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last updated: 4/20/2012

Collection Development Policies - East Asian

East Asian Collection

  1. Introduction
    1. Purpose of the policy statement
      The purpose of this statement is threefold. The first is to provide in-depth information on the collection development policy for the East Asian Collection to library colleagues, to faculty and students interested in the East Asian Collection, and to library users who have questions about the East Asian Collection. The second one is to serve as an evaluation basis to the East Asian Collection. The third is to be a guide for collection development for the librarian in East Asian Studies.

      This statement refers to the collection development policy for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean language materials as well as for works in Western languages on East Asian Studies, because the Librarian for East Asian Studies carries the collection development responsibility for both.

    2. Audience
      The audience includes the Library Administration, colleagues in the Subject Area Librarians Council, library colleagues in general, faculty and students focusing on East Asian Studies, and the Librarian for East Asian Studies. As Indiana University is a public-sponsored university, the audience may be expanded to include general library users.

    3. Description of institution/department and clientele
      East Asian Studies at IU is composed of two units: the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC; and the East Asian Studies Center (EASC; The Center is an administrative office soliciting grants and pursuing outreach activities. EALC, which offers strong undergraduate and graduate programs with coursework in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages and cultures, is an academic unit in the College of Arts and Sciences. It enjoys a solid academic reputation since its establishment in 1962 as the East Asian Languages and Literature Department. In 1975, it was renamed East Asian Languages and Cultures Department (EALC). It is IU's central department for the study of all aspects of East Asian languages, literature, history, art, religious studies, civilization, society, etc. It currently (2004) has 33 faculty members, approximately 35 graduate students, and 100 undergraduate majors. The Department collaborates closely with the departments of History, Religious Studies, Fine Arts, and Comparative Literature in hiring and curriculum development, and looks forward to more extensive collaborations with the social science departments and with other schools on the Bloomington campus.

    4. Brief overview of the collection
      The East Asian Collection supports the university's teaching and research needs in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean studies and promotes the learning and understanding of East Asia. The Collection is comprehensive in the humanities and social sciences, and specialized in selected subjects related to the humanities. The Collection presently consists of five sections: Oriental Chinese (O.C.), Oriental Japanese (O.J.), Oriental Korean (O.K.), Oriental Reference (Or. Ref.), and Oriental Rare Book (Or. Rare). In 2003, the collection has around 201,500 volumes, including 122,306 volumes in Chinese, 63,339 in Japanese, and 15,159 in Korean. The Libraries subscribes to about 402 Chinese, 221 Japanese, 63 Korean, and 150 non-CJK serials and newspapers. In addition to volumes in the East Asian Collection, the general library collection includes approximately 222,000 volumes of materials related to East Asian studies published in Western languages. According to the statistics published by CEAL (Council on East Asian Libraries) as of June 2000, our collection size is 18th among 60 East Asian collections and libraries in North America.

      Special collections within the East Asian Collection include: 1) Si ku quan shu zhen ben--selected titles in over 5,000 volumes from the Chinese imperial encyclopedia compiled during the Qing Dynasty; 2) Over 300 Chinese collectanea (monographic series) which contain more than 30,000 individual works on a wide range of subjects; 3) Ming and Qing dynastic histories (over 10,000 volumes); 4) Premodern Japanese history totalling over 6,000 volumes; and 5) The four large microfilm collections of Edo literature and manuscripts: The Ebara Bunko Collection (3,736 volumes on 207 reels), the Ozaki Kyuya Collection of Edo Light Literature, Ballads and Songs (1,723 items in 3,400 volumes on 120 reels), the Katei Bunko collection of Edo literature and dramatic works (2,032 volumes on 72 reels); 6) The Edo Bungaku Sokan--the Daitokyu Collection of Edo Literature: Essential Illustrated Novelistic and Dramatic Works (878 items on 90 reels); and 7) Large sets of primary sources on Japanese political economy and education.

      1. History of the collection
        The history of the East Asian Collection can be traced back to 1950 when S.Y. Teng, the late Professor Emeritus of History, joined IU to teach Chinese, Japanese, and Far Eastern history. The Collection was formally established in 1961 and consists primarily of materials in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages. Through the past decades, with strong support from Prof. S.Y. Teng and Wu-Chi Liu, the late Professor Emeritus of East Asian Languages and Cultures, it has seen steady growth and has become one of the major national resource centers for East Asian studies in the country.

      2. Collection strengths and weaknesses
        The areas of strength of the collection are the humanities and social sciences, with particular emphasis on the humanities. The Chinese Collection is strong in language and literature, history (especially Ming and Qing dynastic histories), classics and collectanea, religion, philosophy, archaeology, fine arts, communism, as well as politics and government. The Japanese Collection is strong in history and literature (particularly those of the Edo and Meiji periods), fine arts, education, sociology, political science, and economic conditions. The Korean Collection focuses on language and literature, history, social movements, and reference works. Since the humanities are the foundation of all specialized subjects, and since we already have a strong basis in this area, the library collection remains broad and varied in order to support the needs of the EALC faculty, students, and other interested library users.

