7 February 2014

Ngian Lek Choh delivers Trend Report presentation at China Library Society Conference 7-8 Nov 2013

In November 2013 IFLA Governing Board member Ngian Lek Choh delivered a presentation highlighting the IFLA Trend Report and its translation into mandarin at the China Library Society's Conference held in Pudong, Shanghai.

The English version of this speech has been extracted below, with a translation in Mandarin available here.

杨至今副部长, Vice Minister for Culture, 翁铁慧副市长, Vice-Mayor of the Pudong District Government, 周和平馆长, Director of the National Library of China, and all delegates

A very good morning to you!

On behalf of IFLA and President Sinikka Sipilä I would like to express our warmest greetings to all of you participating in the conference organised by the Ministry of Culture and the Library Society of China.   It is indeed an honour for me to represent IFLA to be here to congratulate you on this occasion.

The theme “Books Fragrance in China: Reading Leads to Future” with its emphasis on the importance of reading is timely and is still very relevant today.  This is in spite of the proliferation of the web and access to mobile devices that allow for access to information on the go, 24 by 7.  Today, reading and learning takes place in all formats and through many new channels that were never possible before.   

I would like to take the opportunity to share with you one of the recent initiatives within IFLA that is of significance to the theme of this conference.

The IFLA Trend Report [trends.ifla.org] launched at the 2013 World Library and Information Congress in Singapore in August looks at five high level trends emerging in the global information environment.

Amongst many other issues it discusses the importance of information literacy skills – not only digital tools but basic literacy – to online inclusion.   One of the observations is the trend that there could be greater reliance on machines to translate literary works, and that we will soon be able to read in our own language any book, article or online blog ever written, by anyone from any country.   

This is a boost to enhancing cross-cultural understanding, however, it brings new questions such as this : if we rely on machines to translate works into or from our own language, what will we be reading?  Would we understand the works without the benefit of the cultural context?  And if we can run any work through an automated translator, what impact could this have on publishing?  

Many of you probably have heard about Google glasses that allow the user to use it to get information on the go while wearing the glasses, and also to capture anything that the user experiences and to share these with their friends online, real-time.   When these glasses are easily accessible, what would the library’s policy be like in response to users wearing these to libraries?   These are but two examples of findings and suggestions for discussion from the Trend Report.

The IFLA Chinese Language Centre, hosted by the National Library of China, is in the process of translating into Chinese the Trend Report entitled Riding the Waves or caught in the tide? Insights from the IFLA Trend Report.  This will be made available to you once completed.

IFLA is also now working with the Chinese Language Centre to develop the IFLA Chinese Language website which we hope to launch in 2014.

The Library Society of China has been an active member of IFLA since 1981 and has made many contributions to international librarianship throughout that time.  We thank you for your strong support and we know for sure that you will continue to do so for years to come.

IFLA believes that library associations are at the heart of our profession. As President Sipilä said in her Presidential Theme – strong libraries equal strong societies.   Strong and sustainable library associations enrich society and the library and information profession.

IFLA is very grateful to the Ministry of Culture in China, the China Library Society, the National Library of China, and the many other library institutions and organizations in China for your generous and ongoing support.  Your support enables IFLA to be a participant in the Chinese library professional community, and through IFLA, the ability to present the Chinese library community to the international community.

We look forward to continuing this partnership through many more opportunities in the future. 

On behalf of IFLA President Sinikka Sipilä and the IFLA community, I sincerely wish you a fruitful and enjoyable conference!   Thank you.