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Bulletin of the European Association of Sinological Librarians


Editor: Charles Aylmer, Cambridge University Library





Libraries have long been wanting to avoid the repetition of the laborious cataloguing, indexing and classifying of one and the same book by each and every
library. One must bear in mind that the average costs for purchasing a book are
lower than the costs of processing it. (The apportioned costs for cataloging one CJK title amounted to $70 in 1992!) For this reason they wished to share the processing results of the one library with all others.
The practical US Americans were the first to develop a model for inter-library cooperation. The Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, sold its catalogue cards to all libraries willing to buy them in order to save on cataloguing costs.
Catalogue cards for books in non-roman script have also been produced for special collections serving the needs of users from strong minorities, e.g. the Chinese Americans. The major demand in Europe for such catalogue cards comes from another quarter. It comes rather from linguists such as Arabists, Indologists, Sinologists, Japanologists and Koreanists. Therefore, one of the large research libraries in Germany, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB) in Munich, subscribed to the CJK (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) card service. With rapid progress in data processing of roman and vernacular scripts, there were plans already by the end of the 1970's to replace the card service with electronic union catalogues.
For this purpose a large mainframe was installed at the Stanford University in California and the members of the Research Libraries Group commenced to put in records of books and serials but also of scores, sound recordings, maps and archival materials by interactive telecommunication lines. Each title is described only once. Whenever a librarian finds a book he wants to catalogue in the RLIN database he only has to add the call number designating where the book will be stacked and retrieved in his library. Then all participants in North America and from overseas can find this record online, and be informed from where the title can be borrowed by interlibrary loan, if necessary. Other materials than books may also be found by author, title, subject and keyword searches and it is no longer necessary to manually file all the pertaining cards, which saves a quite a lot of time and manpower.
Because of this smart and elegant replacement for the LC card service the BSB obtained an interactive access line to RLIN in 1990 as a third European participant besides the British Library and the Bibliothèque Nationale. Now records of vernacular East Asian books (meanwhile about 10,200) Munich has put in are visible after overnight processing also in Heidelberg, USA and Canada. However, searches in RLIN are not free of charge and searching strategies are rather sophisticated, which restricts utilization of RLIN virtually to professors and post-graduates. Thus the BSB had to embark on a challenging innovation project by ordering Transtech Taiwan to develop an OPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue) for East Asian vernacular languages. This CJK OPAC, called TOTALS (Technically Opulent TRANSTECH Automation Library System), is working since November 1992 and seems to be the first one outside of Taiwan as well as the first one to allow practical downloading from RLIN's CJK records datapool, which still is the largest in the world. Besides granting a free and user-friendly access, it is quite reassuring to Munich's staff to know that their holdings are no longer stored and backed up in far away California only.
Furthermore it can be operated also autonomously or switched to alternative sources of data import. Thus it makes up for most of the drawbacks of using RLIN in Europe which have been described by John Cayley in BEASL No. 3.
Meanwhile the renowned Harvard Yenching Library boasting of the largest East Asian vernacular holdings outside East Asia has intensively tested TOTALS, and is looking for funds to provide its students with this system which allows the graphical, phonetical or combined graphic-phonetical input of Chinese characters on a redesigned small keyboard.
When it comes to automation and "telemation" in Europe, EASL (see BEASL No. 5) has recommended using a Chinese Allegro-C application. As soon as such a network is established a promising data-base of European CJK holdings might grow. `The Allegro catalogues of Berlin, Heidelberg, and Oxford had all made substantial advances in the past year, though continued to operate independently in every major way (in matters of format, character coding, romanizations, and cataloging conventions)' (David Helliwell in: Acta of the 13th. Annual Conference of EASL, Rome, 9-11 Sept., 1993.) However, scholars will perhaps even then still feel a strong need to search in OCLC's and RLIN's (1 million CJK titles) tremendous holdings.
Furthermore, the most striking feature of Munich's new CJK OPAC proves to be the quick and flexible subject access to vernacular holdings which Berlin's and Munich's small staffs could not offer, so far. Easily derivable RLIN records mostly have many subject headings reflecting the bi-lingual knowledge of so many North American colleagues of East Asian descent.
One might also consider using RLIN's classifications for book selection (see: Alfons Dufey: `Plan einer automatisierten CJK-Erwerbung und Erschliessung an der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek', in: Chinesisch und Computer No. 6, 1991.) But, so far, searches for book titles by truncated classification are still not possible in RLIN so that book selection by class from the RLIN database cannot be effected. Therefore, Munich had to give blanket orders with specific acquisition profiles to East Asian book sellers. This turns out to be even more practical and labour-saving than our original plan for automated acquisition. For instance, almost all new Japanese publications delivered according to our blanket orders have ISBN numbers and can be easily cataloged by deriving a record from RLIN. Another strong point of the RLIN-TOTALS combination turned out to be the option of retroconverting conventional card entries with high speed. Our overall experience is that we are rather happy with this `telematic' configuration in Munich and other sinological institutions in Southern Germany try hard to get an interactive access to RLIN-CJK.
It is still sort of satisfying to see how Chinese records created or derived by our cataloguers, following a PASS command, wander from RLIN screens to the TOTALS screens and reappear there in a different look, e.g. in the card format. The local system can also print neat catalog cards which we appreciate for additions to our card catalog of reference books. By the way, TOTALS even has some rare characters we sometimes come across which are not yet even in RLIN's huge thesaurus.
It is a pity that we still do not know if RLIN's new customer oriented program EUREKA is going to meet the European users' requirements. It is my impression that, from the scholarly user's view, both RLIN-TOTALS and Allegro-C network should co-exist in Germany and should be made convertible to one another. As a first step, also Allegro-C records should be displayed on our TOTALS workstations. This seems only feasible for the romanized parts as there is neither a common code, format, transcription, nor cataloging conventions for the different Chinese Allegro applications. Thus the flexibility of this system can easily turn out to become a severe drawback and all these incompatibilities might not decrease when Allegro is eventually applied also to Japanese and Korean records.
What does RLIN-TOTALS cost in Munich? Local CJK System: Motorola CPU ($24,000) + 6 Sinostations ($36,000) = $60,000. RLIN Data Import (Fiscal 1992/93): 10,000 searches ($7,200) + annual CJK Licence, etc. ($620) + Telecommunications (dedicated line $8,892 per year, 3 MSWs @ $247 per month) = $16.712

