History Log and Notes for Further Research (Work in Progress)

Rather than write out a narrative, I’ve briefly summarized each entry.  I’ve also pulled out portions of the articles that I found to be of particular interest.  Then I’ve color-coded various items, not only to ensure I’ve met the requirements of the assignment, but also to highlight areas for additional personal research.  Favorites are marked with large font immediately following the citation.  But they’re all at the end, so scroll down. 🙂

The key is as follows:

Green = course material chosen to meet assignment requirements. 
Blue = personally chosen items of interest. 
Purple = items of interest for further personal research. 
Red = criticisms.

The Beginnings:

  • Zheng, Yunyan (2014). Library history: Seeking the origin of the Chinese library from its tradition. Libri, 64(3), 263-276.
    • Gives a basic overview of library history in China and refutes the idea that features of library modernization came only after influence from the West.
      • Four types: Governmental, educational, religious, personal
      • Characteristics of modern libraries: they were open to the public; financed with governmental income; and run under special library laws,
      • Book chambers
      • Distinct neglect of Confucian influence
  • Kerry (2013). ‘The House of Books’: Libraries and archives in ancient Egypt. Libri, 63(1), 21-32.
    • Gives basic overview of Ancient Egyptian library history.
      • “Arguably, while the collecting of books for the personal use of an individual – a private library – remains essentially unchanged”
        • I would like to hear that argument.
      • The main  role of those employed within these libraries being “to serve the Gods”
      • Four types:
        • there were several institutions associated with storing documentation. These include “per ankh”  the “House of Life”, “per medjat”  the “House of Papyrus Rolls” (or “Books”) and the “Hall of Written Documentation”, which served as an archive for official state-related documents (Haikal 2008, 41), possibly similar to a modern public records office. Add to these the storage of “genut” – annals 

Ancient Libraries:

  • Houston, George W. (2008). Tiberius and the libraries: public book collections and library buildings in the early Roman Empire. Libraries & the Cultural Record, 43(3), 247-269.
    • Discusses evidence of library administration in relation to various Roman Emperors, focusing mainly on Tiberius
    • In one of his poems Ovid imagines one of his books of poetry, written in exile, returning to Rome and seeking entrance into the three existing libraries. The dramatic date is roughly AD 10. First the book approaches the Apollo library, then the Octavian, and finally the library in the Atrium Libertatis. In each case the book is refused entrance by someone in charge of that library.19
  • Jiang, Shuyong (2007). Into the source and history of Chinese culture: knowledge classification in Ancient China. Libraries & the Cultural Record, 42(1), 1-20.
    • Describes the evolution of China’s classification system in use well before western influence
      • Influence of bibliographies on cataloging in China
      • four-division system jing (classics), shi (history), zi (masters), and ji (collections of writings)
      • Unlike the Western system, in which the relationships of individual divisions to one another are loose and priority order does not matter,…”
        • Not sure I agree with that

Early Libraries

  • De Weerdt, Hilde Godelieve Dominique (Winter 2007). The discourse of loss in Song dynasty private and imperial book collection. Library Trends, 55(3), 404-420.
    • Gives an overview of the efforts made by the Song Dynasty to recover books looted from the library during the invasion of the Jin
      • the odyssey of Zhao Min-gcheng (1081–1129) and Li Qingzhao (1084–1155), a collector couple who carted their collection by river and over land for about five years, discarding and losing things along the way, until only a handful of volumes remain
  • Read Zhang, Wenxian (2008). The Yellow Register Archives of Imperial Ming China. Libraries & the Cultural Record, 43(2), 148-175.
    • Describes the collection of census and taxation records in Imperial Ming China
      • Annals of the Houhu Lake provides information on maintenance of the collection.

