Magazine article American Libraries

Simmons Project Tracks Treasures of Qin Dynasty with New Technology

Magazine article American Libraries

Simmons Project Tracks Treasures of Qin Dynasty with New Technology

Article excerpt

"We needed visual images that would capture and communicate the archaeological grandeur of the era of China's first emperor," said Ching-chih Chen, professor and associate dean of the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science and director of Project Emperor I. "That's why we chose interactive videodisc technology to make this period of history come alive for both scholars and the public," she said.

Project Emperor I records and interprets on videodisc the period of 221-206 B.C., when Qin Shi Huang Di ruled China.

The project was funded in October 1984 by a $270,000 grant to theSimmons library school from the Humanities Project in Libraries, National Endowment for the Humanties (NEH). Additional funding came from Simmons College.

The interactive videodisc, "The First Emperor of China," premiered at Boston Public Dec. 13 before more than 200 people.

At the showing, Arthur Curley, BPL director, hailed the project as "a combination of humanism and technology" and an example of the tremendous opportunities videodisc technology offers librarians. Chen and Robert Stueart, dean of Simmons' library school and research director for the project, provided a history of Emperor I, and Rus Gant, technical director, demonstrated the use of the videodisc.

Among several reasons Chen cited for having chosen videodisc technology for the project was its high-density storage capacity and multi-media integration. "Each side of our

12-inch analog videodisc can hold 54,000 frames of visual images and 30 minutes of sound in double soundtracks--English and Chinese--with a musical background," Chen said. …

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