World Libraries


The Current Status of the Library and Information Service of the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan

floral device Abstract

The Library and Information Service (LIS) is a reference source for the Legislative Yuan in Taiwan. Reorganization has divided the LIS into smaller units, while increasing its functions. One major function, begun in 1986, was the formation of LEGISIS, a network designed to offer the Legislative Yuan multimedia information. LEGISIS includes an electronic bulletin board, and an online service.

The LIS maintains a collection of items, predominantly books, but also government documents, periodicals, newspapers, microforms, and CD–ROMs. It also provides a newspaper clipping service, maintains interlibrary cooperation with other institutions, publishes bibliographies, and has been active in IFLA, ASISD, and APLAP. Its computer equipment began its upgrading in 1984 and since 1994, access to the Internet has been available.

floral device A Brief History of the Library and Information Service (LIS)

The Foundation of the LIS

The Department of the Compilation of the Legislative Yuan was founded during the 1930s. In order to simplify the organizational structure of the Legislative Yuan, the staff of the Department was reduced and special working groups were formed after the government of the Republic of China moved to Taiwan in 1949 [1]. The Department later became the Library and Information Service (LIS).

The mission of the LIS, as stipulated in Article 4 of the Executive Regulations of the Secretariat, the Legislative Yuan, 1953, is to acquire and manage legal and legislative documents, with the objective of providing the necessary resources for the legislature through analysis, research, and reference services, in support of the legislators’ representative and legislative functions.

In the past decade, the LIS had been reorganized into four functional units, namely, the Library, the Law Information Center, the Computer Center, and the Newspaper Clipping Center. These units support the esearch and law–making functions of legislators, and provide current information.

In addition to strengthening the functions of the Library, the objectives of the LIS include developing LEGISIS (the LEGISlative Information System) and the network system in the Legislative Yuan, as well as improving the quality of information retrieved. As society moves ahead, the transmission of information has become much more diversified. Starting in 1983, the LIS began offering information services ranging from printed materials to electronic media in various forms. The LEGISIS, which was developed by the LIS step by step, contains the following eight sub–systems: the Legislative Electronic Bulletin Board System; the Legislators’ Interpellation Information System; the Chinese Code Information System; the Chinese Code Amendment Information System; the Legislative Literature Information System; the Legislative News Information System; the Legislative Record Information System; and the Legislative Yuan Library OPAC (On-line Public Access Catalogue) System.

In March 1993, the LIS completed network construction in the First and Second Buildings of legislators’ offices and the Legislative Yuan, with a dial–up method of connection to the host computer. At the same time, LEGISIS came on–line and entered into service [2].

Looking back over the past ten years, the beginning of the computerization project had “zero budget and zero staff.” From planning, through designing to implementation, we have reached a point where the system is totally open for our users to use it freely, and our service is integrated. For a Chinese information application system, it sets a successful example which is highly visible.

Steps to Establish LEGISIS [3]

After careful planning and preparation, the LEGISIS project was started in 1986. The work included the following stages:

  1. Request for Proposals — In January 1986, the Legislative Yuan announced its computerized information project to more than 100 computer vendors, and invited their proposals. Twenty vendors responded by submitting the required proposals.

  2. Establishment of a Pilot Project — In March 1986, the staff of the LIS invited experts and scholars to examine and evaluate the vendors’ proposals. Because no single vendor had sufficient previous experience on a similar system, five vendors were chosen. They signed a contract to develop the pilot systems, and the Legislative Yuan gave each vendor a grant of NT$200,000 (approximately US$7,272). The purpose of this pilot project was to establish a prototype of LEGISIS within six months.

  3. Evaluation and Demonstration — During the period of developing the LEGISIS pilot systems, the staff of the LIS assisted by confirming the functional requirements of the system. These requirements were then set as the criteria for an evaluation to be carried out later on.

  4. Installing the System — In October 1987, the host computer and its peripheral devices were installed. In January 1988, the technical transfer and staff training were completed. Meanwhile, the two application systems were developed and introduced for public access in the LIS.

