Minutes - Nineteenth annual conference of EASL
Participants || Chairman's
address || Notices of members ||
Conferences and meetings || Treasurer's
report || EACS
Union catalogue projects || Cataloguing
issues || IT demonstrations
|| CD-ROM issues || Book
supply issues || EASL trip || Election
of officers || Next conference || Picture of the EASL group
The nineteenth EASL conference was held in the library of the Dipartimento
di Studi Asiatici of the Istituto Universitatio Orientale of Naples from
22 to 24 September 1999. The meetings were chaired by Katharina Thölen.
A welcoming address was given by Professor Paolo Santangelo.
During the course of the conference, there was an excursion to the Museo
Duca di Martina, where Dr Lucia Mengoni led a tour of the East Asian collections.
Linda de Lange (Sinologisch Instituut, Leiden)
Cristina Cramerotti (Bibliothèque Interuniversitaire des Langues
Bénédicte Héraud (Centre Chine, Paris)
Hubert Delahaye (CollPge de France, Paris)
Diane Strobl (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, München)
Hanno Lecher (Universität Heidelberg)
Andreas Mixius (Universitätsbibliothek und TIB, Hannover)
Alek Stypa (Institut Monumenta Serica, Sankt Augustin)
Anne Labitzky-Wagner (Landesspracheninstitut NRW, Bochum)
Johann Michael Streffer (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin)
Matthias Kaun (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel)
Bent Pedersen (Det Kongelige Bibliotek, København)
Koen Wellens (Universitetsbiblioteket i Oslo)
Lars Fredriksson (Östasiatiska Biblioteket, Stockholm)
Katharina Thölen (Universität Zürich)
Mario Vitalone (Istituto Universitario Orientale, Naples)
Giuseppe de Marco (Istituto Universitatio Orientale, Naples)
Marina Battaglini (Biblioteca Nazionale, Rome)
YU Dong (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana)
Hiroko Brittain (British Library Document Supply Centre, Boston Spa)
Graham Hutt (British Library, London)
Sue Small (School of Oriental and African Studies, London)
Charles Aylmer (Cambridge University Library)
Mamtimyn Sunuodula (Durham University Library)
David Arrandale (Brotherton Library, Leeds)
David Helliwell (Bodleian Library, Oxford)
JI Qing (CNPITC representative)
ZHU Chaoxu (CNPITC representative)
1 Chairman’s address
An opening address was given by the Chairman.
The minutes of the Eighteenth EASL conference were accepted as
a true and accurate record of the proceedings.
3 Notices of members
3.1 The new University Library in Oslo is finished, and an entire floor
is devoted to the Asian collections. (Koen Wellens).
3.2 allegro has been installed for Chinese cataloguing at the Institut
Monumenta Serica. (Alek Stypa).
3.3 INNOPAC has been installed at the Brotherton Library in Leeds,
but not for Chinese cataloguing. Many Chinese materials are going into
remote storage, to the irritation of the academic staff. (David Arrandale).
3.4 At the Royal Library in Copenhagen, the Chinese section has moved
into a new building. Aleph has been installed, but multi-script functions,
even for Hebrew and Arabic, have not yet been implemented. The system has
been found slow to work with and old-fashioned. (Bent Pedersen).
3.5 At the Sinologisch Instituut in Leiden, retrospective catalogue
conversion has been started for post-1949 materials. (Linda de Lange).
3.6 Matthias Kaun has implemented online access to the Chinese allegro
catalogue of Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, which currently contains some
3.7 Aleph has been adopted for all German-speaking libraries in Switzerland.
Limited progress has been made with Cyrillic and Near Eastern scripts,
but CJK is not even at the planning stage. (Kathy Thölen).
3.8 INNOPAC has been in use in Durham since the end of 1997 for cataloguing
Chinese materials in original script. Work began seriously in the spring
of 1998. (Mamtimyn Sunuodula).