Modern Libraries

  • Read Liao, Jing (2004). The genesis of the modern academic library in China: Western influences and the Chinese response. Libraries & Culture, 39(2), 161-174.
    • Attempts to answer the question “Why did this new library model hold so little appeal for the Chinese educated elite?”
      • The first was because of the resentment toward Christianity shared by many intellectuals.
      •  But serving the public was never a clearly articulated ideal or an established library practice in traditional China.
    • Four points for reform:
      • He denounced in particular the practice of treating libraries as book repositories and faulted library owners and book collectors for keeping their collections private, pronouncing such collections useless if they fail to benefit the public.24
      • He then stressed the need to emulate the various libraries in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and Austria. In his essay entitled “Cang shu” (Book Collec-tions), Zheng provided detailed descriptions of the major libraries throughout Europe, including their architectural styles, collection sizes, circulation systems, and financial resources.25
      • Third, he emphasized the inherent relationship between modern libraries and modern education. A successful modern system of education, he argued, was supported by three pillars: public schools, newspapers, and open libraries.26 He gave examples of outstanding Western scholarship made possible by the scholars’ easy access to academic libraries.
      • Finally, Zheng urged the Qing government to establish modern libraries for the advancement of both Western and Chinese learning.
    • Self-Strengthening Movement
      • “After the disastrous defeat in the first Opium War in 1842, a small group of Chinese high officials and scholars began to feel compelled to learn more about their Western conquerors.”
      • the causes of China’s weakness were none other than its outdated social and political institutions, which were ill-suited to meet the challenges of the modern world.
    • (Warnings to a Prosperous Age)
    •  the Qiang Xue Hui (Study Society) and the newspaper Shi wu bao (Chinese Progress).38
    • (Official Book Bureau)
    • (Bibliography of Western Books)
  • Cheng, Huanwen & Davis, Donald G. (Winter 2007). Loss of a recorded heritage: destruction of Chinese books in the Peking Seige of 1900. Library Trends, 55(3), 431-441.
    • “article seeks to outline the historical context of the (destruction of the Hanlin Academy), review the actions leading to actual destruction, describe the significance of the collection concerned, assess the extent and consequences of the loss, and in conclusion, place the event and ongoing research in modern library history.”
      • Some of the books were taken as booty by the curious. Others were simply thrown on the ground and still others tossed into lotus ponds and later buriedall later covered when the compound was leveled soon after the siege.12 
        • Opportunity for excavation?

Contemporary Libraries

  • Yu, Priscilla C. (2008). History of modern librarianship in East Asia. Library History, 24(1), 64-77.
    • Article attempts to “Employ(s) the theory of cultural hegemony, conceptualized by Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937), as the foundation for viewing that evolution of East Asian librarianship.”  Fails pretty hard, in that it ignores cultural hegemony between East Asian countries in favor of examining cultural hegemony between the west and East Asian countries, with the exception of the following paragraph:
      • Chinese system of education based upon the Chinese classics was followed and mastered by scholars in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.2 The Chinese model of archival libraries, followed by other libraries in East Asia, was accessible and opened only to scholars educated in the classics. Premodern libraries in China, Japan, and Korea thrived and comprised wholly of royal collections, academic, and private collections.
        • To achieve hegemony the dominant group needs to build patiently a network of alliances with social minorities.
    • lending libraries, during the Edo period (1600–1868), were facilitated by bookmen carrying packs of books on their backs to homes, charging a fee for loan; the books in question were primarily for the commoners who were avid readers of popular literature, novels, dramas, and poetry.
  • Liao, Jing (2009). Chinese-American Alliances: American professionalization and the rise of the modern Chinese library system in the 1920s and 1930s. Library & Information History, 25(1), 20-32.
    • Gives an overview of contributions made by Mary Elizabeth Wood to the modernization of Chinese libraries, in particular her decision to send Chinese library students to the US for training.
      • Might compare to Lee Pong-Soon
  • Domier, Sharon (Winter 2007). From reading guidance to thought control: wartime Japanese libraries. Library Trends, 55(3), 551-569.
    • But the library community was hesitant to abandon traditional library services (based on free reading by individuals) in favor of social education (guided reading of mandatory texts), and as a result libraries were not effective vehicles in the state’s moral suasion campaigns to ensure that all citizens were fully committed to the war effort.
      • Author is confused as to what constitutes traditional library services in Asia.  Guided reading of mandatory texts is a return to the Confucian model.
        • “to spiritually guide the people’s sentiments and elevate and improve public morals.”  Is this simply unwillingness to establish a western model, rather than a retreat to the past?
        • He began to pressure the JLA to take a leadership role in providing ideological guidance to help solve the “thought problems.”  Though they were guilty of horrible atrocities against China and Korea, and later allied with the Nazis, in the context of libraries and a history of Confucianism, referring to “spiritually guid(ing) the peoples’ sentiments and elevate and improve public morals” is overly biased and likely unwarranted.
        • The entire article reads as a misunderstanding of reluctance to adopt a western model of librarianship.

Today and Tomorrow

  • Michele Valerie (Summer 2007). The paradox of preservation. Library Trends, 56(1), 133-147.
    • Article considers the problems with information preservation arising with the information age.
    • collection of deteriorating human hair
    • As with the intentional destruction of any piece of cultural heritage—books, statues, graves, gas chambers, or any other property, even language and customs—the need or impulse or imperative to preserve is not universal (Cloonan, 2007)
    • Sometimes the long-term preservation model is not appropriate because the works are still in flux. And other needs—access, low-cost distribution, interactivity, malleability—may be more important than preservation
    • in Berlin there was considerable public dialog about the design and site selection for a new Holocaust memorial. And in San Francisco, citizens selected—via the Internet—which historic building would receive preservation funding, in an “American Idol”-like poll set up by the grant funders (Nolte, 2006)
      • Two words: Boaty McBoatface.
    • “Preservation Is Overtaking Us
      • In 1818 the notion of preservation was that objects two thousand years old need to be preserved; in 1900 it was two hundred years; and now it is twenty years; or less
  • Billington, James (2015). The Modern Library and Global Democracy. In A. Crawford (Ed.), The Meaning of the Library: A Cultural History, Princeton University Press.
    • Argues that librarians are more rather than less important in the digital information age, and that libraries as places have a role to play in sustaining democratic societies.
      • As democracy, as practiced today, is a tool of capitalism, should libraries be sustaining democracy?


