2004 CEAL Conference

Committee on Chinese Materials

Town and Country Resort & Convention Center

San Diego, CA

March 4, 2004, 10:40-12:30 p.m.



Karen Wei, chair of the Committee on Chinese Materials (CCM), welcomed everyone to the program and introduced the members of the committee.  She explained that the Committee had one member fewer than did the year before following the retirement of Mr. Weiying Wan of the University of Michigan.  The current CCM members are, in alphabetical order, Jim Cheng of University of California at San Diego (UCSD), Vickie Fu Doll of University of Kansas, Zhijia Shen of University of Colorado, Amy Tsiang of University of California at Los Angeles, Anna U of University of Toronto. 

During the past year, the committee has worked on and completed the Chinese Area Studies web page, which is now linked to the Area Studies Guides on the CEAL website.  Karen invited comments and suggestions for improvement of the website.  Since last fall, in addition to today’s speakers, the committee has reviewed, discussed, and evaluated about a dozen proposals and suggestions for the annual meeting program.  Many of the proposals came from overseas. She expressed sincere appreciation for the interest and enthusiasm in CCM program and encouraged suggestions and ideas within the purview of the committee for next year’s program. 

Karen then introduced program agenda, which includes five speakers whom she will introduce individually before his/her presentation.  Questions were to be addressed at the end of all presentations.  The presentations started with Professor Chao-chen Chen.


Professor Chen teaches at the Graduate Institute of Library and Information Studies of National Taiwan Normal University.  She received her MA and Ph.D. degrees in library and information science in 1984 and 1994 respectively from the National Taiwan University.  She had served as head of the Cataloging Department at the National Taiwan University Library, taught in the Department of Library and Information Science at Catholic Fu-Jen University and the Department of Adult and Continuing Education at the National Taiwan Normal University.  She also served as Head of Reader Service, Head of Training and Counseling, and Head of Cataloging at the National Central Library in Taiwan.  She has been in her current position since 2002.  Professor. Chen has published extensively in the library field, authoring or co-authoring more than twenty articles and fourteen books and technical reports, and delivered twenty-six conference papers.  Her research interests include: digital libraries and digital archives, library automation, information organization and metadata, multimedia, electronic publishing, and electronic learning.  With her strong background, it is most fitting that she is speaking to us today on “Digital Libraries in Taiwan: Recent Development and Future Plans.”

Ms. Lan is Project Manager at Zhong Yi Technology in China.  She received her MS degree in Business Administration from San Francisco State University with a concentration on computer information system.  She is currently working on a project to digitize classic and local historical documentation from the Ming and Qing dynasties launched by the National Library of China.  The title of her presentation today is, “Digitization of Historical Resources at the National Library of China.”

Mr. Yang Muzhi cannot be here today.  His paper, “Editing and Publishing of Chinese Classics in the PRC,” is to be read by Mr. Shishu Su.  Mr. Yang received a BA in Classical Chinese Literature from Peking University in 1966.  He worked as an editor at Zhonghua Book Company after graduation.  In 1987, he transferred to the General Administration of Press and Publication to be in charge of publishing administration.  Currently he is vice standing head of Leading Group of the National Planning of Collating and Publishing of Ancient Classics and director of the Administration Committee of the China Publishing Group.  Mr. Su is the director of the National Cultural Relics Publishing House in Beijing. 

Mr. Wang is Research Librarian and Director of Shanghai Lexicographical Publishing House Library, a member of Standing Committee of Index Science Association of China, and a member of the Library Association of China.  Mr. Wang received his education from Shanghai Television University majoring in Chinese language.  He also studied at the Library Department of the East China Normal University.  Mr. Wang’s research interests include the study of documents, cataloging, and history of Chinese publishing industry.  Currently he is researching about the development of modern Chinese textbooks.  His topic today is “China’s Modern Textbook Resources.”