Alfons Dufey


A grant by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation of over US$80,000 has enabled the Institute of Chinese Studies at Heidelberg University to obtain the database of the 25 Dynastic Histories, developed and input at the Computing Centre of the Academia Sinica, Nankang, Taiwan.
The database, comprising 40 million characters in BIG-5 coding plus a specially designed retrieval program, was installed on a UNIX Sun Sparc10 workstation in October 1993. In order to access the database within its UNIX environment and work with it, various PC workstations of the Institute's Novell network had to be re-configured to work with a Chinese version of TELNET. Now it is possible to search single or composite terms in one or a range of titles (only the Xin Yuan Shi is not included) from all workstations of the local area network (LAN). The result of the search process may be downloaded to a file or sent directly to the network printer. Owing to the capacities of the UNIX processor and operating system simultaneous searches from a number of users can be handled at a fast rate (searching the whole database for a certain term, complicated or not, takes only about 60 seconds).
Since no contract has yet been signed between the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, Academia Sinica and the Sinologisches Seminar, the database cannot yet be made public to a broader range of scholars throughout Europe. Technically speaking there is no problem: the machine has an IP number, one would only need the Chinese version of TELNET (available free of charge from the National Chiao-t'ung University in Taiwan) and a piece of software that handles BIG-5. However, the Institute is tied to arrangements (which most probably will be reflected in the final contract) discussed with Dr. Kuan Tung-kuei, head of the Department of History & Philology of Academia Sinica, according to which the Institute would have to charge a certain amount of money, calculated on an hourly basis, to users not belonging to Heidelberg University. Once negotiations are concluded the interested public will be informed of the result.
The use and functions of this database need not be explained here. There is a short report on it by Yeen-mei Wu in CEAL Bulletin No. 94 (1991), pp. 21-24.

