Within the work environment of academic libraries, China-related libraries or collections have very particular requirements to offer the readers and library users the information they seek. As one may imagine, this begins with language skills, but also touches on IT-solutions characteristic to Chinese catalog requirements and extends to questions such as the Western bias of subject heading systems. There is a plethora of questions and experiences sinological librarians can profit from sharing and exchanging with colleagues facing similar situations, i.e. other librarians working with China-related collections, be that in Chinese, Japanese or in Western languages.
To create a forum for such an exchange EASL was created, the European Association of Sinological Librarians, which offers a platform for colleagues from this specific field to meet with their peers. EASL's first conference took place in Leiden in the year 1981. Over the fourty-plus years since then there have been meetings every year during which colleagues were able to share information and experiences. Over the years things like different catalog systems for (stand-alone) cataloges were evaluated, when the computer was still new new to librarians. Or imagine a time, when UNICODE was not a standard yet. How can one display Chinese characters? Later databases were (and continue to be) the hot-topic of the day. All in all, the conferences reflect the changing world of a sinological librarian's work during a period, where sinological libraries changed from being one institution's library to being part of ever-changing network of libraries.
for a more extensive History of the European Association of Sinological Librarians.