European Association of Sinological Librarians


BEASL Number 9

Report on an information and acquisition tour to Japan, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and Singapore

by Cordula Gumbrecht

Following the guidelines of the "Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft" (German Research Society, abbr. DFG) concerning the acquisition of literature for a "Sondersammelgebiet" (special subject collection, abbr. "SSG") and in agreement with the colleagues from the East Asia Department of the Bavarian State Library in Munich the State Library in Berlin purchases modern Chinese publications from the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and Singapore published after 1911.
Before going to Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore I went to China to talk to people responsible for the production and distribution of books in order to get at first a general impression of the situation of the Chinese book market.
In Changsha I met Mr. Zhong Shuhe who is a very experienced publisher. (It is noteworthy that Hunan is the only Chinese province which has no Renmin Chubanshe. It had been dissolved in March 1991 for political reasons. Zhong Shuhe has spend 19 years of his life in prison being sentenced as a "youpai". After his release he had been working for a long time in the Yuelu Shushe, editing the "Zouxiang shijie congshu. From East to West". The first part of this congshu was already published shortly after the end of the cultural revolution. It is extraordinaryly cosmopolitan.
I asked Mr. Zhong Shuhe about the possibilities of changes on the book market with regard to the return of Hong Kong to China. His response he didn't express the hope for positive developments. As for the so- called "neibu"publications he estimated that there were about 15 in 1994. He expects that neibu- publications will completely disappear in the near future. Zhong Shuhe could imagine an integration of the Hong Kong book market into the southem Chinese provinces, particularly the neighbouring province of Guangdong, as well as possibly the provinces in the southwestern part of China.
In Guangzhou I asked Mr. Yang Quan about his views concerning these problems. The talk with Yang Quan was arranged by a friend of mine who is teaching history of art and aesthetics at the Zhongshan Daxue. Yang Quan, who has published a transilation of a work by van Gulik in 1992, is the director of the publishing house of Zhongshan Daxue Chubanshe and has established good professional contacts with publishers in Hong Kong. He told me that the enterprises and organizations from China had already some years ago sent personnel to Hong Kong in order to prepare a smooth "1997- handover".
Yang Quan gave an optimistic view of a liberalization of the book market in China after 1997. He also emphazised the decline of "neibu"publications. In his publishing house he already produces books and periodicals with full characters for the distribution in Hong Kong (and Taiwan) while simplyfied characters are used for the market in China.
Beside small bookshops I visited a large department store for books in Guangzhou offering also puWcations from Hong Kong. I was surprised to find out that in Guangzhou the Hong Kong Dollar meanwhile has become an almost equivalent currency. Likewise in Hong Kong in many places you can pay in Renminbi without any difficulties.
On November the 16th I left Guangzhou on the train to Hong Kong.

My schedule was:
17.11.95 Hong Kong - Tokyo
19.11.95 Tokyo - Kyoto
20.11.95 Kyoto - Tokyo
21.11.95 Tokyo - Hong Kong
27.11.95 Hong Kong - Macao - Hong Kong
29.11.95 Hong Kong - Taibei
05.12.95 Taibei - Xinzhuang - Taibei
09.12.95 Taibei - Taidong
12.12.95 Taidong - Gaoxiong
13.12.95 Gaoxiong - Xinzhu
14.12.95 Xinzhu - Taibei
18.12.95 Taibei - Hong Kong - Singapore
21.12.95 Singapore - Hong Kong - Frankfurt -Berlin

Japan was the first stop of my official trip. I had three days and a half to accomplish all points on my schedule. The day after my arrival I went to Isseido, our book supplier for Japanese books for many years. Isseido is one of the 133 antiquarian bookshops which are situated closely together in Jimbocho. I expected to find Chinese and Manjurian books, but Mr. Ken Ishikura directed me to the Toho Shoten close by, a bookshop specialized on
sinological literature in Chinese and Japanese. Later I went to the Uchiyama Shoten. Both, Toho Shoten as well as Uchiyama hold a rich selection of
sinological literature in Chinese and Japanese, but there are a lot of antiquarian books which one might find cheaper in Hong Kong. In Tokyo I also visited the National Diet Library and the Institute of Eastern Culture.
