Pilot Web-based Portal

One goal of the U.S.-China Librarian Collaboration Project is to establish a pilot Web-based portal at 2 sites, to be selected for Chinese-language information resources and services in order to facilitate access by non-Chinese-language speakers and enhance sharing resources and expertise related to China and Chinese information resources. The two sites selected for the pilot web portal are Suzhou Library and Northeast Normal University (NENU) Library in Changchun, Jilin.

Northeast Normal University Library:

The information share platform of Northeast Normal University (NENU) is named "Chinese Information Share Platform", which contains 7 individual databases.

All of the collections are about the academic resources of the university and historical resources of China in Manchu period. They include various types of academic resources: text documents, images, webpages, and a few audio/visual documents. Each database has a straightforward index of the collections and basic search function. The information share platform of NENU provides complete collections about academic research in NENU and rich resources about China, especially about the history during World War II. We chose "E-Photo Gallery of Northeast China" as the experimental collection.

E-Photo Gallery of Northeast China with Chinese metatdata

E-Photo Gallery of Northeast China with English metatdata

Suzhou Library:

The online Chinese information sharing system of Suzhou Public Library is named "Culture Suzhou", which includes 11 collections.

This Chinese information sharing platform provides comprehensive and profound resources on the culture and history of Suzhou City. Culture Suzhou already implements an English gateway of its cultural resources, so that non-Chinese speakers can also make use of these Chinese resources. Moreover, this sharing platform enables a bilingual search functionality. Users can search in this portal in both Chinese and English. We chose the "Old Suzhou City" collection as the experimental collection. The “Old Suzhou City” collection provides images of Old Suzhou City, its classical gardens, bridges, city walls, city gates, wells, and other images representing the culture and history of Suzhou.

Chinese version of "Old Suzhou City"

English version of "Old Suzhou City"


In order to achieve the goals of building a pilot web-based portal, there are two things we need to do:

  1. To translate the Chinese resources from the two experimental sites, Culture Suzhou and Northeast Normal University, into English so that non-Chinese-language speakers can make use of our project;

    • Considering the large amount of resources from our two partners, we decided to start with the collection of “E-Photo Gallery of northeast China” From NENU Library Collection and “Old Suzhou City” from Culture Suzhou;

    • E-photo Gallery of NENU Library contains 7144 photo images and metadata records (the size keeps growing). We have finished the translation of first 200 metadata records. There was no English version of this collection before, so based on our translation work, a digital collection of the photos with metadata in English was recently built and is under testing. We are still working on the translation of this collection.

    • "Old Suzhou City” of Culture Suzhou contains 441 images and metadata records with incomplete English translation. We have finished the proofreading and translation of the whole collection. Suzhou Library has already integrated our translation into their platform. We are now working on the translation of another collection of Culture Suzhou--"Culture in Wu".

  2. To build a local web portal of Chinese information sharing platform to provide a gateway to the resources we have translated and enable Chinese/English bilingual search functionality by hosting the metadata in our local server.

    • We are designing an interface for our local web portal;

    • We are also testing one open source software as the platform to harvest, index and display the metadata sent from partner libraries.

Current Progress:

We are using eXtensible Text Framework (XTF) to build our web portal. It's an open source platform for providing access to digital content, which is developed and maintained by the California Digital Library (CDL). It consists of Java and XSLT 2.0 code that indexes, queries, and displays digital objects. Currently we've made our web portal available online, including 780 records from E-photo Gallery of Northeast China collection and Old Suzhou City collection. The temporary url for our web portal is Chinese Information Resources Platform.

Our web portal enables keyword search, advanced search, freedom search and browsing by facets, author and title. Moreover, users can not only search in English but also in Chinese characters. All Chinese metadata records have been translated into English so that non-Chinese-language speakers can take advantage of the Chinese information resources in our web portal.

Homepage of our web portal-- Chinese Information Resources Platform

Page for records from Old Suzhou City collection of Cultural Suzhoudeveloped by Suzhou Library

Page for records from E-Photo Gallery of Northeast China collection of Northeast Normal University Library

Search in both Chinese and English

Images of IT trips:

In order to build our connection with partner libraries and exchange technical issues, we have made several trips to China, including Beijing, Yitong, Changchun, Suzhou, especially visiting the two partner libraries, NENU Library and Suzhou Library, in the latter two cities. The following are the images of these trips:

Beijing Yitong NENU Suzhou


For anyone who are interested in or have questions or need more information about our pilot Chinese information sharing platform project, please contact Dr. Shuyong Jiang at shyjiang@illinois.edu

The Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ) page may also be of help to you.

Copyright @ 2008