        In recent years, as EALC moves toward "the development of more pragmatic, contemporary, and occupationally relevant" (EALC Enhancement Policy, 2001) aspects of East Asian Studies, the collection development strategy of the East Asian Collection was modified to follow the new direction. Social sciences in China, Japan and Korea have become the top-priority area for the collection. We are currently focusing on three subjects in the social sciences: sociology, political science, and economics in contemporary China, Japan, and Korea. There are growing library requests for reference tools and materials in business, economics, government information, and cultural studies related to China, Japan, and Korea from students and faculty of departments other than EALC.

      3. Subject areas emphasized or deemphasized
        In addition to the collection focus on histories of the Ming and Qing dynasties, building a solid collection of East Asian religious studies has been a priority because EALC is currently strong with faculty specializing in Buddhism, Taoism, and general East Asia religious studies. Since religious studies are an integral part of the broader fields, such as sociology, philosophy, cultural and political history, and East Asia intercultural exchange, we need to continue to strengthen our collection in these fields. Right now, we have major monograph sets and major critical reference works on Buddhism and Taoism. The Libraries can use these holdings as a basis for the expansion of social sciences suggested in the EALC Enhancement Policy. The Japanese Collection is strong in history, literature, and social science, particularly those of the Edo and Meiji periods.

        The Korean collection has been the smallest in the East Asian Collection in part because I.U. started to offer a four-year program in language, culture, and history for Korean studies only in recent years. However, there is a growing interest in Korean culture and its relation with the rest of East Asia and the U.S. The Libraries are currently increasing our collection development on Korean language, education, political history and science, literature, and the social sciences in general.

        Materials in areas such as pure science and technology will be considered if recommended by faculty as essential to the teaching curriculum.

      4. Collection locations
        The East Asian Collection is located on the 8th floor of the General Collection of the Main Library. It houses monographs, bound periodicals, and newspapers in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages, and a reference collection for East Asian studies. The East Asian Collection is accessible when the Main Library is open. An extensive collection of Western language resources on East Asia is shelved on other floors of the General Collection. Newspapers are located in the Area Studies Newspaper Reading Room on the 4th floor of the Undergraduate Library. East Asia-related media and periodicals are shelved in the Current Periodicals Collection. Microfilms are kept in the Government Information, Maps and Microform Services. Tibetan materials are included in the Tibetan Collection, which is located on the 9th floor of the General Collection. In addition, thousands of East Asian materials are shelved in the Auxiliary Library Facility (ALF), a remote storage facilities on the Bloomington campus.
  2. Scope of Coverage
      The East Asian Collection continues to acquire newly published core materials in East Asian Studies, with special emphasis on topics related to the teaching and research needs of the faculty and students in EALC. In general, the scope of coverage to be given particular attention in collection development includes:

      Catalogs, Bibliographies, Indexes, etc
      Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, etc.
      Fine Arts
      Music history
      Political science
      Publication and Printing

    1. Languages collected and excluded
      Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

    2. Geographical areas covered and excluded
      China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and peripheral regions related to China and Japan.

    3. Chronological periods covered and excluded
      From antiquity to the present, with emphasis on special periods. In the Chinese Collection, the emphasis is on the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1912) dynasties. In the Japanese Collection, the focus is on the Edo (1600-1868) and Meiji (1868-1912) periods. In the Korean Collection, the emphasis on the modern history (1910- ).

    4. Dates of publication of materials collected; current vs. retrospective coverage
      Chiefly current publications, with some retrospective collecting, especially reprints of earlier Chinese and Japanese collections.

    5. Formats collected and excluded
      Chiefly monographs (including reference tools, large sets, etc.), key journals, and selected newspapers, microfilms, audio/video cassettes, CD-ROMs, databases, etc. in the humanities and social sciences. Nonprint materials are collected if they represent important research sources not available in the print format.
  3. Collecting Responsibility
    The Librarian for the East Asian Studies is the primary collection manager, and collaborates with the other subject librarians for Business, Comparative Literature, Political Science, Fine Arts, Government Documents, Film Studies, History, and Reference.

  4. Related Collections
    East Asian materials are also collected by the Fine Arts Library, which has approximately 32,000 slides and 1,500 photographs on East Asian subjects, and hundreds of museum catalogs and reproductions of scrolls from China and Japan; the Archives of Traditional Music, which contain around 1,450 audio recordings of East Asian music; the Kinsey Institute Library known for its over 100 East Asian vernacular volumes on erotic literature; and the Charles Boxer Collection, held in the Lilly Library, which contains over 100 rare items on Japan from the country's early contact with the West (1542-1800), and some Chinese wood-block books printed by Jesuits in China during the 17th and 18th centuries; the Map Library owns unique maps of China and Japan; and the School of Business Library collects titles related to businesses in East Asia.

