Sunday, July 01, 2007

National Palace Museum Digitizing Collection

From last month comes this story of the digitization of the National Palace Museum's immense collection of loot Chinese Art treasures, done on Linux.

The goal is to make the massive collection available on the Internet. Researchers will be able to find rare documents in an easy-to-use database, teachers will be able to download information and images they can use in course work, and visitors will enjoy vivid exhibitions, films, music, access to favorite works of art and virtual tours.

"The culture effect is more important than the technology. We're trying to give people a warm feeling about these artifacts. We want the human touch," said James Lin, director of the information management center at the National Palace Museum in Taipei.

The initiative is part of Taiwan's government-funded National Digital Archives program and it aims to do for the treasures of China what was first done in 1925 -- open them to the world. This time, however, it will display the museum's treasures on a far grander scale. When the last Emperor of China was deposed in 1925, part of his Forbidden City was turned into a museum so the public could view the treasures collected there. It was meant to signify the turn to a republican government, in which all took part and no single person held special privilege over the artifacts.

Enjoy! Politics, technology, something for everyone.


cynical prof said...

"Loot"? So the Communists are somehow the rightful owners, and if they had held on to it in '49 and then destroyed half of it during the Cultural Revolution, that would be OK?

Michael Turton said...

The loot belongs to China, not Taiwan. What they do with it is their business. Fortunately an accident of history preserved it from the ravages of the cultural revolution, although I've heard that lots of good stuff vanished into the "collection" of a certain powerful wife of a certain powerful President.