University of Hawaii at Manoa Library


China Collection


The China Collection of the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) presumably started in 1922, the same year when the Chinese Department was established and Professor Shan-Chang Lee was hired to teach Chinese history and Chinese language courses. In 1935, the Oriental Institute was established by Dr. Gregg M. Sinclair, and Prof. Lee was made responsible for the development of the Chinese language collection in the Institute's new Oriental Library. On sabbatical leave in China during 1935-36, Prof. Lee traveled throughout the country and sought book donations from prominent Chinese. Upon his return to the University of Hawaii, Prof. Lee reported that more than 20,000 Chinese stitched, bound volumes had been obtained for the Oriental Library. A majority of these gifts were traditional materials on rice paper, including encyclopedias, collectanea, and publications on history, literature and philosophy, which formed the core of the Chinese language collection. As of June 2001, the Chinese language collection had 134,888 volumes of monographs, 1,129 titles of current serials and 1953 titles of inactive serials, 9518 pieces of microforms, and 181 pieces in other formats.

The China Collection contains materials about China and the Chinese in Chinese, western and other Asian languages. The Collection serves the students and faculty of the University of Hawaii, the research staff of the East-West Center, visiting scholars, as well as local community.

Currently, there are 38 China specialists in 26 departments in the humanities, social sciences, and professional schools directly involved in teaching over 150 China-related courses across the University curriculum. The University offers China-focused master's degrees in 13 departments and doctorates in nine departments. It is recognized that UHM offers greater breadth and depth in Chinese Studies than any other institute for high education outside of Asia.

The Center for Chinese Studies is one of nine area studies centers of the School for Hawaiian, Asian and Pacific Studies. Undergraduate and graduate students may obtain BA and MA degrees with a China focus through the Asian Studies Program. Students may also choose to concentrate on China through departmental disciplines. Degrees offered are MA/PhD Anthropology, MA Asian Religion, BA/MA/PhD Chinese Language and Literature, MA Art History (China focus), MA/PhD Geography, MA/PhD History, MA/PhD Linguistics, MA/PhD Philosophy, MA/PhD Political Science, MA/PhD Sociology, MA/PhD Theater & Dance, MA Communication (with a China emphasis). A certificate program is also offered to both undergraduates and graduates in translation and interpretation.


Materials about China and the Chinese in the social sciences and humanities are collected. Science and technology materials are selected by and for the Hamilton Library general collection. Selective materials on traditional Chinese medicine are acquired. Materials about overseas Chinese are selected by a variety of area subject selectors. Chinese in Hawaii by Hawaiian selectors; Chinese in the United States by the subject selectors in the Business, Humanities, and Social Sciences Department; and Chinese in other Asian countries and other parts of the world by the China selector.

Selections and recommendations of audiovisual materials in all formats on China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are coordinated with the Wong AV Center selector. Maps are acquired and housed in the Map Collection.

English language government publications on China are acquired by both the library's Government Documents Collection and the Asia Collection. United States and United Nations government documents on China are generally not currently acquired by the Asia Collection. Government documents from the People's Republic of China and Taiwan are obtained by the China collection and housed in the Asia Collection.


Language: Chinese language materials are acquired in Han Chinese. Tribal languages of minority groups (Miao, Yao, Mongolian) are excluded. Most of the Chinese language materials about Southeast Asia come through CAPSEA. Japanese language publications about China are rapidly growing in importance. Tibetan language materials on Buddhism are also collected. For western languages, English is preferred, but texts in other European languages are also collected.

Chronological: No limitations.

Geographic: China is defined as the People's Republic of China, including Tibet, Hong Kong and Macao; and Republic of China, Taiwan. Excluded are materials about overseas Chinese, except that elsewhere in Asia.

Date of Publication: No limitations. The emphasis for both Chinese and western language material is on current imprints, but requests for retrospective materials in any language are honored. Reprints of traditional Chinese materials, journals, and newspapers are purchased when external funding is available.

Textbooks: Standard textbooks for use by students for classroom purposes are usually not purchased, except for language learning. A limited number of basic textbooks are collected for research purposes, on request. Literary anthologies and general history materials on China are collected.

Types and Formats of Materials Collected: Most materials collected are published monographs, serials, newspapers and pamphlets in hard copy. Also collected are conference proceedings, unpublished conference papers, and selective manuscripts. Theses and dissertations are acquired selectively. Microforms are collected when hard copy is not available or replacement of format is required.

Electronic Format: CD-ROMs include dictionaries, directories, encyclopedia, indexes, and statistics. Web-based electronic index, Electronic recources in CD ROMs and website access, including Chinese statistics, index, journal, encyclopedia, and e-book, are selectively collected.

Treatment: Nearly all treatments of subjects, except textbooks, in the humanities and social sciences. Science, technology and medicine treatments are not collected.