  5. Environmental and Space Planning — While the pilot computerization project was in progress, new working spaces were arranged to house the electronic data processing and computer system.

  6. Well–organized Computer Center — The Computer Center of the Legislative Yuan, created and organized in November 1987, was established to oversee all of the computer applications of the Legislative Yuan.

floral device Settings of the LIS

The Location of the LIS Inside the Yuan

Supervised by the Secretary–General of the Legislative Yuan, the LIS is subordinate to the Secretariat. In accordance with Articles 18, 24, and 26 of the Organic Law of the Legislative Yuan, the Secretariat, Accounting Office, Personnel Office, and Committee Offices make up the administrative system of the Legislative Yuan. The Secretariat is composed of the Conference Department; Documentation Center; General Affairs Department; Press Office; Library & Information Service; and Stenography Office.

Founded in 1989, the Legislation Research Service is an independent research unit supervised directly by the Secretary–General and Deputy Secretary–General of the Legislative Yuan. This unit undertakes the study, analysis, and evaluation of draft law bills, including budgetary bills; carries out research to answer inquiries; and translates materials relating to legislation [4]. It is composed of the Draft Law Bills Section, the Budgetary Bills Section, and the Translation Section.

In general, the business activities of the LIS are similar to those of the Legislation Research Service, inasmuch as they concern the transmission of information, the delivery of documents, and other related matters.

Relationship with Other Law Libraries and Information Sections in Taiwan

Interlibrary cooperation is one of the objectives of the LIS. A few years ago, the LIS started to establish a cooperative relationship with other law libraries in Taiwan through the Chinese Law Information Association. Besides, the LEGISIS network has actively built up an extensive network (through dialing) with more than 100 user accounts from government agencies and research institutes around the island, such as the Office of the President; the Ministry of National Defense; the Taipei City Council; the Information Section of the Mainland Affairs Council, the Executive Yuan; the Central Bank of China; the Institute for Information Industry; the Institute for National Policy Research; and, the Law School Library of National Taiwan University. Resource sharing is formally in operation.

floral device Organization and Staffing of the LIS

Organizational Structure

The LIS consists of these four units: The Library (formerly the Department of Compilation); The Law Information Center (established in 1985); The Computer Center (operated in 1987); and The Newspaper Clipping Center (started in 1989). Here are the functions of each unit.

  1. The Library: (a) acquisition of books and subscription to periodicals, newspapers, microfilms, CD–ROMs, and other AV materials; (b) classification and cataloging of collections; (c) management and binding of periodical publications; (d) maintenance and operation of the library automation system; (e) inventory control.

  2. The Law Information Center: (a) maintenance and operation of LEGISIS; (b) research and development of legislative databases in Chinese and English; (c) building research collections in the social sciences mainly in the field of law; (d) bibliographies and indexes of related reference materials; (e) documentation of publications related to LEGISIS.

  3. The Computer Center: (a) system research and development of LEGISIS; (b) management of the LEGISIS network; (c) maintenance of the host computers and the peripheral equipment; (d) promotion of office automation in the Legislative Yuan.

  4. The Newspaper Clipping Center: (a) daily news clipping services; (b) maintenance and operation of the legislative news information system; (c) documentation of publications related to the clippings, and of related materials; (d) microfilming of the newspaper clippings; and, (e) production of individual news files for each legislator.

Staffing and Computer Training

As of 1996, the 74 staff members in the LIS are classified into three groups. Twenty–two are authorized by the organized law (among them, eight are mechanics and five are office workers); 50 are employed by contract; and two are part–time workers.

For the sake of introducing computer knowledge and information technology into the Legislative Yuan, the Computer Center regularly conducts seminars on computer training for the staff members of the Legislative Yuan and for legislators’ aides. On–the–job training for the staff of the LIS is focused on new information and the field of communications.

