Major projects and activities
INTERNET AND PUBLISHING
China-Australia Electronic Information Centre (CAEIC)
The official opening of the China-Australia Electronic Information Centre (CAEIC) at the National Library of China (NLC) marked a significant milestone in the ability to access from China sources of information on Australia via the Internet. The CAEIC was opened in Beijing on 28 October 1998 by NLC Deputy-Director Sun Chengjian and Council Chair Mr Stuart Simson. A number of NLC officials, council members and members of the public were present and the event was covered by local media.
The Council has supported the upgrade of the CAEIC since 1995 with significant developments taking place during the reporting period. In mid-1998 the site was completely upgraded and redesigned as a 'Gateway into Australia' incorporating a large number of the new sources of information on Australia. The Council funded provision of equipment, including a server and router, specialised training for NLC personnel, and training manuals and text-books relevant to the training of NLC staff in systems and data administration. By June 1999 the Centre consisted of a reading room at the NLC open to researchers, students and the general public, and equipped with over ten computer terminals, servers and a CD-ROM collection. The Centre was by then also supported by dedicated NLC staff who had undergone specialised training provided by the Council's consultants.
By mid-1999 the CAEIC comprised an upgraded web site for access through the Internet to Australian Studies databases in China and Australia. It has enabled Australian Studies researchers in Australia, China and other countries to link up with each other, and provided them with access to key documentation and up-to-date research in their areas of specialisation. It also established links between Australian Studies researchers and the wider Chinese academic community and public. Site content has been upgraded regularly and covers up-to-date information on a wide range of general and subject resources, including economics and business, education, history, geography, culture, government, and science and technology.
The CAEIC project has been managed by ASIA In Australia Pty Ltd on behalf of the Council. The site is located at http://caeic.nlc.gov.cn
CAEIC was officially opened by Mr Stuart Simson, ACC Chair, and Mr Sun Chengjian, NLC Deputy-Director, on 28 October 1998.
Australian Studies Internet network
During the reporting period the Council approved the next stage of the project that would enable access to CD-ROMs by researchers at the NLC and across the Internet to Australian Studies centres. This was considered a critical next step, particularly as more CD-ROMs of Australian information sources and full content data had become available. The Council developed plans for a network of Australian Studies centres that would be able to access CD-ROM materials loaded at the NLC through licensed subscriptions to Australian information sources in CD-ROM format. A selection of CD-ROMs was purchased following consultation with the Education Committee and the Australian Studies Associations of China and Australia. The selection included bibliographic databases on subjects such as social science, law, literature and business, as well as full content CD-ROMs on APEC, natural resources and criminal justice.
Eight of the most active Australian Studies centres were identified for inclusion in the network to access the CD-ROM information loaded at the NLC. These centres were selected from the wider number of centres being supported by the Council following assessment of their recent activities and output. They are: Beijing Foreign Studies University; Peking University; Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; Nankai University; East China Normal University; Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences; Suzhou University; and Xiamen University.
Preliminary work for upload of the CD-ROM material and enablement of access by these centres was undertaken during the reporting period. Arrangements have also been made for a visit to China to upload the CD-ROM material at the NLC and undertake the necessary technical and other processes to enable access to the material by the selected Australian Studies centres. During the visit the Council's consultants, ASIA In Australia Pty Ltd, will also provide training at the NLC and at each of the centres on the CAEIC site and CD-ROM content as well as searching techniques.
Australian Technology Information Network in Taiwan
The Council contributed funding of $20 000 to support the development of the Australian Technology Information Network (ATIN) as an extension of Australian Technology Week in Taipei (Oz-Tech 99) held in April 1999. Oz-Tech 99 was a major integrated science and technology promotional event, which featured over 50 exhibits showcasing some of Australia's best scientific achievements and technological capabilities. The event brought together more than thirty leading Australian scientists to explore collaborative efforts with Taiwan and included a visit by Australian Nobel Prize winner Professor Peter Doherty.
The aims of the event included promotion of Australia as a technologically advanced country to stimulate interest in Australia as a market, investment opportunity and education provider in science and technology. The event attracted over 3500 visitors.
