Wed, Jan 19, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Online encyclopedia launched to further research on Taiwan

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

An online encyclopedia was launched yesterday with the goal of becoming the most comprehensive search engine for Taiwan-related research.

The Council of Cultural Affairs project is expected to be completed by 2008, a date set to coincide with the 2008 Taiwan Expo.

Dubbed "Taipedia," the Web site will include the categories of literature, history, society and science.

At a ceremony held yesterday to introduce the Web site, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said, "The launch of the Taipedia is a sign that we will soon embark on a new movement of knowledge that is open to public participation."

"The more a country's cultural industries are provided with local distinguishing features, the more national competitiveness is enhanced. But to express our cultural characteristics, we need to know ourselves first," he said.

"[The Taipedia Web site] will not only faithfully record Tai-wan's cultural evolution, but will also become the fastest and most comprehensive search engine for researching Taiwan," Chen added.

Unlike traditional encyclopedias, which are compiled without giving room to users to participate in the process, Chen said that the Taipedia "is designed to allow bottom-up participation so that all users can take part in the process and make a contribution."

Council of Cultural Affairs Chairman Chen Chi-nan (陳其南) said the Taipedia will allow users to register and contribute material which they believe should be included. Terms contributed will then be added to the database once they are checked for accuracy and approved by specialists.

Chen Shui-bian said he hoped the Taipedia would help capture the nation's social and cultural development and extend research on Taiwanese subjects by eventually becoming a leading "knowledge bank" of Taiwanese history and culture.

The online encyclopedia offered an opportunity for the general public to take part in discussing the nation's culture, he said.

The president said that by providing a platform for the public to exchange views and ideas, civic consciousness and national identification would flourish.

"By compiling the Taipedia, we aim to show the world Taiwan's strengths in culture and knowledge," he said.

The Taipedia will eventually launch an English-language version as well as a version suitable for children, the council said.

The Web site can be found at http://taipedia.cca.gov.tw.

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