Information and Primary Research Functions

In the past few years, the LIS of the Legislative Yuan has developed the legislative information service to provide legislators with instant and up–to–date information on a wide range of activities. So far, the achievements of the LIS include the collection and distribution of information to legislators, and the building of a solid system to supply information to the Legislative Yuan.

The LIS carries out functions related to information and primary research. Consequently, it has been considered as the support unit for policy–making and legislation. The importance of legislative information is evident in an open society, since it is the means of communication between the government and the general public.

floral device Library Collections and Other Resources

Size of the Collection

An important feature of the LIS is that its collection is composed of many multimedia materials. Books on law and politics make up the core collection in conjunction with other related subject matter. Aside from the materials listed below, the staff of the LIS also gathers AV materials, computer diskettes, and newspaper clippings.

All of the Chinese collections are classified according to the Chinese Classification Scheme; foreign collections are classified according to the Dewey Decimal Classification.

Item Language or Format Number Total
BooksChinese:
Japanese/Korean:
English:
91,714
602
19,074
113,390 volumes
Periodicals Chinese:
Japanese/Korean:
English:
479
31
191
70 titles
Newspapers Chinese:
Japanese:
English
74
6
10
90 titles
Microform Microfiche:
Microfilm:
258
33
291 items
CD–ROM Chinese:
English:
3
27
30 items

Major Characteristics of the Collection

The following six categories of collection and services demonstrate the major characteristics of the LIS.

  1. Specialized subject–oriented reference collections. This group contains statistics and graphic guidance. These collections contain references, such as encyclopedias, congressional reference materials, biographies, compilations, directories, yearbooks, and statistics.
  2. Newspaper clippings and related materials. Important legislative headline news and editorials are clipped from foreign and domestic newspapers, then classified, copied, and filed to provide readers with current news and commentaries.
  3. Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI). This involves selecting and compiling articles about timely topics and issues from many domestic newspapers and periodicals.
  4. Publications from political parties and non–government institutions, including public comments exchanged between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan; and reports about diplomacy, economics, society, and the women’s situation in Taiwan
  5. Official gazettes and semi–official publications. The LIS regularly displays official gazettes, proceedings, and legislative agendas of the Legislative Yuan, as well as official and semi–official publications from other government branches. It also collects governmental publications from the United States of America, Japan, the European Community, and other jurisdictions.
  6. Parliamentary publications. Parliamentary publications from many countries are collected through exchange and gift, such as standing rules, and congressional proceedings and brochures. This helps legislators to understand legislative developments and trends from a global perspective.

Reading Areas

The LIS occupies 1,201 square meters. It is located in one of the parliamenÂtary buildings (the Chun-Hsien Building) with other departmental offices and committee offices, and is close to the main parliamentary building, the Assembly Hall of the Legislative Yuan. The location of each working unit is as follows:

  1. The Library is in the first basement, where there is a large reading area.
  2. The Law Information Center is on the third floor. It contains reference desks and the reference collection.
  3. The Computer Center is also on the third floor.
  4. The Newspaper Clipping Center is on the second floor. Its collection is on open shelves.

floral device Services and Products

Services and Products Offered by the LIS

  1. The Library
    1. General Reading Services: To provide open–shelf and photocopy services. Displaying books, periodicals, and newspapers available to readers for browsing and reproduction.
    2. Book Circulation Services.
    3. OPAC (On–line Public Access Catalog): Readers may connect to the OPAC system of the Legislative Yuan Library for on–line retrieval through their own terminals.
    4. New Book Announcement Service: A catalog regularly announces books newly arrived in the Library.

