is a practical reality indeed.

Today, content management must depend on the metadata. Metadata is literally data on data. A librarian not only can design the metadata for the different knowledge domain or different knowledge media if it is necessary, but also knows how to implement it into an information system for the clients. Therefore, library and information professionals may all agree with that famous and foremost sentence in the circle of computer people that the content is the king of any information system. This key concept was approved in the last decade of the last century because we are also a pillar of human resources in the information system for Parliament service.

For librarianship development, Internet/Intranet system assists us to organize a service net that can offer proper information and knowledge at the right time for the right people with the required effect. By the way, content resources can concentrate on a website that serves as the knowledge base for the library knowledge service.

IT/ICT application’s experiences in our country

The Parliamentary Library of the Legislative Yuan started its first computer application project in 1984. The purpose of this pilot project was to develop a series of Chinese Database Information Systems and to provide them for public access. In 1992, the first project completed almost all of its computerization planning that includes seven database information systems of legislation such as the Chinese Code database, the Code Amendments Full Text database, the Legislative Literature database, the Interpellation database and so on. And the system could be accessed via the telecommunication equipment either inside or outside of the Parliament.

In 1998, the organization started the second stage of its IT application project with construction/implementation of the web-based digital library and offered personalized services via Internet. The website library contents can be divided into five domains or zones, each with its own type of service suited to the different character of the information it supplies. These distinct domains of service and content were named browsing zone, searching zone, disseminating zone, reference zone, and leisure zone.

And in 2001, the organization entered into large scale development of a knowledge management system as the third stage in the ICT application for enhancing the legislative services to the Member’s Offices and the public as well. The e-content news knowledge management system is the initial part of the results of the third stage.

The experience reminds us all that we have to understand and catch up the dynamics of IT/ICT application and development domestically and globally.