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Int'l Seminar on Conservation of Ancient Books

BEIJING--An international seminar on how to protect and conserve ancient books and rare edition of Chinese writings opened here Wednesday.

Some 70 scholars from 40 libraries and institutions of China, the United States, Britain, France and Russia are expected to discuss the current situations in their libraries, technology of preservation and mutual cooperation at the event, sponsored by the National Library of China (NLC).

According to Du Weisheng, associate research librarian in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collection Conservation Section of the NLC, there are 270,000 volumes of rare editions, half of which are under threat of ruin from decay.

During the past five decades, his department has made increasing efforts to maintain its large collections of precious books and preserve their original condition. Some 60,000 such books have been saved from deterioration.

He said that ancient Chinese books scattered throughout the world have added to the difficulty of keeping them safe.

Du expressed his hope that the seminar will provide them with more advanced techniques to protect the cultural relics.

(Xinhua News Agency October 18, 2001)

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