As information technology becomes increasingly widespread, the digitization technology, computer and communications technology, and the development of the Internet have influenced our society in an ever more profound way. In the past, information technology has brought about local changes to our daily work. Only with the rapid development of the Internet has information technology had such a comprehensive impact on our ways of social communication, knowledge conveyance, presentation and management, and moreover, on our perceptions of and approaches to research and education. Nowadays, the influence of digitization is society-wide and is increasing in importance all the time. Information technology has gradually altered our activities in our daily life, work, learning and leisure, thereby unveiling a digital era in which culture and education are changing in every aspect.
The infrastructure for digital archives and e-learning includes the establishment of electronic databases, user habits, information technology literacy, Internet accessibility, government regulations and policies, advanced academic research environment, capabilities of industrial applications, services and marketing, etc. At present, the proportion of Internet users in Taiwan is one of the highest in the world; all the elementary, junior high, and high schools have Internet access. In addition, projects for e-government, e-commerce, broadband fixed network, e-learning and e-health have been set in motion. Furthermore, academic and research institutions have established solid technology foundations for electronic databases, information retrieval, language processing, the Internet, and multimedia presentation and management. Apart from government and academia, Taiwan's information technology industries and e-commerce services are also making good progress. Most of the required infrastructure for the development of digital archives and e-learning, therefore, has been set up.
Taiwan is already known to be one of the key countries in the production and services of information field. The government also advocates the vision of becoming Green Silicon Island and the advancement of knowledge economy. The digitization of national archives and education will contribute significantly to the accumulation, dissemination, and application of knowledge, and will thus play an essential role in the development of the knowledge economy. Considering China's growing ambitions and influence in the information industry, Taiwan should accelerate its work on promoting the digital archives and e-learning project.
In 2002, the government initiated the “National Digital Archives Program” to digitize various kinds of archives kept in both public and private institutions in Taiwan; in 2003, it launched the “National Science and Technology Program for e-Learning.” The two programs were officially merged together on January 1, 2008 to form the "Taiwan e-Learning and Digital Archives Program" (TELDAP). TELDAP aims to creatively promote national digital archives and e-learning applications; facilitate the development of Taiwan's culture, society, industry, and economy; disseminate Taiwan's experience in the global community to expand its visibility on the international stage; and sustainably manage national cultural assets as well as develop e-learning applications in industries, academic research, and education.