Wed, Sep 08, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Archives eye temporary location in Shihlin District

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Cabinet is mulling turning the former Taipei American School into a temporary national archive before a permanent facility is complete by 2011, the Taipei Times learned yesterday.

"We're thinking of spending NT$100 million to refurbish the three-story, 1,500-ping building and rent it from the National Property Bureau for 10 years," said Lin Chiu-yen (林秋燕), chief secretary of the National Archives Administration under the Cabinet's Research, Development and Evaluation Commission.

The 1,000-ping Shihlin District lot on which the building stands is designated as a park, and must become one within 10 years.

Lin said that she hoped to see the plan finalized by the Cabinet by the end of the month, and to complete the renovation project by the end of next year.

About 130,000 to 150,000 document files are transferred from local governments to the National Archives Administration each year.

Lin said that the administration hopes to establish a National Archive in northern Taiwan by 2011.

"We hope to spend NT$5 billion building the facility, not including land acquisition expenses, by 2009 at the earliest and by 2011 at the latest," she said.

With the life expectancy of such a facility at roughly 20 years, Lin said that the administration hopes to build a second facility in central Taiwan by 2031, and a third in the southern part of the country by 2051.

The nation's official archives are currently kept in the 1,000-ping exhibition center and a 30-ping room located in the National Archives Administration building in downtown Taipei.

Established in 2001 and inaugurated in January 2002, the administration spent about NT$33 million renovating the 37-year-old, three-story building, which was formerly a military base.

The facility currently has about 73,000 paper files and more than 7,000 non-paper items in storage. It has digitized about 60,000 of the files, or more than 1 million pages.

Local governments have about 600 million to 700 million official documents. Lin said that about 20 million of them are more than 25 years old and are worthy of preservation at the National Archives Administration.

Lin said that the administration also hopes to complete the establishment of a virtual national archive by the end of this year, before the temporary facility is complete.

The Web site is slated to focus on four major national events: the 228 Incident, the Formosa Incident, the 921 Earthquake and the constitutional reforms conducted by the National Assembly before it became a body that only convenes for special purposes.

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