Council on East Asian Libraries

Committee on Korean Materials Meeting

7-9 p.m., Wednesday, April 10, 1996

Hilton Hawaiian Village





On behalf of  Yoon-whan Choe,  Chair, who could not attend the meeting due to an illness, Kyungmi Chun of the University of Hawaii convened the meeting.


1.   Overview of Korean Collections Consortium of North America

Mr. Choong Nam Yoon, Harvard-Yenching Library, gave a brief history, membership criteria,  and current status of the Korean Collections Consortium of North America.  Sponsored by the Korea Foundation, the Consortium was founded at the end of 1993 to develop Korean research collections cooperatively  to better support  Korean studies in the United States.  Members are selected by the Korea Foundation according to the guidelines recommended by the Consortium.  The materials purchased by the Consortium grants are available free of charge to all scholars of Korean studies.  The current  members and their collection responsibilities:


University of Chicago--Education, Environmental Studies, Industry, International Relations, Welfare Studies

Columbia University--Kyonggi-do, Seoul, Fine Art, Popular Culture, Performing Arts, and Korean                 History 1984-1945.

Harvard-Yenching --Chungchong-dos, Business History, Law

UC Berkeley--Government Publications, English Language Materials, Kangwon-do, Transportation and         Traffic, Korean History 1945-

University of Hawaii--Chejudo, Traditional Music, Architecture and Urban Planning, Foreign Language                 Materials, Modern Social Conditions

University of Southern California--Cholla-dos, Cinema, Journalism and Mass Media, Linguistics

University of Washington--Kyongsang-dos, Women’s Studies, Microfilm Collection of Newspapers,                 Modern Korean Poetry.


2.   Reports from Major Korean Collections


UC Berkeley

Yong Kyu Choo reported on his plans for the upcoming WWW HomePage for the UC Berkeley Korean collection.  Part I will be  a monthly acquisitions list,  part 2 will be  annotations of selected acquisitions, and  part 3 will be a list of reference sources. These lists will include vernaculars. The HomePage will also feature prompts for users  to send  comments and to recommend books for purchase.


University of Chicago

Hyonggun Choi reported on the Korean Serials Project at his library. The Korean serial subscriptions at the University of Chicago numbered slightly more than 400 titles in 1993. From 1993 through 1995, all serials were reviewed. More than one third of the titles were dropped and new titles were added. Currently, the University of Chicago maintains 447 titles of Korean serials.


Columbia University

Amy Hai Kyung Lee reported on the Korean Rare Book Project at C.V. Starr East Asian Library.  She gave a brief history of how Columbia purchased 1,857 volumes of Korean rare books from the family of Yi Song-ui, the foremost authority on old movable type in Korea and antiquarian book dealer.  During the summer of 1994, four Korean rare book bibliographers were in residence at the C.V. Starr East Asian Library to catalog Starr’s Korean rare book holdings.  This  was part of a national project designed to catalog all national bibliographic treasures outside of Korea.  The result of the four experts’ hard work is the Haeoe Chonjok Munhwajae Chosa Mongnok: Miguk Columbia Taehak Tong Asea Tosogwan Sojang Hangukpon Mongnok (Bibliography of Overseas Rare Book Cultural Treasures: Korean Rare book Catalog of Columbia University, United States), published in November 1994 by the Korean Association of Bibliography.  Among the rare books are two volumes of an extremely early printed version of Yongbi Ochonga (Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven), volumes 9 and 10, which the bibliographers believe were printed from the original blocks in the late fifteenth century.  The next step is to convert the records online to make them bibliographically available more widely.    



Choong Nam Yoon reported on projects involving Korean materials at the Harvard-Yenching Library.  In the first phase of their Retrospective Conversion Project which ended  in 1995, approximately 17,000 titles  were converted,  representing books added to the Library since 1979.  The second phase will start in June 1996 to convert 15,000  pre-1979 records.  This phase is part of the University-wide recon project, expected to last for five years.  In July 1995, Harvard -Yenching adopted the LC classification schedule.  The classification split has worsened  the existing space problems.  Consequently, Yenching is now in the process of moving less-frequently used materials to the Harvard Depository, a remote storage facility.


University of Hawaii

Kyungmi Chun reported on the acquisitions of Russian materials at the University of Hawaii.  Through an exchange agreement with the Russian State Library, Hawaii acquires microfilms of all items listed in the Bibliografiia Koreia, 1917-1970 (Bibliography of Korea, 1917-1970) in exchange for UH  publications. The process is slow, but not costly.  Hawaii also acquires photocopies of Russian materials produced before 1917, estimated at 7,000 pages.  Hawaii’s attempts at obtaining various Russian archival documents about Korea have not yet been successful.


University of Southern California

Joy Kim shared her experiences in developing and implementing training programs for Korean librarians at the Korean Heritage Library at USC.  In 1994/1995, USC hosted Mijeong Kim, a librarian from Yonsei University in a year-long pilot internship program.  Based on the success of that experience, USC has obtained funding for a three-year program from the Korea Research Foundation.  The first phase of the grant is now underway, with an intern from Dong-A University Library, Holly Jeon.   Joy found the internship programs an effective way to build cooperative relationships with Korean libraries.  While providing training opportunities in advanced American library techniques to Korean librarians, USC has greatly benefited from their high quality work.  


3.   “Bibliographies for Korean Studies: A Modest Proposal”

Kenneth R. Robinson, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, University of Hawaii, presented a proposal for a bibliography of Korean historical sources.  Sharing his frustrations about not  being able to locate published historical sources readily, he suggested that a bibliography of such materials would benefit not only historians, but also specialists in religion, philosophy, literature, and other fields both in Korea and abroad.


The bibliography would be divided by historical period, and subdivided by topic.  These topics might include stone inscriptions, genealogies, family documents, foreign relations, central government

items, local history, and others.  Entries would include publications of the source itself and translations of the material, whether into Korean, Japanese, English, or other languages.  These entries would be written in the appropriate script, whether Hangul, Chinese characters, or Japanese.  All information provided in the entry would be romanized, in part to enable computer searches, in part because an important audience would be researchers in North America and Europe. This bibliography would provide for scholars of Korean Studies what does not exist for scholars of Japanese Studies or of Chinese Studies in North America and Europe: a convenient source for locating published historical sources. 



4.   Introduction of Attendees at the Meeting


Attendees introduced themselves and shared information or future plans about their Korean collections.


5.   Q&A on Collection Development and Reference Services


Kyungmi Chun distributed handouts which list useful information on developing Korean collections without a Korean librarian.  The handout  was prepared by Kyungmi Chun based on questions from the Eastlib survey she conducted prior to the meeting. 


The meeting was adjourned.


(Recorded by Joy Kim)