  5. Principal Sources of Supply and Major Selection Tools
    Most materials are selected from catalogs, review periodicals, and blurbs mailed (surface and Internet) from major book dealers, of which the following are the most important:

    China - Cathay Bookshop

    China International Books Trading Co.

    China National Publications Import & Export

    China National Publishing Industry Trading Co.

    Guangxi Normal University Press

    Zhonghua Book Company

    Hong Kong -
    The Chinese University Press

    Joint Publishing Co.,

    Japan - Isseido Bookseller (for out-of-print materials)

    Japan Publications Trading Co.

    Kinokuniya Bookstores

    Korea - Panmun Book Co.,

    Taiwan - China Post

    Lexis Book Co.

    Sun Crown Chinese Materials Selling Service Center

    In addition, titles are selected from bibliographies or journal articles, and ordered from one of the above vendors. The collection manager reads reviews from various East Asian journals and catalogs, and studies class syllabi to help with the selection decision. The collection manager also solicits recommendations, particularly of large sets and electronic resources, from faculty and graduate students.

    The East Asian Collection generally relies on the Blackwell approval plans for the purchase of Western language materials in East Asian studies. Materials are also selected from various catalogues and blurbs distributed by publishers.

  6. Preservation
    1. Criteria for selection for preservation and/or mass deacidification
      • Collections that are acidic, but not yet brittle.
      • Collections that possess long-term research value.
      • Collections of significance to the mission of Indiana University Libraries.
      • Collections that will be retained in their original format for the foreseeable future.
      Around 4,000 volumes of Chinese books were included in the 2001 Mass Deacidification Project based on the above criteria. Most of them are Chinese monographic sets and individual titles (O.C. AC149-DS753) frequently used as primary sources (they become rare and hard to replace).

      The ALF project presents a good opportunity to review the preservation condition of the collection. Brittle and partially damaged books will be routed to Preservation for repair. After the repair, depending on usage, they may be recommended as ALF candidates.

    2. High-priority areas of the collection for preservation review and treatment
      Most of the materials published in East Asia between the 1920's and the early 1980's, particularly those of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan eventually need some preservation treatment to ensure that they will be available for future users. This is primarily due to the high proportion of acidic paper produced at that period. The collection manager for East Asian Studies works with the Preservation Librarian to identify problems and to select methods to preserve materials.
  7. Selection Criteria for ALF
    Here are selected ALF guidelines prepared for the collection managers:
    1. Ceased, cancelled, and indexed serials will be reviewed for possible transfer.
    2. Long serial runs will be given priority for transfer. For example, most of the back issues of the bound periodicals before 2000, especially government publications, will be recommended as ALF candidates.
    3. Duplicates and journals that are spotty will be sent to ALF.
    4. For East Asian monographs, spreadsheets based on circulation usage data were requested as a selection criteria. ALF Selectors' Form are used for materials not included in the spreadsheets.
    5. Brittle and damaged titles not in high-demand will be sent to ALF.
    EALC faculty are updated on the progress of the ALF project. Through the EALC listserv, faculty provide input on the selection criteria.

  8. Digital Projects
    1. Criteria for selection for digitization
      The criteria are based on conventional selection and preservation concerns common to all formats:
      • Rare and unique materials (ie, books published before 1795),
      • High advocacy for conversion from faculty,
      • With preservation problem (ie, risk of damage, or loss due to high use, or physical deterioration).
      Some of the criteria are based on conventional selection and preservation considerations common to all formats; others arise from the opportunities and constraints unique to digital technologies.

    2. Priorities for collections to be digitized
      Materials which represent the unique and special focus of the Collection.
  9. Other Resources and Libraries
    On campus:
    Fine Arts Library, Kinsey Institute Library, GIMSS, and the Folklore Collection.

    On the Web:
    Many of the electronic resources listed in the IU Libraries' Website ( are helpful guides and research tools for faculty and students in East Asian studies. They are oftentimes acquired through recommendations from faculty and collaborations with other subject librarians. Preferences are given to electronic resources meeting the following criteria:
    • Full-text resources
    • Internet access via campus IP address
    • No password or ID required at login.
    The East Asian Collection Webpage is linked to the Council on East Asian Libraries Website (, which is directly linked to major East Asian libraries in North America. In addition, the East Asian Collection Webpage is linked to the Web sites of major academic and national libraries and programs of electronic resources in China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

  10. Consortial Agreements
    As a member of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), Indiana University continues to participate in the Japan Journal Access Project, a document delivery project with Japanese libraries that are members of Japan's Association of National University Libraries. This project allows us to access research materials published in Japan. Details of the project can be located at:

    As an active member of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), Indiana University participates in consortia activities, including database licensing.

East Asian Collecion Home Page

Revised April 2012

last updated: 4/20/2012