Thomas Hahn



The following fourteen EASL members took part in a tour of China from 17th to 29th April 1994: Austria: Basilia Fang (Wien); France: Nathalie Monnet (Paris); Germany: Ina Asim (Würzburg), Li-yun Banck-Hsieh (Köln), Silvia Ebner von Eschenbach (Würzburg), Cordula Gumbrecht (Berlin), Thomas Hahn (Heidelberg; Group Leader), Eva Schrepf (Köln), Diane Shiu-kwan Strobl (München), Weng Onn Loke (Hamburg); Great Britain: Laura Rivkin (London), Sue Small (London); Netherlands: Joyce Yung-tzu Wu (Leiden); Vatican City: Dong Yu.
The highlights of the tour were as follows.
Beijing China National Publication Industry Trading Corporation (CNPITC). The Group was briefed by the President, Mr Zhou Hongli. The Corporation was the first post-1949 Chinese organization to sell books to libraries located outside the country and employs some 200 staff, serving the needs of over 100 libraries scattered around the world. The Corporation has its own publishing imprint: Xiandai Chubanshe.
State Education Commission. The Group was invited to the offices of the Commission, where Mr Wang Dongli, Deputy Director of the Foreign Affairs Department, gave a brief report on the current situation of higher education in China.
National Library of China. The Library holds 16,700,000 volumes, including some 260,000 rare books and manuscripts, has 2,000 staff and maintains a publication exchange programme with 1,000 overseas libraries in 140 countries and an inter-library loans service with 260 libraries in 30 countries. Ms Sun Beixin, Deputy Director, briefed the Group on progress being made in the utilization of new technology in Chinese libraries. The National Library has an agreement with the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), and all Chinese books published during the Republican period (1912-1949) have been entered into the OCLC database. We were shown the catalogue area, the issuing point and the Optical Disk System Reading Room. The staff declined to demonstrate the CD-ROM system.
Peking University Library. We were received by Professor Dai Longji, First Deputy Director. There are 4.3 million items in stock, including 160,000 rare books. The library has a large serials collection and is strong in periodicals published during the Cultural Revolution. The acquisition and cataloguing of books and periodicals is automated, and the Library co-operates with the Research Libraries Information Network (RLlN). Bibliographical records of rare books are entered into the RLIN database.
Centre for Documentation and Information Library of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Professor He Peizhong, Vice-Director of the Department of Scientific Research Management, informed us that the Academy is comprised of 30 institutes, served by 34 libraries. The Center for Documentation is involved in plans to rationalise this situation. Collections will be centralized with a view to effecting cost reductions and improving services to users. We toured the Library but unfortunately there was no one available to demonstrate the Library's automated systems.
First Historical Archive. The Director, Mr Xu Yipu, talked to the group about the history of the Archive which was formed in 1925 from the Imperial Palace Archive. In 1980 the Archive was opened to the public and foreigners. Scholars from abroad have their own study carrels. Many records have been microfilmed and some documents published in facsimile. There is also a translation service for visiting scholars. The Group toured the exhibition room where we saw artifacts connected with various dynasties in China. We were shown over the archives and observed the work of the conservation section.
China International Book Trading Corporation (CIBTC). The Group was entertained to dinner by the President, Mr Liu Chuanwei, and visited the Corporation's exhibition room and microfilming facilities.
Nanjing Jinling kejing chu. The Director, Mr Guan Enkun, told us that this Buddhist publishing house, established in 1866, is the only centre in China where the art of wood-block printing is still carried out on a commercial scale. We saw original Qing Dynasty wood-blocks being repaired and were shown how books are printed and bound. The work is very labour-intensive and is carried out by women, with the exception of the conservation of ancient documents, which is a male preserve.
Second Historical Archive. Mr Wan Renyuan, Deputy Director, received the Group. The Archive was set up in 1951 and specializes in records of the Republican period (1912-1949). Since 1979 it has been involved in the publishing of microforms and hard-copy facsimiles of its holdings. The Group was particularly impressed by a technique for the conservation of newspapers using a net-like material developed in house. Mr Wan informed us that details of this technique are secret. Nanjing University Library. We were met by Mr Chen Yuanhuan, Head of the Acquisition Department. Automated book acquisition and cataloguing procedures for Chinese-language materials were introduced in 1992. However, there is no Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) and readers must use a card catalogue. The Library has contacts with libraries in Taiwan and in Hong Kong.
Nanjing Library. This is the public library serving Jiangsu Province and is the third most important library in China, after the National Library and the Shanghai Library. Mr Lu Zibo, Deputy Director, introduced us to its resources. The Library is noted for its collections of rare books, now being systematically microfilmed as part of a national conservation programme. The Nanjing Library is the only library we saw in China that has a reading room for blind people.
Jiangsu Publications Import and Export Corporation. Mr Zhu Zaiwen, Vice President of Jiangsu General Publishing House, gave a brief account of the history of the Corporation and also gave us his assessment of the state of the publishing industry in Jiangsu Province. The Corporation hosted a splendid banquet in the famous Jinshan Restaurant.
Shanghai China Science and Technology Book Corporation. This organisation, formerly known as Shangwu Yinshuguan (The Commercial Press), sells books and `high tech' electronic equipment.
Shanghai Library. The Group was met by Professor Zhu Qingzuo, the Director. The Library was established in 1952, has seven branches, a staff of 700 and 10 million books, including 1.5 million titles categorised as `ancient' and 160,000 as `rare', including Ming and Qing manuscripts. The oldest book dates from the Northern Wei period (386-534). The Library has notable holdings of genealogies, calligraphy, epigraphy, 1930s gramophone records, recordings of local opera and pre-1949 newspapers and other periodicals. Many of the rare books and manuscripts in the Shanghai Library's holdings have been copied in microform and other texts published in hard copy. The Library's staff have compiled many bibliographies and indexes relating to its rich collections. One of the cataloguers informed us that if computer software were used for cataloguing the Library's rare books and manuscripts, 60,000 Chinese characters would be needed in order adequately to cope with the complexity of the task. The warm and humid climate of Shanghai is bad for storing the many rare books in the Library's collection, and the Shanghai Library has invented a microwave device for killing insects harmful to documents, for which it has won a prize. Fudan University Library. The Director, Professor Qin Zenggu, was waiting to receive us and the meeting was videoed by the Library's staff. The Library holdings total some 3.4 million volumes, including 360,000 Chinese ancient texts, and 60,000 volumes of rare books. The Library maintains an active foreign exchange programme and has links with thirty foreign libraries. Through exchange programs some ot the University's librarians have traveled abroad and assisted in the cataloguing of Chinese rare books held in foreign libraries. The Group toured the Rare Book Division and met its head, Mr Wu Ge, who told us that the Library houses the collections of over ten private libraries, with the original cabinets and library furniture relating to these private collections. The Library will be publishing the catalogue of its rare book collection in three years time. Fudan University Library has adopted a Japanese computer system for the management of its acquisition, cataloguing, circulation and financial control systems. At the moment, the staff are busy preparing barcodes for books and readers' tickets. The Library is hoping to go `on-line' in May 1994. If this system is successful it will be the first automated library system in China available to readers.
Shanghai Guji Chubanshe. This well-known publisher of classical Chinese literature was established in 1956. The Group discussed with the staff problems arising from inconsistencies in the company's editorial policy and the physical quality of its productions.
Xujiahui (Siccawei) Library. This famous former Jesuit Library of Western-language material, mostly relating to Christianity and missionary activity, is now a branch of the Shanghai Library. The Group visited its Reading Room and were permitted to consult the catalogue.
Ningbo Tianyi Ge Library. The Library was built between 1561-1566 by Fan Qin, a Ming dynasty official, to house his private collection of 70,000 volumes. It stands amidst beautiful gardens containing rock formations, pavilions and exquisite plantations of bamboo. Over the years the collection suffered from depradation by corrupt officials, insects and the climate, but since 1949 over 3,000 titles been restored to the Library and the contents of a number of private libraries have been deposited, bringing the holdings to 300,000 volumes, of which 70,000 are rare books, mainly Ming manuscripts and xylographs. The Library is especially strong in local history and Ming examination records. It has published an extensive range of bibliographies. The Library welcomes researchers and is keen to see its rich resources exploited to the full. The present Director is Mr Luo Zhaoping.
Concluding remarks:
In the course of our visit to China we formed the firm impression that the government-funded libraries and archives had very good levels of staffing. Indeed, some librarians stated that their institutions were over-staffed. However, libraries often suffered from a lack of funds to purchase foreign stock and to buy new technology. This problem was particularly noticeable in Shanghai and Nanjing. Librarians noted that business enterprises were able to find the necessary funds to sponsor visits by Hong Kong singers and film stars etc, to China. Libraries were simply not a top priority when it came to the allocation of scarce foreign exchange funds.
China has rich library resources but these are not immediately available to ordinary people. All library users require a recommendation from their danwei (official work unit) before admission to a library is granted. Professor Qin Zenggu of Fudan University Library, said à propos of this, `I do not know them; how could I trust them to use the Library?'. However, all the libraries we visited were very welcoming to foreign librarians and overseas scholars.
Many libraries are actively seeking to automate their acquisition, cataloguing and library management systems. The National Library of China has developed China MARC, and its Computer Development Centre has developed the Wenjin Library Management System. European Sinological librarians should monitor the testing and evaluation of this system when it is introduced into Chinese libraries; they will want to incorporate bibliographical records created in China into their own institutions' catalogues, avoiding the costly duplication of cataloguing effort that now occurs. China is using computers in the production of its newspapers, and one `spin-off' of this is that China is exporting CD-ROM versions of important newspapers. However, Chinese libraries did not appear to be making a great deal of use of CD-ROM systems within their own institutions. Chinese librarians and archivists are keen to be involved in exchange programmes with overseas institutions; they regard periodical exchange programmes as a way of partially overcoming the problem of shortage of foreign exchange.
Thanks are due the President and staff of CNPITC for acting as hosts, arranging visits and providing transportation within China, and to Thomas Hahn for organising the tour.