  • Lee, Yong-jae, and Jae Soon Jo. “The Modern History of the Library Movement and Reading Campaign in Korea.” World Library and Information Congress: 72nd IFLA General Conference and Council. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, 22 Apr. 2009. Web. 8 Apr. 2017.
    •  “Explores the history of library movement and reading campaign in Korea since 1900.” Provides a fairly detailed overview of the struggles and efforts to establish modern libraries in South Korea in an environment of colonization and civil war.”
  • Elrod, J. McRee. “The Beginning of Modern Library Science Education in Korea.” Special Libraries Cataloguing. Special Libraries Cataloguing, Inc., n.d. Web. 8 Apr. 2017.
    • First-hand account of establishing the Yonsei University Library, a Hangul unified catalog, and the Yonsei School of Library Science, immediately following the Korean War.  Includes primary-source photographs.
  • Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies. “Kyujanggak History.” Introduction. Seoul National University, 2007. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. <http://kyujanggak.snu.ac.kr/LANG/en/introduction/4_history.jsp.
    • History timeline of Kyujanggak, the Royal Research Library and Institute of the late Joseon Dynasty through the present day.
    • An archived version with a different introductory section and minor differences in wording can be found here: http://kyujanggak.snu.ac.kr/kiks/main.do?m=01z04
  • Sungkyunkwan University. “Beyond 619 Years of Excellence.” History. Sungkyunlwan University, 2013. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. <http://www.skku.edu/eng_home/s600/index.jsp.
    • Full, multi-page website detailing the history of the Sungkyunkwan University, including Jongyeonggak, the first library built in Korea, from the University’s founding in 1398 to the present day.  The site includes an historic overview, a timeline of events, a photo gallery of the modern campus, short biographies of distinguished people associated with the university, and a page dedicated to Old Sungkyungkwan.
  • Cho, Chan Sik, and Myoung Chung Wilson. “National Libraries of Korea.” International Dictionary of Library Histories. Ed. David H. Stam. Vol. 1 & 2. New York: Routledge, 2015. 482-85. Print. 


    • Pretty amazing reference work compiling histories of libraries all over the world.  Previews are available through Google Books, and if you’re lucky, like I was, the entire entry for the library you’re researching will fit within the range of the preview.
  • “Fresh from the Archives.” Dissertation Reviews. Ed. Thomas S. Mullaney. Dissertation Reviews, 26 July 2014. Web. 24 Apr. 2017. <http://dissertationreviews.org/fresh-from-the-archives


    • I’ll quote directly from the site:
      • Since 2010, Dissertation Reviews has featured more than 1000 overviews of recently defended, unpublished doctoral dissertations in a wide variety of disciplines across the Humanities and Social Sciences. Our goal is to offer readers a glimpse of each discipline’s immediate present by focusing on the window of time between dissertation defense and first book publication.Each review provides a summary of the author’s main arguments, the historiographic genealogy in which the author operates, and the main source bases for his or her research. The reviews are also anticipatory, making educated assessments of how the research will advance or challenge our understanding of major issues in the field when it is revised and published in the future.In addition to the public, non-critical review that is published on the site, authors also receive private, critical commentary from their reviewers designed to help authors during the manuscript revision process. Critical comments are not published on the site or circulated in any way. They are expressly for the author.
    • There’s a whole subsection on dissertations related to Korean Studies, including dissertations on books and library history.
    • The real main feature is the “Fresh from the Archives” section which reviews evaluates libraries on their suitability for academic research.
  • INKSLIB. “Answers to Questions on Korea Studiesv.” Ask a Librarian for Librarians. International Network for Korean Studies Librarians, 27 Apr. 2017. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. <http://inkslib.nl.go.kr/ask/askLibrarianList.jsp .


    • This sub-section of the website for the International Network for Korean Studies Librarians is a forum where Korean Studies Librarians can get answers to reference questions and help with research from librarians in Korean libraries.
    • In addition, the site includes a downloadable Excel spreadsheet of all the Korean Studies libraries in the world, and a page of research databases including searchable electronic copies of all the Confucian classics, although they’re in Chinese. Hopefully, English will come soon.
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