Jim has been head of the International Relations & Pacific Studies Library/East Asian Collection at the UCSD since November 2002.  Prior to his current appointment he held positions in the East Asian Library at the University of Iowa and the Law Library of the University of Washington in Seattle.  Jim received a BA in Chinese language & literature from Fudan University in 1982, an MA in Comparative Literature and an MLS in Library and Information Science from the University of Washington in 1989 and 1996 respectively.  He has served as editor for Social Sciences in China at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, 1982-86.  Jim has been active in the CEAL community, serving as chair of the Ad Hoc Membership Committee, member of the CEAL Committee on Library Technology and currently member of the CEAL Committee on Chinese Materials.  Jim publishes in the fields of library and information science and Chinese studies.  Among his publications is An Annotated Bibliography for Chinese Film Study, published by the Hong Kong University Press this year.  The title of Jim’s presentation today is “Chinese Underground Film Collection at the UCSD Libraries.”


“Digital Libraries in Taiwan: Recent Development and Future Plans”          

By Chen Chao-chen, National Taiwan Normal University

Information technology is changing the world. Taiwan is no exception. Private businesses and government institutions are undergoing rapid and drastic changes such as in communication, education, medicine, science, national defense, and so on. To improve the competency of Taiwan society, the government launched an e-Taiwan strategy for 2002-2008. National Digital Archives Plan (NDAP) and National Digital Learning Project are two important projects of the e-Taiwan plans.

The comprehensive and government-sponsored digital plans began in1998.  There are now two very important nation-wide digital archive plans in Taiwan: NDAP (National Digital Archives Program) and National Repository of Culture Heritage Project (NRCH).  NDAP is a national project sponsored by the National Science Council ( 國科會) and operated by Academia Sinica. The contents of NDAP include: zoology, botany, geology, humanities, archiving, calligraphy and painting, goods, maps, stone and bronze rubbings, rare books, archeology, newspapers and other periodicals. There have been ninety-six projects in NDAP since 2002.  NRCH is a project of the Council for Culture Affair (文建會). The contents of NRCH are focused on arts and culture. Their subjects now include literature, fine arts, architecture, music, cinema, dance, theater, journalism, and photography. There are about seventy open projects every year. The participants of NRCH are mainly local cultural institutions. All digital objects built in NRCH can be searched at one site. (http://nrch.cca.gov.tw/)

Recently, the government has initiated two other important projects to improve library collections and services: “Libraries Development Project: 2002-2004” and “Plan for Improving Public Libraries: 2003/6-2004/5.”

“Digitization of Historical Resources at the National Library of China

By Fei Lan, Zhong Yi Technology

For traditional or modern library materials, digitized full-text resources play an important role in providing content searching, convenient reuse, and quick on-line download of information for users.  The over 5,000-year history of China has left a wealth of cultural heritage, a large part of which currently resides in libraries worldwide.  To digitize these resources also contributes significant to the integration of these precious cultural heritage.  The ongoing chorography digitization project implemented by the National Library of China offers a valuable model for digitization of ancient Chinese materials. This presentation will introduce the background, development model, and technological innovations in this project.

“Editing and Publishing Chinese Classics in the PRC”

By Yang Muzhi, Leading Group of the National Planning of Collating and Publishing of Ancient Classics

China has a vast heritage of ancient classics and a long tradition of republishing them. Yet the collating and publishing work has taken a zigzag journey in the late half of the twentieth century.  In the early 1950s, most work was done at local publishing houses in Beijing and Shanghai continuing their pre-1949 business.  After 1954, several state-owned publishers of classics were established to undertake major projects of collating and republishing classics. In the late 1950s the Chinese government started to regulate publication of classics.  Zhonghua Book Company was designated as the official working body of the Ancient Classics Collating and Publishing Plan Team. Since then several major sets were published including the Complete Collection of Tang Poetry and the punctuated and annotated edition of the Twenty-Four Dynastic Histories, just to name a couple. In the 1980s, the collating and republishing work experienced new development both in quality and quality under the guidance of the “Direction on Ancient Classics Collating” issued by the Central Committee of CPC in 1981, which became a landmark document.  The overall scope of classics collated and published expanded significantly from the traditional subjects of history and literature to science, technology, and medicine, as well as works of the ethnic minorities.  There started systematic training of professionals and locally based industry of classics republishing also occurred.

Future tasks for collating and publishing classics will include inventorying and classifying the total existing works to develop publication plans, assessing and determining the best editions of classics for republication, enhancing the editing and publishing capacity, optimizing the publication infrastructure and management, promoting digitization of classics, which points the direction of the collating and republishing of ancient classics.  In the spirit of “Direction of Collating Ancient Classics,” collating and republishing classics has been established as a long-term task for China.