Sue Small


(HONG KONG, 21-28 AUGUST 1993)

The 9th IAOL Meeting was organized by Dr. Kan Lai-ping (President), Julia Chan (General Secretary) and other Hong Kong members of the Association. The panels were held in auditoriums of Hong Kong University. Six panels had been arranged, with three to four speakers each:
1. Hong Kong Studies
2. Libraries in China - Past, Present and Future
3. Asian Librarianship in the 20th Century
4. Orientalia - Themes and Bibliographic Resources
5. Conservation, Promotion & Automation of Oriental Materials
6. Automation and Networking of Oriental Library Resources

Besides talks being delivered at the various panels three demonstrations were held:
a) SULCMIS II (a library software developed at the Computing Center of Shenzhen
University Library)
b) the Digitized Document Delivery Project of Ohio State University Library
c) construction of a CJ-database with Allegro-C
The sessions were attended by approximately 70 to 90 persons from all over the world, including Russia, Australia, PRC, Taiwan, USA and Europe. As IAOL meets every three years in conjunction with ICANAS in various places (the next meeting will be held in Budapest in 1997) and officers are only elected for one term, a new President and Secretary were elected. Dr. William Wang of the University of Southern California was elected President until 1997. Dr. Wang and myself agreed on entering some kind of co-operation between IAOL and EASL. The exchange of materials and information (such as the IAOL Bulletin) may be followed by joint activities.
The articles read out at the panels will be published in a special issue of the IAOL Bulletin. It is therefore unnecessary to go into the details of the presentations. However, a number of interesting news items on networking and automation in the PRC arose in the course of the conference, including the following:
1. No public library in China, including the National Library, is as yet available online.
2. It appears that there is no nationwide cataloguing standard. Although CNMARC
is widely employed, quite a number of major libraries use USMARC or UNIMARC. While the differences may not be really that significant, this fact is nevertheless an obstacle to the exchange of data or derived cataloguing.
3. In terms of projects concerning automation a number of impressive undertakings were discussed. Besides significant software and hardware devopments at the university libraries of Shantou, Shenzhen, Tianjin and the National Library in Peking, the following bibliographic data projects are worthy of note:
a) a rare book project underway in Peking in close cooperation with the RLG;
b) a "joint venture" with OCLC to catalogue all publications of the Republican era (1911-1949);
c) a union catalogue of all Western books in China, including a Western periodical database;
d) various retrospective conversion projects of either local or topical specifications.
In conclusion, the 9th IAOL Meeting was a professionally organized event with highly illuminating presentations and discussions. I hope that during the next
conference in Budapest (1997) many EASL members will have the opportunity to participate.