  2. The Law Information Center
    1. Legislative Reading Service: To provide open–shelf services, reference services, and photographic services to readers.
    2. Legislative Reference Inquiry Services: The full–time reference librarians of the Law Information Center are responsible for information retrieval and document delivery at the reference desk.
    3. LEGISIS Retrieval Service: To provide access to domestic information systems and answer legal inquiries. A brief introduction of the eight sub–systems of LEGISIS follows.
      1. LEGISIS—The Legislative Electronic Bulletin Board System (known as “Bulletin”)
        To provide the most up–to–date information on the parliament, including Legislative Yuan meetings, important events in Taiwan, rules for observing Legislative Yuan meetings, and rules for (and services to) visitors.
      2. LEGISIS—The Legislators’ Interpellation Information System (known as “Interpellation”)
        To offer computerized information retrieval about administrative policy, general budget planning, and execution. The system contains in its database updated records as well as retrospective records from 1984. The database has many access points, including date, subject, and name. An upgraded version of the system was launched in 1995, and provides up to sixteen access points, which can be combined for Boolean logic (AND, OR, NOT) searching.
      3. LEGISIS—The Chinese Code Information System (known as “Codes”)
        To input legislated laws (more than six hundred) ratified by the Legislative Yuan in past years, and to constantly update the system. In addition, retrieval of related and alleged codes can give printed form of service, namely, statistics of codes enacted, amended, or repealed.
      4. LEGISIS—The Chinese Code Amendment Information System (known as “Amendments”)
        To enable access to all laws amended by the Legislative Yuan since 1970, when the government promulgated the Central Codes StanĂ‚dard. The information in this system is organized according to the main reason for the amendment, the procedure of the amendment, and the text of the amended articles. This is the “sister system” of the Chinese Code Information System.
      5. LEGISIS—The Legislative Literature Information System (known as “Literature”)
        To establish a bibliographic database of articles from periodicals and research papers since 1986 in such fields as law, economics, finance, and public administration. The system contains several access points, including categories, subjects, keywords, authors, and journal titles. In addition, reproduction of the retrieved paper is provided through compact discs.
      6. LEGISIS—The Legislative News Information System (known as “News”)
        To display the collection of clippings from fifteen local newspapers. This system provides on–line retrieval of important political events, records of the legislature, developments in the Legislative Yuan, administrative policies of the Executive Yuan, and current news. There are two retrieval mechanisms, “Menu” and “command.”
      7. LEGISIS—The Legislative Record Information System (known as “Record”)
        To track the records of legislators in meetings of the whole Yuan and its committees. The name of the legislator, the meeting and session number, date, subject, category, keyword, etc., can be used as access points. The system provides three modes of searching (menu, command, and statistics) and can produce dozens of different reports. A PC version of this system is available.
      8. LEGISIS—The Legislative Yuan Library OPAC (On–line Public Access Catalog) System
        To cover all library collections in the system, with the new book announcement service, personal circulation records, on–line ordering, periodical records, and so on. Formally launched in 1995, it is the most recent online system among the LEGISIS.
    4. International Information Retrieval Service: To connect to DIALOG, LEXIS–NEXIS, and the Internet in order to obtain a wide variety of information for legislators.
    5. CD–ROM Retrieval Services: The CD–ROMs which are available in the Law Information Center include LISA, PAIS, Dissertation Abstracts Ondisc, Congressional Masterfile, Statistical Masterfile, InfoTrac, WILSONDISC, Federal Register, Multilingual Dictionary, Computer Select, Compton’s Multimedia Encyclopedia, Register of Chinese Business and Directory of Chinese International & Business Regulations, Countries of the World, and Chinese Periodical Article Index.
    6. Legislative Microfilm Services: There are 291 microfilm titles in this catalog, including newspapers, statistical reports, law reviews, GPO publications, official gazettes of the government, the U.S. Code, the U.S. Statutes At Large, and the Congressional Record.
    7. Current Awareness Services: It contains indexes and abstracts of foreign legal periodicals, as well as research papers, and it lists books newly arrived in the library.
    8. Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI) Services: It assembles data on “hot” social issues, bill amendments, and political events.
    9. Legislative Decision Support Services: It collects the legislative history, law reviews, index of debates, and bibliographies related to a particular bill pending in the current session, so as to be able to provide information to legislators.
    10. Publication Exchange Services: To exchange the publications of the LIS with other parliamentary libraries all over the world.

