ERCIM News No.27 - October 1996

The Digital Library in China

by George Wang

The IBM China Research Laboratory (CRL), working jointly with its world-wide sister IBM Research labs, has brought IBM's Digital Library technology to China. Since September 1995, CRL has been conducting pilot programmes with three major customers in China - Tsinghua University Central Library, the National Petroleum Corporation of China, and Fudan University. Major IBM technologies deployed in these pilots include RS/6K WWW servers, InfoSearch, ATM switch, DB2/6K, CD/ROM library and VisualAge, etc. Initial versions of these solutions have been operational since 1996.

The Tsinghua University Central Library

Tsinghua University is one of the best universities in China. CRL has worked jointly with Tsinghua University Central Library to design and develop a Digital Library service since September 1995. The system was demonstrated on the 85th anniversary of the University in April 1996. The Tsinghua University Digital Library is the first Internet based full function Digital Library system in China. It integrates traditional library management systems, legacy online information services (based on DOS, NetWare), newly developed online services and presents them in a single Web page. The first online Chinese full-text search public service is also demonstrated on the Dissertation Retrieval Information System - a new application of this Digital Library system This Chinese full-text search capability is provided by InfoSearch, a new IBM product that supports the Double Byte Character Set. The resultant Chinese full-text search function has high performance, and supports powerful search functions such as fuzzy search, wildcard, location limitation and ranking.

This integrated Web based solution uses IBM hardware and software such as RS/6K and DB2/6K. IBM's ATM technology is an integral and significant part of this system. This is the first demonstration of a major application on CERNET (the Campus Education and Research Network), a Chinese national effort to link hundreds of top universities in China by the Chinese information superhighway.

The National Petroleum Corporation of China

The Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has chosen CRL as its partner to design and develop a Digital Library system to support oil exploration and production management data, currently on paper. The amount of data is huge, some 640 MB per well and 400,000 wells in total. This calls for a very high capacity and performance data management system. CRL has provided the architecture and system design for a CD/ROM based Digital Library system that meets the requirements of CNPC. This system uses DB2/6K, RS/6K server and adapts VisualAge as the major development environment. With VisualAge, CNPC was able to complete the development of the initial release in three months - a remarkable productivity for such a complex system. We have invented a special header format for CDs with indexing information encoded so that CD archives can be imported to databases automatically. This technique is incorporated in the CNPC Digital Library System. The initial version of this CNPC Digital Library has been operational since April 1996.

Fudan University

The Digital Library of the Chinese National Historical Maps (DL/CNHM) is a joint research project between CRL and Fudan University. The objective of this project is to apply IBM's advanced Digital Library technology to explore flexible and powerful mechanisms to capture, represent and present the vast volume of Chinese heritage both spatially and over time. The contents - Chinese national treasure - come from years of research by Fudan University sponsored by the Chinese national government. Our research focus includes Chinese content, Chinese language support and use of Object Oriented technology. We have completed our initial multimedia DL/CNHM demo which presents the national and regional geographical and historical information of the Qing and Ming Dynasty with graphical maps, explanatory text and narration.

Chinese Historical Maps: the Ming Dynasty.

Future Research

Our future research focus in the Digital Library area will include hierarchical storage management and DVD storage subsys-tems, text mining and data management.

Please contact:
George Wang - IBM China Research Laboratory Beijing
Tel.: +86 10 6298 2449

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