Thomas Hahn



By Marina Battaglini

The original nucleus of the Chinese collection preserved in the National Central Library in Rome consists of the collection kept by the Jesuits in the Bibliotheca Major of the Collegio Romano. After 1873, when by law religious congregations were suppressed, the collection passed to the Italian State and hence to the National Library in Rome.
The collection came into being as a result of the numerous relations between the Jesuits and the Chinese Empire which began in 1583, when Father Matteo Ricci went to China, and lasted until 1773, when the Order was abolished. Relations were restored in 1814 when Pope Pius VII re-established the Society of Jesus, whose work in China was not, however, as fruitful as it had previously been. The collection mainly consists works propagating the Catholic faith: sacred texts, lives of the saints, of Christ and of the Virgin Mary, and prayer books. There are also works containing Western scientific and technical knowledge.
Two small groups of books, one from the church of San Bartolomeo all'Isola Tiberina, the other from the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, testify to the missionary work of the Franciscans. It is thought that the books marked as belonging to the library of San Bartolomeo became part of the Chinese collection in the short period when the library of the San Bartolomeo Convent was transferred to the Vittorio Emanuele Library in April 1879, to be returned to San Bartolomeo in December 1880. It should be borne in mind that the church of San Bartolomeo had founded a College to prepare Franciscan missionaries for the Far East, along the lines of the Collegio di San Pietro in Montorio which prepared missionaries for the Middle East and Arab countries.
Agostino Sardi di Carpineto was most likely the owner of a small volume of a religious character which he himself signed and which also bears the seal of the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli. He belonged to the order of Friars Minor of Rome Province and had studied at the College of San Bartolomeo all'Isola Tiberina between 1840 and 1842, when he went to Hong Kong. From there he went to the provinces of Shanxi and Shandong where he remained until 1848, when he left China and entered the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli.
The last group of works of ecclesiastical origin are those which bear the seal of Ludovico Besi, Apostolic Vicar in Shandong and Administrator of the diocese of Nanking from 1837 to 1847. The most important item which belonged to him is Ben cao pin hui jing yao, a richly-illustrated and rare manuscript pharmacopoeia of the Ming period.
At the end of the last century, the library of Carlo Valenziani, professor of oriental languages and literature at Rome University, was acquired partly by purchase and partly by donation. This collection largely consists of classical literary texts, philosophy and history. Valenziani was appointed Honorary Keeper of the collection of Chinese and Japanese books in 1881. He began to reorder the collection and, most importantly, started to compile a catalogue of the books from the Jesuits and Franciscans. But the problem of ordering the collection and above all compiling a catalogue was becoming increasingly more difficult, particularly in the early 1900s, when the Ministry of War and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs donated more Chinese volumes to the National Library.
The volumes donated by the Ministry of War were acquired during the Boxer Rebellion, when Italian troops seized nearly 4,000 volumes, which the Italian Army Command in Peking forwarded to Rome several years later. The second group of donations came from the Italian Legation at Peking, where one of the Italian secretaries, Baron Vitale, had put together a small collection, an inventory of which, compiled when the collection was transferred to Rome, is preserved in the Historical Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The collection consists of 282 titles in 2,641 volumes, mainly classical works of Chinese literature and history.
It was only at the end of the 1950s that another acquisition was made: the private library of Guido Perris, who had worked in China and Japan in the 1930s as an official of the International Institute of Agriculture (now called FAO). This collection comprised some hundred books on agriculture and natural history; however, the most important part of this collection is the richly illustrated ancient Japanese texts.
The National Library's most recent acquisition, in spring 1992, was the library of the Italia-Cina Association which comprises some 6,000 volumes, 600 serials and 50 newspapers. This collection is important, as for more tan thirty years the association collected materials and publications on Chinese society and culture of recent decades, which now are very difficult to obtain.
In all, the original collection (excluding the donation from the Italia-Cina Association) consists of about 1,500 works in about 15,000 volumes, for which author and subject catalogues have been compiled.
The Chinese collection, together with the Japanese and Arabic collections, is stored in the Manuscripts and Rare Books Department, where only authorized members of the public may consult ancient or rare books (i.e. those dating from before 1850). The Librarian has to give permission for the reproduction of this material; only microfilm or photographic reproduction is allowed (this service is provided by the Library).


By Sergei Kazantsev

The oriental language collections of the Russian State Library (formerly Lenin State Library) are among the richest in the world. The Library has its origins in the Rumyantsev Public Library which was established in 1862 and was based on private collections. The Library's Oriental Department was set up in l944, and at present holdings in Asian and African languages number more than 500,000 items.
The Chinese collections of the Russian State Library comprise over 120,000 volumes, 640 serial titles, and 154 newspapers. The collection includes works on different branches of science, technology, literture and art, but is strongest in the humanities. About 74% of the holdings are xylographs.
The history of the Chinese collection began with the acquisition of the collection of K. A. Skachkov (1821-83) by the Rumyantsev Museum. In 1848 Skachkov was attached to the Russian Orthodox Mission in Peking as an expert in order to establish a magnetic and meteorological observatory. Having learned Chinese, he translated Chinese astronomical works into Russian, and later remained in China as a Russian Consul. The Skachkov Collection is a most valuable collection of about 1,000 voulmes of Chinese xylographs. Other xylographs came from the libraries of the Russian Diplomatic and Orthodox Missions. These are mostly works on Chinese geography, history and philosophy as well as classical Chinese literature.
The xylograph collection of the Library is extraordinarily diverse, including books in `concertina' and `butterfly' form. The earliest xylograph in the Library is a fourteenth-century book on weiqi, of which only later editions are recorded in Chinese libraries. The Library has a number of other materials, including some formerly prohibited by imperial decree, which according to published catalogues are not extant or very rare even in China. Other holdings include palace editions, sumptuously encased in brocade covers with fastenings of ivory, jasper and coral, as well as trade editions badly printed on coarse paper, among which are priceless specimens of Chinese folklore.
Of special interest among publications acquired before the formation of the People's Republic of China are those produced during the 1920s-1940s, both in the `liberated' areas of China and the territory controlled by the Kuomintang, including illegal publications that are considered to be bibliographic rarities even in China.
Between 1956 and 1960 the Lenin State Library received about 2,500 Chinese books annually, including works by contemporary Chinese writers as well as new editions of ancient and medieval texts, but during the so-called `Cultural Revolution' (1966-69) no books were received from the PRC. At present publications are obtained from the PRC, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South-east Asia. In the mid-1980s the Oriental Department received by exchange from China about 700 volumes a year, but book-exchange has been reduced greatly due to the lack of publications printed in Russia in European languages, and acquisition has become haphazard.
The Russian State Library has only card catalogues. The Library is engaged now in the creation of an on-line catalogue, but the Oriental Department requires a local network with special software, including that for processing Chinese books. At present the Oriental Department has a staff of twelve, all of whom are both orientalists and experts in cataloguing, classification, acquisition and reference work.


