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The Library began building a major Chinese collection in 1961, when the noted Harvard Sinologist, Charles Sidney Gardner, father of Professor John Gardner of Brownıs English Department, donated approximately 30,000 volumes on Chinese history and literature. The "Gardner Collection", as it was named, has grown from that nucleus. In 1965, a Federal grant led to the formal establishment of Brownıs East Asia Language and Area Center, which has since become the Department of East Asian Studies (EAS). Regular acquisitions added to the holdings 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, began in 1985. With their introduction into the Gardner Collection, it was renamed the East Asian Collection (EAC).

The Collection has grown for the last four decades to become an integral part of the research resources at Brown. The original gift was especially rich in works on the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), which was Professor Gardner's specialty. The holdings of the EAC now also cover linguistics, philosophy, religion, fine arts, and the social sciences. Many faculty members, alumni, visiting scholars, and other friends of the Library have contributed to its development by donating books or funds. The Library has also received gift and exchange materials from other major East Asian collections. Currently, there are 90,469 volumes in Chinese, 8,348 volumes in Japanese, and 4,628 volumes in Korean, in addition to 452 current serials and 786 reels of microfilm in East Asian languages. With total holdings of 103,445 volumes, our overall collection ranks 31st out of the 66 major collections in North American research institutions. The Chinese collection itself ranks 26th.

The primary clients of the Collection are students and faculty of EAS, visiting scholars, and international students from East Asian countries. However, it also provides opportunities for users from other area communities and institutions of higher learning, as well as faculty and graduate students in various fields. The latter include humanities departments like American Civilization, Comparative Literature, History of Art and Architecture, and Religious Studies, and, in the social sciences, Anthropology, Economics, Political Science, and Sociology.

In recent years, as the teaching and research interests in the area have grown, the Library has sought to balance social sciences and humanities acquisitions, while covering from ancient through contemporary times. Collection priority has also been given to basic reference resources and key journals. Moreover, the Library has attempted to make more material accessible for the users by acquiring electronic resources. With the national conversion of bibliographic records from the Wade-Giles system to the Pinyin romanization scheme for Chinese characters, which started on October 1, 2000, users can more easily access the Asian resources in the online catalog. In particular, the Millennium upgrade of Josiah will enable library patrons to input and display Chinese, Japanese and Korean vernacular fonts. So, as one of two major collections in the Boston Library Consortium, Brownıs EAC will be more open to resource sharing with other libraries.

Today, with the Pacific Rim becoming more important, there are growing demands for area studies, which draw on materials in East Asian languages. It is important to enhance the quality and quantity of our EAC to fulfill the Libraryıs mission. Academic libraries now face increasing challenges and opportunities, and new technologies will transform East Asian resources from local, self-sufficient collections to part of a worldwide, interdependent system. Therefore, efforts will continue to be focused on building a collection which reflects the increasing academic needs of the users; ensuring effective bibliographic control for intellectual and physical access to resources (print and electronic); and providing the best services for our clientele, primarily our faculty and students. With the support of the University, the Library, and especially the patrons, the East Asian Collection will keep developing in order to increase access to information, knowledge, and wisdom for a new academic world in the information age.

- Li Wang

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