Unfortunately I had only time for brief visits at the Toyo Bunko and the NDL where I was shown a video about the library with the title:
NDL - its role and its function". Afterwards I met the colleagues from the "Asian Materials Division" in the "Special Materials Department", Ms. Nishida Motoko and Ms. Miyao Emi. Six sinologists are working in the Asian Materials Division, four of them are in charge of the Chinese monograph section and the supply of information to the readers, the other two are responsible for journals and newspapers. After a short description of the work in our library r askrd the colleagues about the acquisition work of the NDL concerning Chinese books and the present state of automation in cataloguing work M was told that the NDL buys about 2.000 to 2.500 titles annualy through booksellers in Japan who select the books themselves.
Because of serious financial strains a direct way of acquisition in China would be preferred. The NDL is presently working out an arrangement with the Beijing Tushuguan (Beitu) designaiting the Beitu as a go- between in the acquisition.
The automation of cataloging books is in the process of development and organization. The colleagues are speaking about problems concerrung the handling of Chinese characters.
Asked about the present state of automation in our department I told them about Allegro and the Chinese system used in Berlin and the spread Allegro has found in Germany over the last years. The account was received with great interest.
In the Toyo Bunko Ms. Hirose Yoko a charming elderly lady and chief cataloguer for Chinese books, who has worked her whole life at this place, showed me true treasures of East Asian book production, such as a Mongolian Tripitaka, parts of the "Nanxun shengdian" of the "Siku quanshu" from the Wenyuange. I could also see parts of the "Xianghongqi dang" of the "Manwen laodang", which has been kept in the boxes used in 1936 for the transport from China to Japan and until today has not yet been catalogued. Ms. Hirose Yoko told me that in the Toyo Bunko automated cataloguing of Chinese books has not started yet. The library which was founded in 1917 by Hisaya Iwasaki (1865 - 1955) after his purchase of the private library of George Ernest Morrison (1862 - 1920) and which has been established as a foundation, is in financial difficulties. They will be supplied with certain technical devices such as an access to the Internet later than public institutions. Like the Asian Materials Division mentioned above the Toyo Bunko acquires Chinese books not directly in China but through Japanese booksellers such as: Uchiyama, Toho, Ryogen, Ato, Hoyu and Chugoku.
With Ms. Hirose Yoko I also talked about the publications exchange between our two institutions which started in the time of our former head of departement, the late Dr. Seuberlich. She expressed the interest of the T6y6 Bunko to own the 19 volume catalogue of our department.
In Kyoto where I - much to my regret- did not have more than a half day time I planned to see the Research Institute for Humanistic Sciences of the Ky6to University and the Hoyu Shoten. The sinological library of the Research Institute is impressing. The library today contains about 100.000 titles, among them the congshu- collection of the Chinese banker and bibliophile Tao Xiang from Wujin, including five- colored Ming- prints. Ms. Tanaka Hisako, who is responsible for the cataloging of Chinese books told me that the library as well does not acquire Chinese books directly from China, but through Japanese bookshops. One of them is the H6yu Shoten, which publishes amonthly catalogue, giving an excellent selection of the latest sinological publications from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and thus is a reliable source of information about new trends in sinology in East Asia.
On the afternoon of November 21st I left Tokyo for Hong Kong. I stayed there for six days, and spent an extra day in Macao. First I talked to Dr. Werner Burger, the agent of the State Library Munich in Hong Kong. Mr. Burger had studied sinology in Munich, Cologne and Hamburg some 30 years ago and has been livimg in Hong Kong ever since. I interviewd Dr. Burger about his experiences as a book agent for the Bavarian State Library and - as I was told in the further conversation - other libraries in Germany and Norway. I hoped to get some usefull informations about the local book market, in particular the antiquarian book stores.
Dr. Burger showed strong interest to act as an agent on behalf of the Berlin State Library as well has been discussed with the head of our departement when Dr. Burger visited the State Library Berlin earlier this year. Dr. Burger also pointed out to me that the "Government Gazette", published bimonthly, gives bibliographical information concerning books published in the city in an appendix.
Incomparably renumerative is the rummaging in the stocks of Mr. Huang
Zhiqing, who runs the Classic Novel Association and who has been the book supplier of the Berlin State Library for many years. Mr. Huang is a personal acquaintance of my predecessor in office, the late Mr. Wang and he helped me with acquisitions from publishers in Taibei and Hong Kong. (Classic Novel/Chiao Liu in Hong Kong and Hua Chai in Taiwan).
I spoke to Mr. Huang about problems concerning acquisition of books through his Classic Novel Association. Mr. Huang has good connections to the academic world of Hong Kong. The famous scholar Rao Zongyi for example lives in his close neighbourhood. I chose 20 titles for altogether 1.872 HK$, among them an annotated atlas for the western Sichuan, a catalogue of Chinese music- books, an anthology of translations of writings of French sinologists like Paul Pelliot, Henri Maspero, Henri Cordier, and others concerning the history of Xiyu nanhai, edited, translated and annotated by Feng Chengjun.
