September 10, 2009 marked the 100th anniversary of the National Library. Reporters learned that the National Library is now popularizing new reading channels, enabling citizens to access content from the National Library through their digital TV. By the end of this year, more than 300,000 Beijing citizens will enjoy this service.
With a hundred-year history, the library now has an area of more than 250,000 square meters, making it the third largest library in the world; it has a collection of 27 million books, making it among the top five in the world; its daily attendance of 20,000 guests is unrivaled in the world.
Currently, there is Internet access at every desk in the buildings of the north part of the library, and wireless Internet covers the whole library; in the China Digital Library for the Blind, blind people can listen to digital books and music as well as online lectures for free; the DIY circulation service in National Library enables the readers to return books to the circulation counter without having to enter the building, making 24 hours circulation service possible; National Library is also now developing a handheld National Library system with which users can use their cell phone as an access terminal, allowing citizens to receive digital information and services of the library through several channels, including text messages.
At present, the National Library is cooperating with Beijing Gehua Cable Company to come up with new service which uses digital TV to deliver content. It is now on trial in some residential communities in Chaoyang District, and by the end of this year, more than 300,000 Beijing citizens will be able to enjoy the service. In the future, multimedia content from the National Library that is suitable to be transmitted through digital TV, will be broadcasted to 3 million households with digital TVs through the cable TV networks in Beijing. Many different forms of content will be made available to Beijing citizens, such as National Library Lectures, National Library Exhibition, TV reading, and National Library Treasures.
Phi Beta Iota: China is known to be building a Google killer, and according to Jim Fallows of the Atlantic Monthly, their voice to text and text to voice is significantly better than what Google has been developed. China and India appear headed for ubiquitous cellular access to information in all its forms. This will be world-changing.