The Australian Technology Information Network associated with Oz-Tech 99, now a permanent bilingual web site, is a resource to further develop the bilateral science and technology relationship and a means to promote commercial and research collaboration. In its early stages the web site was used to promote Oz-Tech 99 and present information on Australian science and technology involved in the event. The web site featured a Chinese-language version of the '100 Stories' element of a key Oz-Tech 99 exhibit, the Questacon/IDP Innovative Australians. Work is under way to further develop the ATIN web site as a 'one-stop shop' with specific information on business, investment, study and research collaboration opportunities with Australia. Oz-Tech 99 and ATIN were initiatives of the Australian Commerce and Industry Office in Taipei.
Textbook project: People's Education Press
In mid-1998 the Council initiated a major collaborative project with the People's Education Press (PEP) to develop and publish a series of reading materials on Australia for Chinese senior high schools. The series will consist of six separate English-language readers; the text of each reader will cover topics such as Australian history, geography, culture and society. The purpose of the series is to increase the English-language reading ability of Chinese students and at the same time enhance their knowledge about Australian culture and society. The project responds to concern expressed by the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee (in its June 1996 report Australia China Relations) regarding outdated information about Australia contained in textbooks used in Chinese schools and tertiary education institutions.
A selection process was announced in September 1998 to select an author for the new readers. The successful tenderer, Wilson Sarre and Associates, commenced work on the text following a visit to the People's Education Press in Beijing and discussions with English language teachers there in March 1999. Topics covered by material already provided to PEP include Australian health, science and manufacturing. Topics to be completed next year include Australian sports, employment, arts and travel. It is envisaged that the writing of the materials will take place over twelve months. PEP will be responsible for publication and distribution of the books within the Chinese education system. The Council agreed to fund the project to a total of $46 000 over two financial years, $23 000 of which was paid during the reporting period.
Publication support grants
During the period 1998-99 the Council received a number of requests for funding to support the publication in Chinese of translations of Australian works and the publication of works written in China about Australia. Applications were assessed and grants awarded to the following applicants to assist with the production of publications relating to Australia:
These publication grants are payable when agreements with publishers have been finalised.
The China Journal
The Council continued its support for the biannual publication of The China Journal by the Contemporary China Centre at the Australian National University. The two journals published during the reporting period canvassed issues as diverse as Chinese and Vietnamese youth in the 1990s and China's economic reform.
Review of publication and translation support
In early 1999 the Council undertook a review of its programs for support in the areas of publishing and translation. At the 71st Council meeting in February 1999 the Council agreed that all applications for funding related to publication and translation would be directed to the Culture Committee in the first instance for allocation to the relevant committee for consideration in line with other requests for funding. The Council considered that this would enable maximum flexibility under each broad area, given the scope of priorities and funding limitations. The Council also agreed that, while there would be no specific notional allocation for publishing and translation projects, support in these areas would be determined by each committee in view of other objectives over a period of time.
Second Biennial Translation Prize
The Council announced the recipient of its Second Biennial Translation Prize for the best published translation into Chinese of an Australian work at the Sixth International Conference on Australian Studies in China in October 1998. The prize of $5000 was awarded to Professor Wang Guofu, Director of the Australian Studies centre at Suzhou University, for his work as translator and editor-in-chief of the Macquarie English-Chinese Bilingual Dictionary. As winner of the prize Professor Wang will visit Australia for six weeks following the Chinese release of the dictionary. He will visit a number of Australian academic institutions and centres of Australian literature during his visit.
Translation into Chinese of the Macquarie Concise Dictionary
The translation into Chinese of the Macquarie Concise Dictionary by a team of more than 30 translators at Suzhou University was headed by Professor Wang Guofu, who received the Council's Biennial Translation Prize as detailed above. The dictionary, which took six years to complete, includes Australian colloquialisms, names of plants, animals and minerals and words from Australia's history, politics and culture. The Council earlier provided a large grant to the Australian Studies centre at Suzhou University to support the dictionary's preparation. The bilingual dictionary is a high standard English-Chinese dictionary that contains references to Australian words and usages not available in other English-Chinese dictionaries. The Macquarie English-Chinese Bilingual Dictionary was published by Suzhou University Press in April 1999 and will be released by Foreign Minister Downer in Beijing in July 1999 and in Shanghai by Education Minister Dr Kemp later that month.
Professor Wang Guofu and two of the team who worked on the dictionary translation outside the Australian Studies centre at Suzhou University.