One of the volumes discusses the delicate problem of the Spratly Islands. Mr. Huang had never offered this book in his list. In fact, books of which he has only one copy or which he does not really want to sell do not appear in his list. In addition Mr. Huang offered a rarity to me: two Qing- time lists of salary for officials of the imperial court, forms printed in Chinese and Manchurian with notes concerning judgement and payment. Mr. Huang fixed the price at 30.000 HK$ which regrettably was beyond my budget.
My visit to Chiao Liu, our second book supplier in Hong Kong, wa sless fruitful. The bookshop offers a disappointing supply of books of very low standard. As the prices of Chiao Liu are exaggerated, I will have to find another supplier.
Visiting the Sanlian Shudian I had the opportunity to taLk to Ms. Lily Huang who came from Hangzhou to Hong Kong four years ago. She showed me the latest Sanlian book lists which specified books from the PRC, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao. Because I could not provide an e- mail address of the State Library Ms. Huang agreed to mail the lists.
in the Chinese University of Hong Kong I met Mr. Thomas K. K. Lew, the director of the acquisition department for Chinese books. He gave me a long list of book suppliers. Then he took me on a tour around the library. The acquisition and cataloging are managed centrally in the university library. The OPAC of the litrary system is accessible through the Internet. I was especially interested in the more than 50 CD- ROM- databases which are accessible to the users. Most databases are fulltext databases of journals and newspapers, a few
are bibliographic, two of them are in Chinese.
The book shop of the university, a branch store of the Swindon Book Co. offers publications of the Chinese University Publishing House, and a voluminous catalogue. Mr. Lew gave me the new address of the Government Information Service (abbr. "GIS"). The GIS had changed its domicil just before my arrival. I wanted to get information about the latest publication activities of the government. Mr. Leung Kut- Chun, the director of the GIS, provided me with the latest catalog of publications. I chose 12 titles, first of all technical dictionaries concerning Hong Kong law and six maps, altogether for 859 HK$. Because the GIS does not mail books, I had to take the books to the post office.
On November 27th I went to Macao. The acquisition of current governmental publications concerning Macao's return to China was my first concern in Macao. I hoped to find material at the Leal Senado, which is the oldest political institution in Macao. I could get some copies of publications free of charge and the recommendation to go to the Imprensa Oficial de Macao, an institution comparable to the GIS in Hong Kong. At the Imprensa Oficial de Macao I could taLk to Mr. Francisco Paula Nunes who showed me books of great interest for our library. Fortunately the Imprensa Oficial offered the service to send the books abroad. Mr. Nunes advised me to go to the Macao Fonudation and to the press- department to search for further material. The Macao Foundation exists since 1984. Its tasks are the promotion of culture, education, sciences and the Portuguese- Chinese co- operation. Since 1988 it is an independant institution with an autonomous administration and its own property. Until today the foundation edited several publications concerning Macao. The press- department - "port of call" for non- resident journalists - was established in 1981 and serves as a center for public relations of the government. It is in charge of checking the local press, the registration of all journals of Macao and it provides permanent information exchange with Portugal. Because it is situated in the vicinity of the Imprensa Oficial de Macau, I first went to the press- department. I was received by the chief of the Divisao de Estudos e Publicoes, Ms. He L.C., who advised me to have a look at the Livraria Portuguesa, the best bookshop in town. On the way to the Macao Foundation I stopped at the Livraria Portuguesa. Antonio Lai, the Chinese bookseller in the Livraria Portuguesa offered his help in establishing contact with the Macao Foundation.
On the morning of November 29th I went to Taibei, my next stop on the
journey. It was my first stay in Taiwan. I was very impressed by the kindness and helpfulness of the people in Taiwan. Since the important academic institutions and the best bookshops of Taiwan are all located in Taibei, I stayed here 13 of the 18 days reserved for Taiwan on my schedule. My first destination in Taibei was the National Cental Library, where I was warmly recceived by Ms. Theresa Wang Chang, the chief of the Bureau of International Exchange of Publications, and by Ms. Vera Yu- Chen Ma, a colleague from the same bureau. Ms. Ma who has studied for three years in Würzburg is especially pleased about my visit, because guests from Germany rarely come to the NCL. During our tour of the library she stressed several times the good exchange relations of our two libraries. Quite recently she has published an article in the "National Central Library News Bulletin" (Vol. 17, No. 4, 1995/11) concerning the latest developments in the State Library Berlin after the German reunification. Because I was interested in the SinoCat Ms. Ma accompanied me to Ms. Huang Liling, the senior cataloger in the Cataloguing Department who has taken part in the development of SinoCat. Ms. Huang demonstrated the structure and working options of SinoCat. Today it contains some 200.000 records from the NCL since 1981. It offers a range of search options and supports a so- called CopyCataloguing Function which makes SinoCat an interesting tool for cataloguing. Ms. Huang was so lcind to introduce me to the distributer of SinoCat. Shortly before I had to leave Taibei Ms. Huang told me that a demo- disk was being produced and would be sent to Berlin. I was also interested in the "Index to Chinese Periodical Literature on CD- ROM", "the first and only index of general Chinese periodicals on CD- ROM in the world".