  3. The Computer Center
    1. Network User Assistance Service: To offer technical support to the users of the LEGISIS and to maintain the security of the system.
    2. Office Automation Assisted Development Service: To develop hardware and software standards for the office automation system in the Legislative Yuan, according to the specific requirements of each office.
    3. Computer Training and Promotion: To conduct seminars for users on such subjects as use of the COMWAVE fax data software through the fax–modem, the Internet, Windows, MS–DOS, the Chinese input method, applied software packages, and word processing software.

  4. The Newspaper Clipping Center
    1. Newspaper Clipping Reference Services: To compile legislative news extracted from fifteen newspapers. This news falls into four categories: background of the enacted bills; administration reports; bill tracking information; and current events. Duplicate copies are available in the Center.
    2. Legislative News Information Retrieval Services: To provide timely and effective on-line news (political, parliamentary, and legal) to legislators.
    3. Newspaper Clipping Microfilm Services: To preserve old clippings for retrospective searching.
    4. Legislative News Publications Services: To distribute publications such as the Chinese Legislative News Review Index and the Chinese News Review Series to legislators, libraries, government bodies, and academic societies.

Research Services

Sponsored by the Asia Foundation from 1986 to 1989, the LIS published almost fifty legislative research papers on issues pertaining to a variety of bills. Among the subjects were capital punishment, criminal law, basic labor standards, labor–management disputes, organ transplants, wildlife preservation, environmental protection, fair trade, consumer rights, public bank management, artificial reproduction, coastal ecological preservation and the jurisdiction of oceanic coastal states, local self–government, public meetings and demonstrations, information protection, factory management guidance and occupational hazards, labor contracts, the prevention and treatment of public calamities, videotaping, standing rules for meetings, the Senate of France, Korean governmental organization, the national security law of the U.S., the national retirement law of Singapore, and the articles of the period of communist rebellion.

The Publications of the LIS

The resources and publication chain provided by the LIS consists of twenty different kinds of publications. These publications, distributed periodically to legislators, are the result of legislative analysis for bill tracking and readers’ interests. A summary of each publication follows.

  1. Newsletter of Books & Documentation (quarterly). This announces the information activities of the LIS, including new services and policies, new collections, newly introduced foreign codes, and the statistics and bibliographies of other document services.
  2. Chinese Legislative News Review Index (monthly). This provides news items on the status of a bill, criticism of it, public opinion, the statements of legislators, etc.
  3. Chinese Legislative News Review Series (irregular). This collects news, law reviews, special reports, and so on, under a current topic.
  4. Selective Dissemination of Information Series (bimonthly): It assembles articles (from chapters of monographs, proceedings, and reports) on “hot” issues, bill amendments, and political events.
  5. Legislative Decision Support Service (monthly): Each issue collects the legislative history, law review, index of debates, and bibliographies related to particular bills pending in the current session, so as to be able to provide information to legislators.
  6. Index to Legal Periodicals (irregular). It collects summaries of legal periodicals, which have been briefly translated from English and Japanese law reviews.
  7. Code Resource Pathfinder (bimonthly). This reading list maps out ways and materials for those searching for information about a particular code.
  8. Index to Chinese Legislative Literature (bimonthly): A bibliographic list of Chinese periodical articles on finance, education, economics, sociology, and so on, with annual bound editions.
  9. Code and Reference Book Catalog (irregular). A bibliographic list of reference materials and code collections within the LIS, now in its fifth edition.
  10. Gazette, Proceeding, and Serial Catalogue (irregular). A bibliographic list, now in third edition, of all official gazettes, proceedings, and serial collections within the LIS.
  11. The Legislative Yuan Library Catalogue (irregular). This bibliography lists all of the monographs, periodicals, codes, governmental gazettes, proceedings, and so on, in the LIS. Its second edition was published in June 1993.
  12. Introduction to Library & Information Services (irregular). This brochure, its latest edition published in 1996, describes the services offered by the LIS.
  13. LEGISIS Thesaurus (irregular). Printed in a Chinese–English bilingual edition, it is a comprehensive subject guide focusing on the social sciences. By using it as a reference guide, one may expect to achieve higher precision in searching. The fourth edition was published in June 1996.
  14. Selective Abstracts of U.S. Congressional Records (irregular). Categorized into eight broad subjects, it contains more than five hundred abstracts of Senate and House bills. Its second edition was published in 1994.
  15. Subjects Guide to Chinese Code (irregular). Classified by many subjects, it provides the entire content of the laws of the Republic of China enacted by the Legislative Yuan and promulgated by the President. The first edition was published in 1991.
  16. Code Amendment Cyclopedia (irregular). The information in this contains the main reason for each amendment of the codes. It offers detailed legislative background, so that legislators can get a better understanding of the different editions of the codes.
  17. Collection of Interpellation Records (irregular). The on–line edition of the legislators’ individual interpellation records. Several kinds of statistical printouts are offered by the Legislators’ Interpellation Information System. The latest edition was published in 1990.
  18. Legislative Microfilm Catalog (irregular). This catalog (published in 1994) lists 291 items on microfilm. The bibliographic record for each item includes title, compiler, producer, coverage, and remarks.
  19. Index of Legislative Record (triennial). The latest edition (1996) assembles legislative and debate records, including committee reports and indexes of legislative history.
  20. User’s Guide to DIALOG & LEXIS–NEXIS (irregular): Based on DIALOG (Knight–Ridder) and LEXIS–NEXIS information services, it describes the coverage of the databases, the methods of searching them, and billing policy.