Major Microform Holdings: Examples in Chinese include newspapers clippings of the Union Research Institute of Hong Kong, Dunhuang Manuscripts held by the National Library of China (formerly the Peking Library), genealogies of Southeast China, provincial government gazettes, and monographs and journals which are not available in hard copy. Examples in English include JPRS and FBIS materials housed in the Government Documents collection, U.S. Department of State Consular records and archives of American religious missions to China housed in the Hamilton Library microforms area.


Collection strengths and weaknesses:

History: Three strong areas: local history of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), intellectual history of the Republic period (1911-1949), and contemporary China (1949-present). Research materials on Qing history are focused on local history of the xian or prefecture level of the southeast coastal provinces; genealogies of similar geographical areas; provincial histories, especially Guangdong, Fujian, and Taiwan provinces; Taiping Rebellion, peasant uprisings, and minority upheavals. Primary sources of the dynasty are available. Biographical sources and law materials are also represented. For the Republic period, academic journals published between the late 1900s and 1930s, which are of particular significance for research of intellectual history, have been comprehensively collected. Major document publications, including Ge ming wen xian (Documents of the Revolution) published since 1953 and Zheng fu gong bao (Government Gazette) published since 1911 are in the collection. Chronological histories from 1894 to 1975 were acquired. The notable source of contemporary China is the 1,000 plus reels of microfilmed news clippings issued by the Union Research Institute in Hong Kong concerning politics, military affairs, economy, and education and culture of the People's Republic of China between 1949 and 1962. Publications on the Democratic Movement in Beijing and Taiwan are being collected whenever they become available.

Deficiencies: 1) Additional series of prefecture histories of the southeast coastal provinces, expanded to include the mid-eastern provinces is a long-term project. 2) Genealogies. 3) Contemporary China's foreign relations with the Pacific, U.S., and Russia.

Language and Literature: The Chinese language and literature collection is also recognized to be sufficient to support PhD research in Chinese linguistics and traditional fiction. Materials on traditional drama support MA level research. The Chinese language department focuses its teaching and research programs on Chinese dialects and language teaching. Materials on dialects, including Mandarin, Taiwanese and Cantonese have been extensively collected. A limited number of textbooks were collected for research purposes upon request. Classical and contemporary short stories, dramas and novel in Chinese have been acquired widely in support of academic studies. For traditional fiction, annotated and punctuated versions are also added. Thematic studies, commentaries, and criticism are widely selected.

Deficiencies: Chinese dialectal grammar and proceedings of dialect conferences.

Other Humanities Areas: Much of the western language material in support of advanced degree programs, including Chinese art history, Confucian and Taoist philosophy, Buddhist and Taoist religions, Chinese cinema and Jingju opera are housed in the Hamilton general collection.

Deficiencies: Dance, music, and Christianity in China. Social Science Areas: The demand for social science materials, especially for current data, is increasing rapidly. Special efforts have been made to enhance the areas of economic reform, rural and urban economic development, socio-economic conditions and relations among Chinese minorities, and women studies. Also being augmented are higher education, population problems, and demographic information.

Deficiencies: Business, tourism, communication, economic history of agriculture, geography, studies of political parties, housing problems, family structure, and subscriptions to journals in these fields.

Electronic Resources: Special efforts have been made to enhance the collection of electronic resources. CD-ROM versions of Si Ku Quan Shu (The Great Collection of Four Treasure), Xian Qin Liang Han Gu Ji Zu Zi Suo Yin Cong Kan (CD-ROM on the entire body of pre-Han and Han traditional texts), Ren Min Ri Bao (People's Daily, from 1955-1995) are collected. Web-based databases include Gu Jin Tu Shu Ji Cheng (Chinese encyclopedia covers important classics of the ancient China through the Qing dynasty) and four series of China Academic Journals, from 1994-present, are in collection. Chinese E-books are acquired for replacement and out of print materials as needed.

Deficiencies: Census data, demographic data, maps, and yearbooks.

Gift and Exchange: The China Collection has gift and exchange agreements with major libraries in China and Taiwan. The China Collection has been selected as one of the only 100 libraries worldwide to be included in the National Library of China's "Windows of China" Book Donation Project. Through the program, China Collection receives gift books regularly every year. Much of the Chinese journals are obtained through the gift and exchange arrangements with National Central Library, Taiwan. Materials received on gift and exchange agreements are often not easily obtained, as it may be the only means of acquisition.

Preservation: The China Collection comprises one of the oldest holdings in the Asia Collection. Due to long-term usage and/or paper and adhesive material used in Chinese publishing industry, many books have damaged and deteriorated. In particular, the deterioration of the Chinese collectanea, largely language and literature, is a major concern.

Compiled by: Kuang-tien (K.T.) Yao
Date: June 2008

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