Special Issue on Digital Libraries in China
The current issue is devoted to the topic of digital library efforts in China. With the help of Sam Sun, long-time CNRI employee and Beijing native, we have gathered a group of authors who speak authoritatively on current projects in China. Four of those articles, primarily describing current and past projects from a non-technical perspective, appear in this issue while some of the more technical articles will appear in issues later this year.
Many D-Lib readers will be unaware of the activities in China, which are extensive and growing. If you read only one article in this issue, it should be the Overview article by Xihui Zhen, which I think most readers will find of great interest. Just as China is assuming a larger and more important role on the world stage, so too it seems to me will they assume a larger and more important role in the digital library world as time goes on. The size of the various projects, the number of universities and research groups in China addressing the issues, and the vast sweep of Chinese history and culture that remains to be digitized and integrated into the world of digital libraries would seem to guarantee that.
Significant language, culture, and political gaps between China and the more established digital library players in Western countries remain, of course, and will present challenges on all sides for years to come. The language gap will even be evident in the current issue of D-Lib, as all of the articles started out in Chinese or in English written by native Chinese speakers. But as the connections between China and the other countries of the world deepen, these gaps will narrow and, in our small slice of the world's intellectual activity, D-Lib will do its best to help that process.
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