3.9 INNOPAC has just been installed at SOAS for original script CJK
cataloguing (Sue Small).
3.10 Jean-Louis Boully (Bibliothèque Municipale de Lyon) is
participating in a 5-month professional exchange with a colleague in Canton
(the twin city of Lyon since 1980). An account of his experiences is awaited
with much interest. (Bénédicte Héraud).
4 Conferences and meetings
4.1 In August Yu Dong attended the conference “International Academic
Symposium on Modern Science and Technology Dissemination and Chinese-Western
Cultural Communication” (Wuhan, 15-20 August 1999), and gave a paper entitled
“Chinese Language Books and the Jesuit Mission in China – a study on the
Chinese missionary books brought by Philippe Couplet from China”.
4.2 In September 1998 David Helliwell attended the EAJRS conference
in Leuven and gave a paper on the conversion of NACSIS data for use with
4.3 SINODOC (the French colleagues’ association) met in April, and
the principal topics of discussion were automated cataloguing and collaborative
4.3 The China Library Group (the British colleagues’ association) had
met twice since the last conference, and among other things discussed the
prospect of additional support for Chinese studies from HEFCE (Higher Education
Funding Council for England).
4.4 The German colleagues met in Münster in October 1998, and
there was much discussion of regional union catalogues and the lack of
CJK support from software providers. The next session is due to be held
in Zürich in October.
5 Treasurer’s report
5.1 A statement of accounts prepared by Tony Hyder was presented, and
unanimously accepted. He was thanked for his work.
5.2 It was agreed that EASL should discuss what to do with its money
at a later stage of the conference.
6.1 The Chairman read out correspondence with the past and present
Chairmen of EACS (Professors Rudolph Wagner and Glen Dudbridge) concerning
relations between EACS and EASL.
6.2 It was agreed that from the next EACS conference (Turin, 2000)
onwards, EASL would revert to its former practice of presenting a report
of its activities.
6.3 In addition, EASL would offer to give a presentation of online
and other IT resources for the benefit of academic colleagues. It was agreed
that in Turin, David Helliwell should present a report of EASL activities
and any union catalogue progress, Bénédicte Héraud
and Friederike Schimmelpfennig should demonstrate the use of SSELP, and
Matthias Kaun should give a presentation of other online resources.
6.4 The EASL delegates to the EACS conference in Turin should in the
first instance seek funding from their institutions. Failing that, funding
should be sought from EACS. As a final resort, it was agreed nem. con.
that we should use EASL’s own money for the purpose, but bearing in mind
that once spent, it could not under present circumstances be replaced.
7.1 A short report on the progress of SSELP was given by Hanno Lecher
on behalf of Friederike Schimmelpfenning, who was unavoidably absent, having
recently gone to Aberystwyth to study for one year.
7.2 Online write access to the allegro database had been developed,
enabling both the editing of existing holdings and the creation of new
records. Although it was recognised that the development of this facility
represented significant technical progress of potentially great significance
to collaborative Chinese cataloguing in Europe, serious doubts were expressed
that it would actually be used to any great extent in SSELP.
7.3 Whilst recognising that strictly speaking, SSELP was the business
of EACS rather than EASL, there was criticism of the lack of provision
for regular updating of the database, which in time would reduce its usefulness
(– the services of Friederike would only take the project to the end of
7.4 These problems notwithstanding, it was acknowledged that SSELP
provided much valuable information that could not be obtained elsewhere,
and Friederike was thanked for her work on the project. The hope was expressed
that EACS would find the means to continue it, and EASL promised its full
support in the matter.
7.5 Contact with SSELP should be maintained through postings in CJKLIB-L.
8 Other union catalogue projects
8.1 A collaborative congshu cataloguing project has been undertaken
by the Universities of Munich and Tübingen, and it has been
proposed that Oxford and possibly other libraries should join. Funding
is currently being sought for the project, whose object is to produce a
complete union catalogue of all congshu in the participating libraries.