Statistics of the Information Service

Statistical Table of the Legislative Information Service
Year Number of
Services Rendered
Number of Users
199176,02223,807
199231,30623,722
199365,96255,129
199465,63253,636
199559,51546,234

 

Statistical Tables of the Uses of LEGISIS (through wide area network and remote dial–up terminals) based on login times
PeriodBulletinInterpellationCodesAmendmentsTotal
01/01/93–12/31/931,5094,2462,9321,78510,472
01/01/94–12/31/941,0523,5732,8191,8199,263
01/01/95–12/31/959363,3942,6141,8338,777
01/01/96–6/30/964661,6191,4129004,417
 
PeriodLiteratureNewsRecordOPACTotal
01/01/93–12/31/932,4923,2732,999N/A8,764
01/01/94–12/31/942,6433,5263,014N/A9,183
01/01/95–12/31/952,4763,2393,4092629,385
01/01/96–06/30/961,4142,0351,2459185,612

 

Circulation and Service Users Statistics in the Library
PeriodBooks BorrowedBooks ReturnedService Users
07/94–06/9511,42110,19924,375
07/95–06/9610,1027,41425,933

Readers and General User Groups of LEGISIS

  1. Legislators and their aides: At present there are 164 legislators. Each has six government–paid aides. From their individual offices, they have on–line access to LEGISIS, and so do the offices of the three major parties, namely, the Kuo–Ming Tang, the Democratic Progress Party, and the Chinese New Party.
  2. The staff of the Legislative Yuan: To help with legislative procedures, the staff uses LEGISIS to retrieve information. There are 88 ports connected to the host computer.
  3. Users outside of the Legislative Yuan: Up to now, there are eighty–three institutes and more than 100 user accounts from government agencies, research foundations, universities, and members’ constituencies. Through this connection, information sharing and exchange is more than a theory.
  4. Information professionals: In the Law Information Center, there are several information professionals who will provide information retrieval service on request. The people in this group were the first to use LEGISIS and are responsible for promoting it, and training others in its use.

Different groups of users have their own distinctive needs for information, and habits of using it. Therefore, they will use the database in different ways. If we study the use of LEGISIS by each group, we can find out what their requests are and probably adjust our policies.

floral device Developments in Automation

Computer Hardware

To fully exploit the benefits and convenience of combining legislation and information, the LIS has focused on expanding the available computer hardware.

