University of Hawaii at Manoa Library


General Asia Collection


The study of Asia is embedded throughout the curriculum at UH Manoa. Because of its geographic location and the Asian origins of over 50% of the population, Hawaii has long had a deep and multi-faceted relationship with Asia. This relationship is reflected at the University of Hawaii where the study of Asia is infused throughout the curriculum to an extent unmatched elsewhere in the United States. Annually, over 600 graduate and undergraduate students major in a subject with an Asia focus in 50 fields of study. Some 6,000 students per year enroll in over 400 courses on Asia.

To the extent that the General Asia Western Language fund and General Asia Reference fund support any program it would be the undergraduate and graduate programs in Asian Studies. However, these funds more correctly support the needs of the multiple disciplines and programs on campus which teach and do research about Asia. These funds buy materials in western languages which because of their inter-regional or pan-Asian focus fall outside the scope of the individual area selectors in the Asia Collection.

For the past 10 years or so initiatives by the Social Sciences Research Council to promote cross disciplinary and inter-regional research, commonly labeled "crossing borders," have led the Association for Asian Studies to privilege research of this type at its conferences and in its publications programs. As a consequence, the growth of publications devoted to comparative studies of countries/regions of Asia and to the Pacific Rim has been significant.


Resources which deal with Asia in general or two or more regions of Asia in western languages are collected by the Head of the Asia. Publications are collected worldwide, but mostly from the United States, western Europe, and Australia. United Nations and U.S. government publications are collected by the Government Documents Dept. and housed in its collections. Purchases of AV materials and maps are coordinated with the AV Librarian and Maps Department.

In general publications are limited to the humanities and social sciences, though selected science/technology materials with significant content relating to social, political, or economic issues are also collected.


Language: Only publications in western languages are purchased: namely, English, French, Spanish, German, and Dutch. Emphasis is on English language titles.

Chronological: No limitations.

Geographic: Limited to materials which are pan Asian in scope or cover two or more geographical areas of Asia. Asia is defined as the 23 countries covered in the collection development policies of the East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Philippine Islands selectors. Materials which are not specifically about Asia, but treat topics commonly identified as "Asian" for example, Buddhism, are also collected.

Date of Publication: Primary emphasis is on current publications. Depending on the budget, retrospective materials may be purchased. Requests from graduate students and faculty for older materials are honored subject to budgetary constraints and availability.

Types and Formats of Materials Collected: Print and non-print materials are collected: monographs, serials, conference papers, reference works, government documents, maps, audio visual materials, microforms, electronic resources, both in CD format and online.

Electronic Format: See Types and Formats of Materials Collected.

Treatment: K-12 textbooks are not collected, nor are juvenile materials.


Depending on the budget, these funds will occasionally share in the cost of large expensive non-western language sets of microfilm or print documents with other Asia selectors when the set in question is sufficiently pan-Asian in focus and its topic of special interest to the UH community.

Compiled by: Allen Riedy
Date: August 2008

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