University of Hawaii at Manoa Library


Southeast Asia Collection


The concept of Southeast Asia as a region began during the World War II. It is a strategic definition that is still used by the region's leaders in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). This strategic area was conceived as extending from eastern India and southwestern China to the northern shore of Australia, then along the eastern face of the Philippines. Included in the region are the nations of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines [see separate policy for the Philippines], Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. This strategic definition is still used by the region's leaders in the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN).

The pioneer of the Southeast Asia Collection is Dr. G. Raymond Nunn, who was also the first director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies. In order to support the education and research activities in the center he felt there was a need to collect materials from and about the Asia Pacific area. He started the Southeast Asia collection by systematically sending a staff member on an extensive acquisitions trip to the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.

Since 1962, the Library has participated in the Library of Congress Cooperative Acquisitions Programs ( The bulk of the collection is from or about Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, with substantial holdings from or about Thailand, and Vietnam. The holdings of publications from and about Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos have also been developed exponentially.

The Southeast Asia collection supports the interdisciplinary Asian Studies Program, and those disciplines and professional programs with an Asian focus. The collection also provides recreational reading for its university clients and the community through its acquisition of current imprints in the vernacular languages of the area.

The Asian Studies Program grants the BA and MA. The PhD degree with a focus on Asia can be earned in several humanities and social sciences departments. Currently there are 70 faculty members teaching 140 courses pertaining to Southeast Asia.


Current imprints from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Singapore have been received since 1962 through the Library of Congress Cooperative Acquisitions Programs. In 1990 it included Thailand, and in 2000 it was expanded to include Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Materials published outside the Southeast Asian countries are mostly acquired through the gathering plans with Blackwell as well from other vendors.


Language: The collection is especially strong in the languages and dialects of the ten countries that make up the Southeast Asia collection. Publications in several western languages (Dutch, English, French, German, and Portuguese) are also acquired.

Chronological: No limitations.

Geographic: The collection is limited to the ten countries of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Date of Publication: No limitations, but the emphasis is on current publications.

Types and Formats of Materials Collected: All formats may be collected, including electronic, print, and microform. Electronic resources include indexes, databases, reference tools, e-books, and so forth. Networked electronic access is preferred for full text journal literature and for indexing and abstracting.

Electronic Format: See Types and Formats of Materials Collected.

Treatment: Textbooks and juvenile materials are excluded.


As a participant in the Library of Congress Cooperative Acquisitions Programs, the University of Hawaii at Manoa Library has assumed responsibility for housing local government publications from the east Indonesian provinces of Papua (formerly known as Irian Jaya), Nusa Tenggara Timur, Nusa Tenggara Barat, and Maluku.


Southeast Asia is a large area; it includes eleven different countries with eleven different national languages with numerous dialects. In addition, the eleven nations that presently make up Southeast Asia have been occupied by the nations and cultures of China, Japan, France, Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and the United States. All have left their imprint on the indigenous language, culture, and history of the region. Retrospective material on the area was issued in all of those languages. Access to Southeast Asian materials beyond the most minimal level of information, requires knowledge of a variety of western and Southeast Asian languages.

Compiled by: Rohayati Paseng
Date: June 2008

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