Ms. Ma introduced me to the colleagues who were in charge of the development of this catalogue. They gave me a demonstration.
The fifth version (dated July 1995) comprises over 428.998 bibliographic records for more than 1.693 periodicals in all disciplines (January 1977 to December 1994). The environment requirements are the same as for SinoCat. The search options include the search for priodicals as well as searching articles by author, title or keyword. Even the information on which shelf in the NCL the journal is to be found my be inquired. The colleagues told me that after publishing and distributing the CD- ROM the demand for certain journals increased remarkably. That's why they decided to put these journals with full text in the WWW. The Berlin State Library ordered both CD- ROM's. During a further visit to the NCL I went to see the department for
microfilming of newspapers where more than 100 Taiwanese newspapers were recorded on microfilm. Also located at the NCL is the Center for Chinese Studies, a sinological research and information center. Established in 1981 by the Ministry of Education for the purpose of the promotion of sinological research and scientific exchange between Taiwan and the international community the center today consists of a Materials Division and a Liaison Division.
The Liaison Division is responsible for the administration of the Research Grant Programme, the sponsorship of Chinese studies projects and related scholarly activities, the publication of scholarly and bibliographic work, the reporting on Chinese studies research activities in progress and the development of databases identifying scholars of Chinese studies and their fields of specialization. This division is not open to the users of the NCL. The Materials Division in a special reading room offers reference material related to Chinese studies for its stipendiaries and for other readers. Beside a great collection of microfilmed Dunhuang material there exists a collection of dissertations related to Chinese studies mainly from the United States and some European countries. I visited both divisions.
In the Materials Division I had the chance to talk to Mr. Liu Xianshu, the head of the division. He was very interested in the acquisition of German dissertations related to Chinese studies and suggested the exchange of publications of the Center for German dissertations between our two institutions. Because published German dissertations are much more expensive than the publications of the center, I discussed with Dr. Krempien the possibilities how to support the center in collecting such material. Because Mr. Liu has personal contacts to several publishing houses he offered his help in procurement of titles which are out of print.
My next visit was dedicated to Hua Chai, our book supplier for many years in Taibei. Since Ms. Lin who is in charge of managing our orders was ill, I had a short talk with Mr. Liu Chongbin instead. I explained my wishes and suggestions for our further co- operation which he transmitted to Ms. Lin. Finally I met Ms. Lin afterall. Mr. Liu then offered to drive me to the institutions I intended to visit. I willingly accepted that he'd take me to Furen University in Xinzhuang.
The Furen University attracted me because it continued the tradition of the old Furen University established in 1925 by missionaries of the S.V.D. order in Beijing M wanted to find out whether a return to the mainland is envisaged in
Xinzhuang. Ms. Ma had arranged for me to meet her former teacher, Mr. Hu Gongze. Hu Gongze had studied for some years German philology in Switzerland and has been to Germany several times. According to his information there is no such plan of returning to the mainland. Mr. Hu instead was curious to hear some information concerning the German reunification and its consequences. Later, two of his students accompanied me on a tour of the University, the library and the publishing house where I got the newest book list. The financial situation of this private university seems to be strained. The spatial and technical equipment is much worse than at other (public) universities which I visited during my stay in Taiwan. Back in Taibei I phoned Ms. Huang Xinxin from the Xuesheng shuju.
Ms. Huang Xinxin has been working at the Xuesheng shuju for 29 years and has good relations to the academic world of Taibei. As soon as I mentioned a name of an institution I would like to see, she would reach out to the phone in order to arrange a talk with a representative of the place. Thus got to know the famous researcher in Manjurian studies, Mr. Zhuang Jifa, research fellow at the National Palace Museum. In my Manju- lessons during the summer term at the Freie Universität Berlin I had heard a lot about the scientific work of Mr. Zhuang. I finally had the chance to meet him in the the Palace Museum library. We had a talk about his publications, the situation of Manjurian studies in Taiwan and the PRC, as well as about reliable sources for the aquisition of Manjurian literature. I showed him a list of titles which would help significantly to complete our collection of Manjurian books.