  1. Computer mainframes: such as a VAX7630 mainframe, a VAX8530 mainframe, and a back–up mainframe.
  2. PCs and workstations: more than 200 monitors and workstations have been installed in the legislators’ offices.
  3. Computer equipment for each legislator: IBM Compatible PC 486SX–25, with 8MB RAM; 120 MB and 1.2 GB hard disks; 1.44 MB and 1.2 MB disk drives; and, a fax modem. Software: DOS 6.0; Chinese Windows; SPE (word processing software). Printer: Fujitsu Dl 1150 dot matrix printer with color kit.

The Network System of the Legislative Yuan

Eighty–three ports belonging to government agencies and research institutes of this country connect to the host computer. They are, for example, Office of the President; Bureau of Comprehensive Planning, Government Information Office; Council of Labor Affairs, the Executive Yuan; Council for Cultural Planning and Development, the Executive Yuan; Management Information Center of the Ministry of Transportation and Communication; The Library of Monetary Affairs, the Ministry of Finance; The Library of Providence University; and, Academia Sinica.

Computerized Information Activities

  1. Information Policy of the LIS: The LIS planned its computerization in 1984, and prepared a budget in 1986. The host computer was installed in 1987 and formally began to operate in March 1988. Up to the present, eight large information systems have been completed and others are planned. In the past few years, “centralized processing, centralized service” was the development policy of the LIS. Its accomplishments under this policy were highly regarded by both domestic and foreign information specialists. Presently, the Computer Center has built up a wide area network (WAN) among legislators’ offices by means of a dial–up system. And with the new policy of “centralized processing, distributed service,” the LIS is ready to expand its services.
  2. Access to the Internet through TANet (Taiwan Academic Network), run by the Ministry of Education, started in July 1994. The First and Second Buildings of legislators’ offices have recently been connected to the Internet through their modems.
  3. Maintain the eight sub–systems of the LEGISIS, and expand the network system.
  4. Continue developing connections with overseas information retrieval systems, such as DIALOG, LEXIS–NEXIS, and the Internet.

Office Automation in the Legislative Yuan

Hardware and software standards are being developed according to the specific requirements of each office. Among the systems completed in the past few years are the following: Accounting, Official Vehicle Management, Assets Management, Personnel, Document Audit, Visitors, Computer Equipment Management, Training Records, Mailing Labels, and Statistics of Legislators’ Attendance.

floral device Important Developments in the LIS

Recent Trends

Generally speaking, every parliament in the world has its own unique organizational structure, and so does every parliamentary library. The growth of a parliamentary library nowadays depends upon a nation’s democratization, the operation of its cabinet government, and the perfection of the system for supporting members.

Before 1990, legislators lacked their own office areas inside the Legislative Yuan, and did not have any assistants. But things changed only a few years later. Now the First and the Second Buildings of legislators’ offices offer each legislator a research unit. Inasmuch at least six government–paid aides now help each legislator, we could estimate that more than a thousand such aides form the basic user group of the LIS’s service and of the LEGISIS network.

The interactive relationship between users and the LIS staff provides the impetus for the LIS to serve the legislators and their aides. This interaction will expand from the Legislative Yuan through the network system to all users of the network, to support their legislative work. It will also promote international cooperation among the parliamentary libraries of Asia and the Pacific region. The Association of Parliamentary Librarians of Asia and the Pacific (APLAP) has already become an organization for the development of common legislative information. It is supported by a variety of legislatures of the region. The present writer currently serves as the President of APLAP.

New Products and Services

The following two information systems are scheduled to be completed within a year:

  1. The News Image Information System — To be upgraded from the Legislative News Information System, it will be designed for a multi–media database service with an image base. The input/output devices may include voice, as well as image and graphic materials.
  2. The Full–text Gazettes Retrieval System — This will provide advanced retrieval of the full–text format of the Legislative Yuan Gazettes. The idea for this system originated in the Legislative Record Information System.

