Foreword-Testimony and Legacy of a New Civilization
The history of humanity and the chronology of civilization inexorably move forward, with things and events from each period of time worth recording and preserving to serve as a testimony to the existence of civilization and as a document of history. The National Palace Museum has long been famous throughout the world as a great repository of the essence of Chinese art and culture. It is hoped that modern digital technology can bring both visual and textual information on these treasures to the rest of the world. By establishing a complete format of digitization, combined with effective computerized management, it is also the hope that this information on the artworks can be preserved and used for posterity.
Treasure House of Chinese Civilization
In 1925, the Palace Museum was formally established on the original grounds of the Ch’ing dynasty court, testifying to the advent of a new age for the people and giving a new mission to the legacy of that treasure house of Chinese history and civilization. Following a period of turmoil and war, an enormous quantity of precious cultural artifacts were moved several times for their safety. In 1965, the Museum was restored as the National Palace Museum in the picturesque location of Wai-shuang-hsi in Taipei City. Cultural objects spanning thousands of years finally had an ideal place as their home once again. With opened to the public, all people were also able to share in viewing and appreciating the incomparable treasures of Chinese history and civilization with their own eyes.
Digital Archives-The Meeting of Art and Technology
Over the past few decades, digital technology has grown by leaps and bounds, bringing new challenges to the field of traditional museums. How to use this influential aspect in people’s lives and important tool in knowledge systems to create cultural knowledge for museums of the future has been a topic heatedly discussed in the past few years. The digitization of collection objects is a cornerstone task in this trend. In 2001, the National Palace Museum began a five-year digital archives project. In the following year, the Museum became a major part of the “National Archives Digitization Project”, and began operations.
Sharing a Treasure Trove of Art
The Museum’s project is mainly divided between the three collection departments, including Antiquities, Painting and Calligraphy, and Books and Documents. Information in other departments, such as Publications, Registration, and Conservation, such as negatives, X-rays, and records, are also being digitized. The Information Management Center is responsible for overall management as well as technical and system support. In addition, in the early phase of the project, the Computer Center and Institute of Information Science at Academia Sinica as well as the Digital Archives National Project Metadata Team provided assistance.
Cutting-edge Technology and Work Teams
The project continues to proceed and is scheduled to be finished in 2008, completing the digitization for most of the objects in the Museum collection. The Internet can provide this information to users around the world for searching and ultimately reach the goal of spreading, promoting, and commercially applying knowledge and information on museum objects.