As information technology becomes increasingly widespread, 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 concept that "Knowledge will become industry's most important resource" was put forward in the 1960s and was already widely accepted in the 1970s. Using information technology to improve organizational communication and knowledge management became an essential skill for industrial and economic development. Today, the information economy or "knowledge economy" theory has won many adherents, and a wave of e-commerce has swept the world. Industrial and economic developments are built on knowledge and culture. So, without knowledge, how will economic development be achieved in the future? Culture is the product of accumulated human wisdom and knowledge passed down from generation to generation (knowledge here is not limited to scientific domain). From this perspective, information technology's influence is not limited to intangible social culture; it also has a profound and across-the-board influence on industrial and economic development.
The infrastructure for digital archives and e-learning includes the establishment of electronic databases, user habits, information technology literacy, Internet accessibility, government regulations and policy, 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 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, academia and research institutes have established a solid foundation for electronic databases, information retrieval, language processing, the Internet technology, multi-media presentation and management. Apart from government and academia, Taiwan's information technology industries and e-commerce services are also making good progress. By this criterion, Taiwan is ready for the development of digital archives and e-learning, since most of the required infrastructure has already been set up.
Taiwan has been known to be one of the key countries in terms of its information technology production and services. The government also advocates the vision of the Green Silicon Island and 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. However, considering China's growing ambitions and influence in the information industry, Taiwan should accelerate its work on e-learning and digital archives.
The "Taiwan e-Learning and Digital Archives Program" (TELDAP) was officially launched on January 1, 2008. TELDAP is aimed to creatively promote national digital archives and e-learning applications and facilitate the development of Taiwan's culture, society, industry and economy, followed by disseminating Taiwan's experience in the international community to expand Taiwan's international space and sustainably maintaining important cultural assets of our nation and the development of e-learning's application in industry, academic research and education.