By Bent Lerbæk Pedersen

The Royal Library (Det Kongelige Bibliotek) was founded in 1653 by Frederik III, King of Denmark (1609-1670) and opened to the public in 1793. The old collection contained a few Chinese manuscripts and books, but it is impossible to identify the titles or even say how many there were. In 1836 the Director of the Library made a survey of the manuscript collection and noted that the Library possessed 50 Chinese, Japanese and similar manuscripts. It is not clear whether the Library also had printed books from the Far East and we do not know if all the manuscripts really were hand written or also included printed books. The Oriental Department (Orientalsk Afdeling) was created in 1925 and today holds about 5,270 manuscripts and 80,000 titles of printed books.
The Danish kings retained their own private book collections, some books from which were by Royal decree transferred to the Library in 1782. They included two editions of the Geng zhi tu (Illustrated Agriculture and Sericulture), one printed and one in watercolour, probably dating from the first part of the 18th century. Some other drawings or watercolours of Chinese craftsmen, tradesmen, ships, Western trading stations, the porcelain trade and punishments originate in the Canton area and are in the well known European-inspired style of South China. Two sets of watercolours are signed by Yu-qua and these and the others were most probably done in the latter part of the 18th century. [1]
In 1796 the Danish historian and author P.F. Suhm (1728-98) sold his collection of manuscripts and printed books to the Royal Library. Among the printed books was the Hanlin edition of the Kangxi zi dian, which he had received from the first Danish sinologist, P.F. Mourier (1746-1836). Mourier had probably acquired the dictionary in Canton or Macao, where he stayed between 1770 and 1785. His other Chinese books did not remain in Denmark very long, because he sent them to the German sinologist H.J. Klaproth (1738-1835) in the early l9th century. [2]
Two other printed Chinese books, or rather fragments, arrived in the Library in l827 from the Royal Chamber of Curiosities. The books in question are the illustrated editions of Shui hu zhuan and San guo zhi. The illustrations inspired decorations in Danish castles in the early 17th century. [3] The Library has two other illustrated fragments with printed in the late Ming period: Yue fu yu shu ying, dated 1599 and connected to the Ming compiler of literature Huang Wenhua and part of a collection of drama stories, Gu jin quan qi.
In the years 1845-47 the Danish corvette Galathea undertook an expedition around the world. The Royal instructions to the expedition included the collection of ethnographic objects and books. The corvette also reached China and called on Hong Kong, Canton, Amoy and Shanghai in 1846. A small Life of Christ Yesu jiang shi zhuan came to the Library in the latter part of the l9th century with the information that it was brought home by the Galathea. Another Chinese book which can be connected to the expedition is a introduction to the Christian faith disguised as the famous classical primer San zi jing, printed in Hong Kong in 1843. The books were most probably acquired in Hong Kong through the German missionary K.F.A. Gützlaff (1803-1851), who was well received by the expedition. One of the Galathea's ship's doctors acquired 15 Chinese works on medicine, surgery and acupuncture from the English missionary doctor, William Lockhart (1811-96) of Shanghai.
The Library has several early Chinese Bibles, including those printed in Serampore, which was a Danish colony from 1755 until 1845, when it was sold to the British East India Company.
Late last century and in the first part of this century, the Danish Great Northern Telegraph Company took part in the construction of the telegraph network in China. Among the employees there were some who were interested in the culture of their surroundings. One chief telegraphist, Arthur Bollerup Sørensen(1880-1932), made three expeditions to northern China and Tibet early this century. On his second expedition in 1915, he acquired 14 rolls of Dunhuang manuscripts. He had intended to get as close to Lhasa as possible, but due to unrest in the border areas, he travelled to Semipalatinsk instead. Back in Denmark he donated the Dunhuang manuscript rolls to the Library. These included l6 manuscripts altogether, all, apart from one Taoist scripture, Buddhist texts. One of them, a part of the the Hua yan jing lun, seems to be the only copy extant. Two other texts, juan 1 of the Yogacaryabhumi-sastra and juan 1 of Si fen jie ben shu, are also only known from Dunhuang manuscripts. [4]
Sophus Black (1882-1960), a telegraph manager, lived in China for 29 years and in 1925 donated one Manchu and three Chinese works to the Library, including the first juan of Fo ding zun sheng zong chi jing chou (possibly a first impression of 1591) and an album of 5 leaves with lamaistic figures and symbols in watercolour, most likely made in the l9th century.
The core of the Department's Chinese collection is the 550 titles acquired in l920. These books formerly belonged to the Danish sinologist Knud F. Kring, who died in China 1919, and are mainly Chinese classics and commentaries, the Dynastic Histories and works on history and linguistics. In the late 1920s collections of religious texts such as the Dao zang and Xu cang jing were purchased in China. In 1927 the Si bu cong kan was donated by the Danish State Library in Arhus.
The whole Chinese collection was first fully catalogued in 1943. At that time the collection contained about 1,200 titles. The card catalogue was divided into three categories: title, author/publisher and systematic entry. Not all of the titles in the congshu were catalogued and even today only the titles of these collections can be found in the card catalogue.
In October 1947 the Library concluded an exchange agreement with the Nanking Central Library. This exchange only functioned once because of the civil war, but today there are agreements with both the National Library in Peking and the National Central Library in Taipei. Already in 1946 there were plans to send a representative to China to buy books on the spot, but because of financial problems after the Second World War, it was not until 1949 that a library assistant travelled to Hong Kong in order to purchase Chinese books, and managed to buy 279 titles covering a wide range of subjects.
The 1950s were a relatively quiet period for the Library's Chinese section, but it was then that the exchange with Peking and Taipei was established on a firm basis. A small collection of books related to Buddhism was acquired from the widow of the Danish architect J. Prip-Møller (1889-1943), widely known for his work Chinese Buddhist Monasteries (1937). In the early 1960's the Department bought three important congshu: Si bu bei yao, Gu jin tu shu ji cheng and Cong shu ji cheng. With these and some other purchases in that decade the Chinese section of the Oriental Department had finally obtained a collection of basic sinological works needed for classical, philosophical and religious studies. This expansion of the collection was due partly to the growing interest in China and partly to the founding of The East Asian Institute at the University of Copenhagen in 1960.
In the 1970s we received by exchange from the People's Republic of China works covering political issues, including political novels and revolutionary operas, but also some of the dynastic histories and other traditional works. The Department continued to fill in gaps in the collection and was able between 1974 and 1978 to secure the purchase of the Si ku quan shu zhen ben (Series 1-6) and supplement (bieji), published on Taiwan by the Commercial Press. In the 1980s the Royal Library updated its acquisition policy, placing more emphasis on the social sciences. This applied also to the Oriental Department, including the Chinese collection. We try to strike a balance between readers' proposals, the upkeep of our traditional areas and the need for collecting primary sources. In l993 we purchased the Zang wai dao shu.
At present the Chinese collection in the Royal Library contains about 34,000 monograph titles in approximately 52,000 volumes. There are nearly 700 periodical titles, of which about 300 are current. As indicated at the beginning of this article, we do not possess many manuscripts but we have about 150 titles of manuscripts, rare books and prints.

