Bulletin of the European Association
of Sinological Librarians
Editor: Charles Aylmer, Cambridge University Library
CHINESE COLLECTIONS IN EUROPE
RLIN AND THE CJK-OPAC IN THE BAYERISCHE STAATSBIBLIOTHEK,
Libraries have long been wanting to avoid the repetition of the laborious
cataloguing, indexing and classifying of one and the same book by each
library. One must bear in mind that the average costs for purchasing a
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
25 DYNASTIC HISTORIES DATABASE INSTALLED AT THE SINOLOGISCHES
SEMINAR (INSTITUTE OF CHINESE STUDIES) AT HEIDELBERG UNIVERSITY
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),
THE EASL CHINA TOUR
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
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
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.
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.
THE 9TH MEETING OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF
ORIENTALIST LIBRARIANS (IAOL) AT THE 34TH INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF ASIAN
AND NORTH AFRICAN STUDIES
(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
a) SULCMIS II (a library software developed at the Computing Center of
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
1. No public library in China, including the National Library, is as yet
2. It appears that there is no nationwide cataloguing standard. Although
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
a) a rare book project underway in Peking in close cooperation with the
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
d) various retrospective conversion projects of either local or topical
In conclusion, the 9th IAOL Meeting was a professionally organized event
with highly illuminating presentations and discussions. I hope that during
conference in Budapest (1997) many EASL members will have the opportunity
CHINESE COLLECTIONS IN EUROPE
(7) THE VITTORIO EMANUELE II NATIONAL CENTRAL LIBRARY,
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
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
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).
CHINESE COLLECTIONS IN EUROPE
(8) THE RUSSIAN STATE LIBRARY, MOSCOW
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
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.
CHINESE COLLECTIONS IN EUROPE
(9) THE ROYAL LIBRARY, COPENHAGEN
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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
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
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.
Jones, William C. (trans.): The Great Qing Code; a
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994, pp. xxx+441. ISBN 0-19-825794-5 [[sterling]]Stg
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.
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.