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Posted : 2010-08-15 16:59
Updated : 2010-08-15 16:59

Koreas genealogy gaining global attention


Park Jae-sup, left, director of the Paik Inje Memorial Library, poses with Claudia Lux, center, former president of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, and Shin Ki-nam, honorary president of the Korean Library Association, at the 76th World Library and Information Congress in Gothenburg, Sweden, which took place from Aug. 10 to 15.
/ Courtesy of Paik Inje Memorial Library

By Chung Ah-young

Korea’s genealogy is gaining global attention with the unveiling of a digital database of genealogical records by the Paik Inje Memorial Library of Inje University at the 76th World Library and Information Congress in Gothenburg, Sweden.

During the congress, Director Park Jae-sup proudly introduced Inje's Digital Genealogy Library, after three years of dedicated preparation. The genealogical materials have been collected by the library since 2007 in an effort to preserve Korea’s ethnic history.

In association with the Utah-based organization Family Search, the library has digitalized hundreds of records and created the Digital Genealogy Library (http://genealogy.inje.ac.kr or http://jokbo.inje.ac.kr), which allows users to search for their genealogical records.

Currently about 500 genealogy e-books are available online, with page-turning and zoom features that allow users to freely explore these records. They include Gimhae Kim and Gimhae Heo clans, which are representative regional families in Korea.

The library was selected as the major presenter at the recent congress as it has contributed to promoting and connecting the social community through the digitalization of genealogy, tracing family bloodlines and making history accessible.

Cultural programs such as the "Miryang Park Clan Exhibit" and the "Genealogy Classroom for Children" to introduce the nation’s traditional heritage have also been organized by the library.

Claudia Lux, former president of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), praised the digital genealogical library. "I was already aware of Korea's excellent digital technology capabilities, but I was very impressed by the service Inje University's library is offering by publishing genealogy online. This will be a milestone in the effort to restore traditional culture," said Lux.

Honorary President of the Korean Library Association, Shin Ki-nam, also lauded Park's efforts by saying, “The Paik Inje Memorial Library has become one of the leading institutions in the country by unhesitatingly exploring new territory and redefining the services that a library can offer."

Some 3,345 librarians and intellectuals, including some 70 Korean delegations from throughout the world attended the convention to share ideas under the theme of “Open Access to Knowledge.”

The congress ended on Aug. 15.

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