Collection Development Policy: East Asian Studies
  • Subject Librarian(s):
    Li Wang

  • Departmental Library Representative (DLR):
    Yuko Jackson

  • Description of the Academic Program | Home Page
    East Asian Studies is a multidisciplinary concentration which "is designed to serve undergraduate students wishing to attain reasonable fluency in Chinese and Japanese and specialized familiarity with selected East Asian subjects. The concentration serves students with two different types of professional and academic interests: those who wish to pursue active professional careers related to the East Asian region; and those who will continue their education at the graduate level in the humanities or social sciences with special emphasis on China or Japan.

    In addition to the undergraduate concentration in East Asian Studies, there are graduate programs at Brown focused on the East Asian region. Those interested in advanced studies (Masters and Ph.D.) should contact The Graduate School to determine area of study related to East Asia in other departments, such as

  • Overview of the Collection
    The Library began building a major Chinese resource in 1961, when the noted Harvard Sinologist, Charles S. Gardner, donated approximately 30,000 volumes on Chinese history and literature. The "Gardner Collection" has grown from that nucleus. In 1965, a Federal grant led to the formal establishment of the East Asia Language and Area Center, which has since become the Department of East Asian Studies. Library acquisitions supplemented the Gardner Collection, and in 1980, a grant from the Japan Foundation funded the beginnings of the Japanese Collection. A Korean Collection, built through special donations and a memorial fund, has been added since 1985. With the introduction of Japanese and Korean holdings into the Gardner Collection, it was renamed the East Asian Collection.

    The Collection has kept growing for the last four decades and become an integral part of the academic curriculum and research resource at Brown. The East Asian Collection now cover the areas of history, literature, linguistics, philosophy, religion, art, architecture, archaeology, and social sciences. As of June 30, 2002, the Collection contained 92,309 volumes in Chinese, 8,835 volumes in Japanese, and 4,650 volumes in Korean, in addition to 516 current serials and 786 reels of microfilm. The total holdings are 105,794 volumes in East Asian languages.

    The primary clients of the Collection are the students and faculty of East Asian Studies, visiting scholars, international students from East Asian countries, and other patrons affiliated with the University. It also provides opportunities for users from other institutions of higher learning, as well as the communities, in the surrounding area. At Brown, faculty and graduate students in various fields are frequent users of the collection. Besides the primary research programs and curriculum in East Asian languages and history, The Watson Institute for International Studies, the humanities departments such as American Civilization, Comparative Literature, History of Art and Architecture, and Religious Studies, have shown considerable interest in the Collection. In the Social Sciences, fields such as Anthropology, Economics, Education, Political Science, and Sociology, also have increasing needs for East Asian resources.

  • General Collecting Guidelines
    For most subjects, the desired coverage is at the research or study level. A research level collection consists of major source materials required for dissertation and independent research, including primary sources, specialized journals, important reference works, major indexing/abstracts services, and a wide selection of specialized monographs. A study level collection supports undergraduate and graduate course work, but may not hold the specialized primary sources and journals necessary for graduate and faculty research. For other subjects, materials are acquired at the basic or minimum level. Basic level is a highly selective collection which serves to introduce and define the subject and to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere. It includes major dictionaries and encyclopedias, selected editions of important works, historical surveys, important bibliographies, and a few major periodicals in the field. Minimum level is defined as a subject area which is out of the scope of the library's collections, and in which few selections are made beyond the very basic reference tools.

    Collecting priority is given to acquiring new publications about East Asian (especially Chinese and Japanese) history, literature, linguistics, philosophy, religion, art, architecture, archaeology, social sciences, and East Asian cultures in general. The core materials include basic reference sources, key journals, and bibliographies pertaining to the subjects. Efforts will also be made to make electronic/networked resources accessible for users.

  • Specific Collecting Guidelines
    • Language: Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, as well as English, with selective materials in other European languages.
    • Chronological Span: Ancient times to present.
    • Imprint Date: Chiefly current imprints, with selected retrospective publications.
    • Geographical Range: China, Japan, Korea, and some peripheral regions.
    • Types of Material Included: Books, periodicals, and maps, with selective acquisition of electronic formats, audio-visual materials, and microforms.
    • Excluded: Most textbooks, except selective language materials. Most translations of Western works into East Asian languages.

  • Areas of Distinction
    The original Gardner gift was especially rich in works on Chinese history and literature, especially the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) history that was Professor Gardner's specialty. The acquisitions focus on materials in the areas of East Asian history, literature, linguistics, philosophy, religion, art, and some social sciences.

    In recent years, acquisitions have been more balanced in social sciences, as well as in humanities, covering from ancient through contemporary times in East Asian studies. With outside funding, Japanese collection has been enhanced considerably. In recent years, efforts have also been made to provide access to more electronic/networked resources for users. Two new full-text Chinese databases now are accessible for users at Brown from the Library's e-resources list:

  • Special Collections
    Charles Sidney Gardner Collection contains a good number of traditional thread-bound books on Chinese history, literature and philosophy, especially related to the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). Most of the works were published in the 19th century, with some dating as early as the beginning of the 17th century.

  • Related Collections
    Brown is a member of Council on East Asian Libraries (CEAL), Association for Asian Studies. The objectives of the CEAL are: "(a) to serve as a faculty-librarians' forum for the of East Asian library problems of common concern; (b) to formulate programs for the development of East Asian library resources, bibliographic controls, and access; and (c) to improve inter-library and international cooperation in East Asian library development and services." More information about the CEAL and many other East Asian libraries can be viewed at

  • Selected List of Key Internet Resources