A debate is continuing as to the feasibility of setting up a physically
unified catalogue from data submitted in different formats. However, a
trial run in Oxford has indicated that by deriving even crudely converted
records, there is a time saving of at least half over record creation from
8.2 In the UK, funding has been granted for the creation of a national
union catalogue of books in Chinese by the recently set up RSLP (Research
Support Libraries Programme). The project has two stages: the creation
of a union catalogue in Oxford from data submitted in different formats,
and an 18 month programme of retrospective catalogue conversion in the
libraries of Oxford, Cambridge, SOAS, Leeds, Durham and Edinburgh.
9 Cataloguing issues
9.1 Members were disinclined to devote further discussion to a common
format, and the matter of subject headings and material designations was
postponed to the next conference.
9.2 The need for name authority was debated. Most members were of the
view that using an external authority file was neither feasible nor necessary.
However, it was agreed that in a name authority file, the names of any
author writing primarily in Chinese should be expressed in original script.
Interest in the China MARC author authority file was expressed, and it
was pointed out that the use of this was implicit in the China MARC records
being derived for the catalogues of Berlin and Cambridge.
10 IT demonstrations
10.1 The IT demonstration were held in the University’s computer centre,
a short walk away from the Dipartimento di Studi Asiatici.
10.2 Short demonstrations were made of the following newly developed
resources: (1) the delivery of scanned images from within Oxford’s Chinese
allegro catalogue (David Helliwell); (2) the experimental application of
the Z39.50 protocol for serial searching of the Chinese catalogues of Berlin,
Kiel and Oxford, together with COPAC (Matthias Kaun); (3) Durham University’s
original script INNOPAC catalogue (Mamtimyn Sunuodula); (4) the Inter-national
Dunhuang Project (IDP) at the British Library (Graham Hutt).
11 CD-ROM issues
11.1 There was some discussion of the CD-ROM version of Siku quanshu
currently on offer from the Chinese University Press and Digital Heritage.
EASL members were greatly dissatisfied with the form in which this resource
is being marketed, and it was unanimously agreed that only the 8 full-text
searchable discs were worth having. The Chairman undertook to communicate
these sentiments to the producers. Attention was drawn to the discussion
that had taken place some time ago on EASTLIB.
11.2 Reference to the technical difficulties of handling a resource
such as Siku quanshu in its present form led to a wider discussion of this
subject. It was generally felt that CD-ROMs were excessively expensive
in relation to their worth, and colleagues were urged to take a much more
sceptical approach to assessing their usefulness, especially when faced
with powerful demands for their acquisition from enthusiastic academics.
12 Book supply issues
12.1 The observers from CNPITC made a short presentation, which led
to a question-and-answer session about the current state of the book trade
in China. Although there were now a number of private dealers in the market,
it was pointed out that the major state-owned enterprises were not in competition,
hence the difficulty in obtaining better prices by shopping around in this
12.2 Two colleagues had recently saved a great deal of money and paid
for their trip to China by travelling to Peking to purchase books on the
13 EASL trip to the USA (West Coast)
As very few members expressed the wish to participate in this
visit, largely owing to the cost of doing so, it was felt inappropriate
to continue the discussion at the meeting. However, it was agreed that
the idea of a visit next spring should definitely be pursued, and the Secretary
undertook to deal with the matter.
14 Election of officers
Kathy Thölen, David Helliwell and Tony Hyder were re-elected to
their respective offices of Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer.
15 Next EASL conference
The next conference will be held in Leiden from Wednesday 20 to Saturday
23 September, 2000.
The Nineteenth EASL Conference closed with an expression of thanks to
Mario Vitalone for his excellent arrangements and superb hospitality. This
was the first time that EASL had met in a palace – at times, the effect
of the magnificent ceilings was more mesmeric than that of the debates.
Oxford: 12 October 1999