“China’s Modern Textbook Resources”

By Wang Youpeng, Shanghai Lexicographical Publishing House

Shanghai’s Lexicographical Publishing House Library has initiated a preservation project of Chinese-language textbooks from the first half of the twentieth century, which will preserve valuable resources for research into the history of China’s culture, society, education, and politics and make them available to a much wider community of scholars.

Before 1949 the Lexicographical Publishing House Library’s collection belonged to the library of the Zhonghua Book Company, which was Republican China’s second-leading publisher and a prolific producer of textbooks. Because of Zhonghua’s commitment to textbook publishing, the Lexicographical Publishing House Library inherited a nearly complete collection of late Qing and Republican-period primary- and secondary-level textbooks.  Such textbooks are extremely rich historical sources, yet most American and European libraries hold few of them, and their collections tend to be very fragmentary. The Lexicographical Publishing House Library project will also result in digitized or microfilmed materials to provide ready access to what amounts to a complete library of textbook resources to scholars and students at American and European universities.

Jim Cheng, University of California at San Diego

“Chinese Underground Film Collection at the UCSD Libraries”

What is a Chinese underground film? The definition is: Any film that fails to pass or does not go through the government censorship, but still circulates via unofficial venues.  The economic and political environment in China during the early 1990s was conducive to an underground film movement.  Entering the 21st century, the term “underground” has changed to the less sensitive and more acceptable term “independent.” New DV technology has dramatically reduced the budget and technical requirement for film making, so more people are making their own films.  More than 160 titles have been collected at the UCSD Libraries, users can view the films inside the library, but there is no ILS available right now. 


Q: For Jim Cheng: How do the materials [underground films] circulate? Any profits?

A: No profits, and everything is free. The most popular way, in which they circulate on campuses in China, is through small groups of students. But when the government dislikes the films, they ban them. For example, there was a homosexual film that was banned after it was shown for two days.

Q: For libraries in the United States, if we hear about a film, how do we obtain it?

A: For some of the films, you could go through film distributors; others you have to know where to get them. For example, I know many film directors from whom I buy the films.

Q: It is Guanxi, right?

A: Yes.

Q: How do you get hold of the so-called “illegal films?”  Through your personal connections?

A: Partly based on personal relationship, but sorry I can’t release the names of the parties for privacy consideration.

Q: This question is for Professor Chen from Taiwan. You said Taiwan had forty-four million dollars for public libraries, and there were fourteen databases that were purchased for public libraries. What are the databases?

A:  One of the databases is the Kexue Ren (Scientific American), etc.

Q: Any databases originated from Taiwan in Chinese and not translation?

A: Yes. We have a fine art database. 

Q: This question is for Mr. Cheng about copyright issues regarding the films. How do you handle copyrights?

A: We don’t buy pirate copies for our library because of library policies. We go directly to the film directors, with whom we have agreements, including an agreement that the films will only be used in the libraries. You can watch it but cannot reproduce it.

Q:  What is the percentage for each type of films, such as documentary, etc.?

A: In my book (中国电影研究提要), there is detailed information on various types of film.


Hong Xu, Head of the East Asian Library at University of Pittsburgh, gave an update on the Henry Luce Summer Institute for Chinese Studies Librarianship. She first acknowledged Zhijia Shen, her predecessor and head of the East Asian Library at University of Colorado, for her “unique idea in developing the program by first of all securing the financial support from the Henry Luce Foundation. So without her effort and hard work, this institute would not happen.”  She also thanked Karen Wei, Chair of the Committee on Chinese Materials, “for her continued support for the development of the program, and all the participants for completing the online survey.” Based on the survey and suggestions of senior Chinese studies librarians, the curriculum has been finalized. Twenty-eight applications have been received.  After careful consideration and with the support of Dr. Rush Miller, director of the institute, all twenty-eight applications have been accepted. The announcement and information including the travel and housing information have been sent to all the applicants and invitations have been extended to the faculty. There are twelve faculty members, two of whom are from Mainland China and many are from CEAL, the concentrated pool of experts in the area.

Before the end of the session, Karen Wei thanked all for coming to the meeting and urged all to contact her or any committee members if they had any suggestions for next year’s program. 

(Recorded and respectfully submitted by Zhijia Shen, member of CCM)