After checking the list he discouraged my hopes that I might find these titles in Taiwan. Mr. Zhuang showed me Manjurian- Chinese dictionaries, printed in 350 copies in Xinjiang which I had not seen when I met his colleague, Mr. Qu Liusheng, who works at the First Historical Archive in Beijing. Mr. Zhuang advised me to correspond directly with the publisher in order to obtain the dictionaries. He himself had been always successful in doing so.

After my tour of the museum and the library I went to the office of Mr. Zhuang. He called up a Manjurian friend of his, Mr. Arbunsain Kunggur, who presently is the co- editor of the journal "Manzu wenhua". Mr. Arbunsain Kunggur and one of his relatives from Xinjiang who just payed a visit to the Taiwan branch of the family showed me the private book collection which includes reprints of translations of classical Chinese novels to Manjurian, published in the seventies in the USA. In the PRC only recently reprinting of some of these translations has been started.
Another meeting which I owed to the efforts of Ms. Huang Xinxin was a meeting with Mr. Lin Qingzhang from the lnstitute for Literature and Philosophy from the Academia Sinica. Mr. Lin Qingzhang is a researcher on the Chinese classics and he is known to me for the bibliographies on the classics. Mr. Lin accompanied me to the Institute of History and Philology (Shiyusuo) where the scanning of shanben is under way. We also visited the Computing Centre where the database of the Twenty- Five Dynastic Histories had been created and published on CD- ROM in 1992.
I had the occasion for a talk with the director of the Computing Centre, Mr. Simon Cheng Lin, and with Mr. Shih Lin who is in charge of the technical part of the database. The talk turned out to a discussion about the Dynastic Histories and the Internet. Obviously it was not only for copyright problems that it was not possible to give a public access to the databases on the Internet. Mr. Shih Lin pointed out further databases which have been created by the Computing Centre, among them a bibliographic database related to the history of Taiwan and a database for "The Bronze Wares in the Shang Dynasty Research Projekt". Finally Mr. Lin Qingzhang gave me the latest catalogue of publications of researchers of the Academia Sinica.
On December 9th I started a trip to Gaoxiong and Xinzhu. In both cities I spent one day in order to visit the the Zhongshan Daxue in Gaoxiong and the Qinghua Daxue in Xinzhu as well as the cultural centres (Wenhua Zhongxin) of either city. Prof. Helmut Martin from the Ruhr- University in Bochum had advised me in September 1995 to ask for publications in the cultural centres of these Taiwanese cities. In Gaoxiong everyone was surprised about my request. In Xinzhu I was offered material which was even shipped directly to Berlin.
On December 14th I went back to Taibei. I wanted to use the remaining time for further visits to bookshops and publishing houses as well as last meetings with Ms. Huang Xinxin from the Xuesheng shuju and Ms. Lin from Hua Chai.
On the morning of December 18th I left Taiwan for Singapore. Here I wanted to find a book supplier for Chinese books from Singapore and other Southeast Aslan countries. Chinese sinological material from this region had been acquired by the State Library only moderately in the past years. I went to Select Books but they do not sell Chinese books. At the National University of Singapore I asked for more addresses of book suppliers. Two addresses were given to me. For lack of time I could contact but one of them: Mr. Lim
Chwee Toh from the Chun Yi Trading Company/Cultural Publications. Like the Classical Novel Association of Mr. Huang Zhiqing in Hong Kong this is a one person enterprise. The Chinese book production of Singapore is rather small (ca. 200 titles per year) compared to that of Malaysia (one thousand titles).

On my departure day there was enough time left for a visit of the National Library of Singapore. Because I was specially interested in the National bibliography on CD- ROM and in particular its Chinese titles I was introduced to Ms. Tan Keat Fong, the Chief of the Department for User Support of the "Singapore Integrated Library Automation Service" who told me about the latest developing work of the CD- ROM. The first issue of the bibliography (1977 to 1993) contained no Chinese titles. The latest issue (1995) contains has 800 titles. Ms. Tan told me that the National Library of Singapore is not equipped with appropriate software for the handling of Chinese titles on CDROM. That is the reason why they decided to scan catalogue cards of such titles. The titles are not indicated in any way but one can search for them with the help of the Dewey system.