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The development of the national integrated online information network in the Republic of China is described. First a brief history of library and information automation in Taiwan and the coordination efforts of the central government toward the establishment of such a network is presented. A more detailed description of the creation of the Chinese MARC format/database and the process of automation under the leadership of National Central Library (NCL) follows. The establishment of NBINet, TANet and their electronic linkage is discussed, along with the present status of STICNET. The nationwide efforts at all levels to link the major networks, including those of public libraries, are also reported. It is expected that an all-encompassing, integrated national information network will be realized in the 1 990s. Thus a full-scale information exchange and resource-sharing network among all libraries in Taiwan and abroad will soon be a reality.
Taiwan was under Japanese occupation for fifty years until 1945. At the time it was returned to the Republic of China (ROC), there were only about 100 libraries. Between 1945 and 1951, the government launched a system to restore the war-stricken libraries. Since then, library services in Taiwan have improved rapidly. According to a December 1989 survey, the number of libraries had increased to 3,579. They include the National Central Library (NCL) and its provincial branch library, 475 public libraries, 118 academic libraries, 2,485 school libraries, and 499 special libraries and information centers. Statistics show that about 90 percent of the libraries belong to the educational system and are under the direct or indirect supervision of the Ministry of Education (MOE) at the national level or of various levels of government educational agencies. The NCL had been under the jurisdiction of the MOE until the beginning of this decade, when it was placed directly under the Executive Yuan, the central government of ROC. (See appendix A for a selective list of acronyms used in this article.)
* Three Stages of Automation Development
Early Isolated Activities
Computer utilization in Taiwan began in 1960. For the first ten years, it was limited to processing administrative information and office management in government units, or to supporting instruction and research in the academic field. Library and information services did not take advantage of computers until the early 1970s. Between 1970 and 1980, the development of library services abroad, especially the success of the Machine-Readable Cataloging (MARC) tapes of the Library of Congress (LC) and the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) bibliographic database, had a great effect in Taiwan. Meanwhile, computer technology in Taiwan had also advanced significantly. This favorable environment encouraged Chinese library professionals to experiment with single-function systems to process Western-language materials.
The first attempt was carried out in 1972 at National Tsing Hua University, when the physics library experimented in processing its catalog on an IBM 1130. The design was rather primitive. What was considered to be the first major computerized library project was the compilation of the third edition of the Union List of Scientific Serials in Libraries of the Republic of China in 1974  Created by the Science and Technology Information Center (STIC) of National Science Council (NSC), the List included holdings for more than 6,000 Western-language scientific and technological journals in university and college libraries in Taiwan. In the same year, Chungshan Institute of Science (CIS) imported LC MARC tapes, which were used for Western-language cataloging through online searching. CIS also created a bibliographic database on its CYBER 815 using LC MARC data. Printed catalog cards, accession lists, and new book announcements for Western-language books and technical reports were also produced from the application software CIS designed. In 1978 the institute began to develop its Chungshan Library Information System (CLIS). The integrated system included subsystems of acquisitions, circulation, cataloging, serials control, information retrieval, and selective dissemination of information (SDI). Meanwhile, Tamkang University carried out experiments in 1976 on compiling and printing its library holdings in Western languages on an IBM 370-138.
With improved Chinese-character processing capability in the late 1970s, libraries began to investigate the feasibility of computerizing data for Chinese-language materials. The first such experiment was conducted at National Taiwan Normal University with the assistance of a computer company. It was carried out on a Perkin Elmer 8-32 machine, using the TOTAL database management system and a turnkey retrieval method. In 1978 the Chinese Educational Resources Information System (CERIS) was developed. It contained abstracts from 1,115 Chinese educational journals and was able to print both English and Chinese characters. CERIS, a counterpart of ERIC, was the first database in Chinese created in Taiwan.
In Taiwan's history of library and information automation development, 1979 was the most important year. Many breakthroughs were achieved in various aspects of information automation; systems of significance developed then continue to offer valuable services even today. The following are a few of the events.
1. The NCL, with the assistance of Wang Laboratory, created an online catalog for the Union List of Chinese Serials and offered a printed edition. This database consisted of 6,543 serials holdings from 135 public and private libraries in Taiwan. In the following year, a database for the Index to Chinese Periodical Literature was built in collaboration with the Comptroller General's Office of the Executive Yuan.
2. The design of the Agricultural Science and Technology Information Management System (ASTIMS) was completed by the Agricultural Science Information Center (ASIC). Developed on a Perkin-Elmer 3220, ASTIMS has been offering access to such foreign databases as DIALOG, BRS, and ORBIT since October 1982 and has been used to process all agricultural literature in both Chinese and Western languages. This system was a milestone in the development of library and information automation in Taiwan. ASTIMS was further developed in 1989 to become a library automation system encompassing acquisitions, cataloging, name authority, and serials control subsystems. It is linked with the Agricultural Development Commission, Asian Pacific Center for Food and Fertilizers, Institute for Food, and others.
3. National Chengchi University drafted a plan for an integrated automation system for its library. The circulation module became operational in September 1984. In the following years, many factors, such as the limited capacity of software and hardware, prevented the plan from being carried out. In 1989 a new plan was drawn, and it was decided that the INNOPAC system should be adopted for the university library's integrated system, which went online in September 1993 
4. The Executive Yuan communicated with relevant agencies to study computer encoding of Chinese characters. Two major schemes were designed in the following two years. One of them led to the development of the Chinese Character Code for Information Interchange (CCCII).
5. The Science and Technology Development Program (STDP) was instituted by the Executive Yuan. This action emphasized the important role of library and information services in the development of science and technology. The program has also conducted Information Week as an annual event since 1980 to promote the importance of the information industry.
6. The Institute for Information Industry (III) was established. Its responsibility was to help develop and upgrade information industries in Taiwan. Its mission included the enhancement of computer hardware and software; micro- and minicomputers; computers with Chinese-character processing capabilities; and Chinese character sets for information exchange, database management systems, and computer personnel training. CCCII was one of the major accomplishments of III. The Institute for Information Industry also contributed directly to Taiwan's position today as a leading producer of personal computers and software.
In addition to the important events described above, access to foreign databases was made available in the same year by the International Telecommunication Administration (ITA) of the Ministry of Transportation. On December 28,1979, ITA announced the opening of the Universal Database Access Service (UDAS) to academic, research, commercial, and industrial organizations in Taiwan. UDAS is a service that offers online retrieval of international databases and transmission of information activities, facilitating online access to foreign databases via satellite. In six years, it attracted sixty-three subscribers, of which nineteen employed UDAS to provide SDI services. In 1984 UDAS began to offer its resources to the general …