As for the network system of the Legislative Yuan, a concrete plan, to be implemented in the next two or three years, could be outlined: To build an open network system based on the present WAN, i,e., an electronic intercommunication system through the telecommunication network. It will transmit BBS and e–mail messages to remote users. The Yuan network and the Legislative Bulletin Board System will be two pilot systems for the development of this project.

Services to Be Reinforced

Looking toward the future, the services provided by the LIS in the Legislative Yuan have to be oriented towards the political trends based on public opinion–trends now being emphasized in countries around the world. Consequently, we should make sure that the six measures listed below are continuously and effectively exercised:

  1. Actively collect all kinds of legislative data and resources.
  2. Effectively improve information services and broaden their scope.
  3. Improve the quality and content of the report publications.
  4. Promote computer and telecommunication networks, looking toward such developments as a virtual–reality library.
  5. Invite scholars and specialists to participate in research work.
  6. Promote international information cooperation and communication.

The Legalization of the LIS Structure

Considering the circumstances of the LIS from a legal aspect, the main obstacle is that the LIS does not have the status of department in the organic law of the Legislative Yuan. It is of the utmost importance to establish through legislation a responsible organ which would be in charge of library and information operations. As other parliamentary libraries of the world, such as the Library of Congress in the U.S., the National Diet Library of Japan, and the National Assembly Library of the Republic of Korea, have demonstrated, a responsible organ is an indispensable part of information development.

The planning of the relocation and reconstruction of the Legislative Yuan is in process. It is our duty to carry on the mission of the LIS, and promote its computerized information activities. The present state of the LIS certainly will be the foundation for the developments of tomorrow. A brand–new look for the LIS is under deliberation.

The library and information environment in the Legislative Yuan has experienced an extremely critical period during the past ten years with its service, productivity, and system successfully improved. Many new services, publications, and systems have been introduced, all designed to provide a well–conceptualized, integrated information and research service environment that will meet the needs of the 1990s and beyond. As we have shown, from the many positive accomplishments implemented so far, and the increasing service statistics, it is clear that the program of information service has proved itself to be effective and farsighted. It will have a long–term influence over information development in the Legislative Yuan and Taiwan as a whole. The positive responses from people, both here and abroad, are also proof of the value of the LIS's existence.

Almost at the same time, people in Taiwan began to play a more active role in our nation’s legislative work. This, in turn, has had great consequences in promoting the role and power of the legislature. The Legislative Information Service of the LIS came into existence as people became increasingly aware of the importance of the quality of legislation, and of its effectiveness. This has certainly had a positive influence on making legislation more suitable and favorable to the people of this society. The improvement of the LIS has gained unanimous support from both the ruling party and opposition parties, and has become an important blueprint for the development of our legislative information environment from now on.

The LIS has joined several prestigious library and information organizations, such as IFLA, ASIS, and APLAP. By attending the annual conferences, we come to understand worldwide trends in the development of the library and information profession, and thus enhance our standard of parliamentary librarianship. With the expanded information service which we provide and the ever–increasing number of users, we are dedicated to improving the legislative information system so as to provide a better quality of service, as well as a more efficient one. We hope to support the legislators of the third tenure term with abundant legislative information; to establish an objective and independent worldwide information–supplying system; and to promote our national democracy to a higher level.

floral device Notes

This is a revised version of a paper presented at the Association of Parliamentary Librarians of Asia and the Pacific (APLAP) Conference in October 1996 in Canberra.

floral device References

[1] Introduction to the Library and Information Service (Taipei: Legislative Yuan, 1996).

[2] Karl Min Ku, “Current Status of LEGISIS Database and Network System,” The Legislative Yuan Monthly 22-2 (February 1994): 25–32.

[3] Karl Min Ku, “Developmental Strategies of Computerized Legislative Information Services” (Conference paper written for the IFLA General Conference, New Delhi, 1992).

[4] Legislative Yuan, Republic of China (Taipei: The Secretariat, Legislative Yuan, 1991).

floral device About the Author

Karl Min Ku is the Director of the Secretariat of the Legislative Yuan and former Director of the Library and Information Service.

©1996 Karl Min Ku.

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