(1) The watercolours are similar to those described in: Craig Clunas, Chinese

Export Watercolours (London, 1984), pp. 24-25, 30-31 and 34-40.

(2) Knud Lundbæk, `Kinesisk con amore: Danskeren P.F. Mouriers sinologiske studier i det 18. aarhundrede, Fund og Forskning XI (Copenhagen, 1964), p. 135.

(3) The identifications have been described in: `Prinsessens lakerede Tarnkammer pa Rosenborg', Nationalmuseets arbejdsmark (Copenhagen, 1989) pp. 137-141.

(4) The manuscripts are described in: Jans O. Pedersen, `The Dunhuang Manuscripts in the Royal Library in Copenhagen', Analecta Hafniensia (Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies Occasional Papers No. 3) (London, 1988), pp. 112-117.


SUE SWEE CHIN SMALL was appointed Assistant Librarian in charge of the China Section of the Library of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, in March 1993, following the departure of Charles d'Orban to take up a curatorial post at Cornell University's East Asian Library. Sue comes from Sarawak, East Malaysia and received her university education in Singapore. She completed a librarianship course in London before joining SOAS as a library assistant.
SOAS Library has one of the most important collections of books, periodicals and archives relating to Asia and Africa and is a national collection for reference and lending material in the social sciences and humanities. The Library has approximately 800,000 volumes, mostly on open access. The Library supports the teaching and research work of the School and its rich resources are open to the School's scholars and suitably qualified external users.
SOAS Library's China Section has the largest collection of materials on modern and contemporary China in the UK and is one of the most important libraries in its field in Europe. The basis of the China collection came from University College and King's College when SOAS was founded in 1917 and includes 15,000 volumes from the private libraries of the missionary Robert Morrison and of the former tutor of the last Emperor of China, Sir Reginald Johnston, who later became a professor in SOAS.
The China Section's collection consists of 175,000 volumes, of which 132,000 items are in Chinese, and includes some 20,000 pamphlets, 12,000 of which are in Western languages. The section covers Hong Kong, Macao, Mongolia, Siberia, and Taiwan, including books written in minority languages. There are also 5,000 sinological works written in Japanese. About 2,000 serials relevant to East Asian studies are stocked, including 500 current titles. The collection includes a separate Chinese law collection, and a considerable amount of material in microform. The most recent growth area is in monographs relating to Chinese local history and good collection of statistical, economic and provincial yearbooks.


Walravens, Hartmut: Catalogue of Chinese Books and Manuscripts in the Library of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine. London: The Wellcome Trust,
1994, pp. xvi+169 ISBN 1-869835-21-2 [[sterling]]Stg 40.00
The Wellcome Institute in London is known for its fine oriental collections, and in this catalogue the richness of its Chinese holdings is displayed for the first time. Nigel Allan, Curator of the collections, contributes a useful introduction which chronicles the Institute's long involvement with China, especially in connection with medical work and the publication of Western medical textbooks in Chinese translation. As expected, early medical and scientific texts comprise the bulk of the collection, but the humanities are also represented, notably by works of ethnographic and religious interest, some of great rarity.
The catalogue, in the tradition of the Institute's publications, is lavishly produced: handsomely bound and printed on art paper. Generous illustrations are scattered throughout the text; these are not merely decorative but also informative, and in one case (No. 91) allow us to correct a surprising error by the cataloguer. There is also an appendix of colour plates. The layout of the text in two narrow columns is not ideal for a reference work, but allows Chinese characters to be inserted unobtrusively in the margins; unfortunately there is no consistency in the supply of characters, and the font used is undistinguished.
In many instances the cataloguer exceeds his brief and provides small dissertations on the item he is describing; four Manchu diplomas (Nos. 197-199) are actually transliterated in full. The descriptions are generally complete and accurate, as far as one can judge, with relatively few obvious errors, apart from occasional misprints and typographical incongruities, no doubt accounted for by the fact that the cataloguer, as he tells us in his Foreword, did most of the work in Berlin. It is strange, however, that he was unable to find the (admittedly rare) character miao (`microbe') (transcribed as `yeh'; see No. 3, footnote 8) in any dictionary; it is found, e.g., on page 181 of Xin bushou da zidian (Shanghai, 1988). The cataloguer's English reads well on the whole, but is sometimes ambiguous and imprecise; he also transliterates Russian in the German fashion (e.g. in Nos 81 and 259), to the confusion of anglophone readers.
This beautiful catalogue of an interesting and hitherto unknown Chinese collection deserves a place in all sinological libraries; it will also be of interest to historians of science and bibliophiles in general.

