The National Library of China (NLC) is currently exhibiting photocopies of 1,200 antique books covering a total 15,000 volumes.
Photocopies of four of the most valuable collections are now on public view at the week-long exhibition in Beijing, said library director Zhan Furui Friday.
They include one part of "Si Ku Quan Shu," or Encyclopedia Sinica, China's largest book series compiled between 1772 and 1782 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1911).
Only one part is being displayed because 3.5 parts of the huge seven-part collection have been lost. One part is currently in Taiwan while another 2.5 parts are in three Chinese mainland libraries, including the NLC.
Visitors will also see photocopies of 16,000 pieces of manuscript found in Dunhuang, Gansu Province, about 100 years ago. These account for about one third of the total Dunhuang document collection worldwide, Zhan said.
The other two collections are remains of the Yongle Encyclopaedia, China's first encyclopaedia written some 400 years ago, and a 900-year-old collection of Buddhist sutra.
"As the library is keeper of the world's most valuable Chinese books, we have tried to give the ancient books a second life through modern technology," Zhan said.
Besides photocopying the books, the library is also taking digital photos and putting them on a database that is currently under construction
So far, the library has finished a catalog of the database, Zhan said.