Charles Aylmer

Jones, William C. (trans.): The Great Qing Code; a new translation.

Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994, pp. xxx+441. ISBN 0-19-825794-5 [[sterling]]Stg 60.00

This version of Da Qing lü represents the labour of a quarter of a century by the translator and his Chinese co-workers. The translation is made from the punctuated, typeset edition of Du li cun yi published in 1970 as No. 8 in the Research Aids Series of the Chinese Materials and Research Aids Service Center, Taipei; this detailed reference is given here because, astonishingly, it is not given in full in the work under review (cf. pp. vi, 29). This text was of course one of the earliest substantial Chinese works ever to be rendered into English, in a selective version by Sir George Staunton (Ta Tsing Leu Lee; being the Fundamental Laws, and a selection from the Supplementary Statutes, of the Penal Code of China, London, 1810). This celebrated work by an eminent sinologue, who was, as is well known, received in audience as a boy by the Emperor Gaozong, is curtly dismissed by the present translator as `essentially useless' (p. v).
The present translation aims to "follow the Chinese text as closely as possible" and "translate almost every Chinese word". These are highly laudable objectives when consistency and accuracy are paramount, but the resulting English text is not always easy to read, and the meaning is sometimes obscured by nests of parentheses in a desperate striving for literalness, when the Chinese is, as Staunton justly observes, "remarkable for its conciseness and simplicity" (p. xxxii). Sir George's object, on the other hand, was "to convey the full meaning of each article and paragraph successively, in appropriate, and, at the same time, intelligible language; in other words, to draw as justly as possible, the middle line between the unfaithfulness and inaccuracy of a free, and the ungracefulness and almost ungrammatical obscurity of a close version" (p. xxxi). The result of these two different approaches may be seen in the following:
Article 386: Bu ying wei. Fan bu ying de wei er wei zhi zhe, tai si shi; shi li zhong zhe, zhang ba shi. (Lü wu zui ming, suo fan shi you qing zhong, ge liang qing er zuo zhi.) (Du li cun yi, Vol. 5, p. 1115)
[Doing] That Which Ought not to be Done. Everyone who does that which ought not to be done will receive 40 strokes of the light bamboo. If the matter is adjudged to be more serious, he will be punished with 80 strokes of the heavy bamboo. (Because [in the cases provided for here] the law does not provide a name for the offence, consider whether the offence is serious or minor and, according to the circumstances, adjudge the penalty [for violation of this article]). (Jones, p. 359)
Improper Conduct not specifically punishable. Whoever is guilty of improper conduct, and such as is contrary to the spirit of the laws, though not a breach of any specific article, shall be punished, at the least, with forty blows; and when the impropriety is of a serious nature, with 80 blows. (Staunton, p. 419)
Jones gives a plain translation of only the lü (code), rigorously excluding the li (precedents), which put flesh on the bones of the code, and which Staunton includes to some extent. Apart from a brief introduction, in which the nature of the Qing code is sketched out, Jones also eschews explanations or background material, beyond occasional footnotes. The code is thus left to speak for itself. Not attempting a strictly legalistic version, Staunton has more latitude for digression and amplification, and with the advantage of personal experience of the Chinese legal system in action, adds contextualising material, based on first-hand observation, which is often essential for a proper understanding of the spirit of the law, as in the following example:
Article 384: Ban zuo za ju. Fan yue ren ban zuo za ju xi wen, bu xu zhuang fen li dai di wang hou fei, ji xian sheng xian xian, zhong chen lie shi shen xiang, wei zhe zhang yi bai. (Du li cun yi, Vol. 5, p. 1114) Theatrical Representations. All musicians and stage-players shall be precluded from representing in any of their performances, Emperors, Empresses, famous princes, ministers, and generals of former ages; and shall be punished with 100 blows for every breach of this law. [Footnote: As the representations here described as prohibited, are in fact in China the favourite and most usual theatric exhibitions, this article of the laws must either be considered to have become obsolete, or to be enforced only so far as may be necessary to confine such exhibitions within the limits approved by government ... ] (Staunton, p. 418)
Theatrical Performances. Those musicians who perform in a theatrical performance are not permitted to dress up as former emperors or empresses, princesses, former holy men, sages, loyal councillors, or heroes. A violator will be punished with 100 strokes of the heavy bamboo. (Jones, p. 358)
One cannot agree too strongly with the translator's remarks (p. 2) about the importance of the study of Chinese law for a rounded understanding of China, and about the need to come to grips with the vast legal literature in Chinese. This translation is a welcome and timely addition to the meagre efforts of Western scholars since Staunton's day; it is to be hoped that the gestation of further contributions will not be as protracted.
Charles Aylmer


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