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Newsletter No. 63 (January 2014)

Asian Languages Collection at the University of Adelaide Library

Helen Attar

Research Librarian (Social Sciences)
University of Adelaide Library


Whilst the University of Adelaide Library does not have a separate Asian Studies section it does have a substantial collection of Asian language material. Most of this material is housed in the main collection sequence of the Barr Smith Library, the main library of the University of Adelaide. A small number of items are also held in our Special Collections. The collection supports the teaching and research of the Centre for Asian Studies (CAS).  CAS was established in 1975 as a separate entity but has since been subsumed into the School of Social Sciences.¹  CAS has very strong Chinese and Japanese language programs and also offers non-language social science courses.  As is the case for many academic libraries with limited space, we are trying to purchase ebooks instead of print books where possible. Electronic access to journals and newspapers has become the norm, where titles are available.

We regularly purchase Chinese language material as requested by academics. In 2009 CAS began teaching native Chinese speakers in Chinese and the Library has been able to support these students by subscribing to four of the CNKI databases and a small but growing collection of Chinese ebooks from CNKI, Apabi and World Scientific. It has been pleasing to see that the CNKI databases are used by Chinese scholars across a range of disciplines in the university.

We regularly purchase Japanese language material as requested by academics. In 2012 we subscribed to the Kikuzo II database particularly for our Japanese Studies researchers. We are still in the process of exploring access to Japanese language ebooks.

The library holds a small number of Korean language titles and these are mostly derived from donations. There is no Korean language program at the University.

Chinese book set from our Special Collections
张英,御定淵鑒類函, 海 : 上海同文書局, 光绪13年 [1887]

Vietnamese was taught in CAS in the 1990s. The Barr Smith Library holds a small collection of Vietnamese language material from this period.

Indonesian is taught at the University of Adelaide by Flinders University staff and once again we hold a very small number of titles.






3980 (print & electronic)



387  (print & electronic)










University of Adelaide’s Asian languages collection

In the past ten years we have received valuable print donations from CAS academics as they have retired. During this time we have also received print donations from the Nippon Foundation, the Korea Foundation and the Confucius Institute which is situated at the University of Adelaide.

The Chinese and Japanese materials have been catalogued by a specialist librarian, Qing Liang, for the past 16 years and more recently a copy cataloguer has also been employed to assist with the Chinese language material. 

From 2009-2013 Asian Studies was part of the Research Librarian (Social Sciences) portfolio.  A restructure of portfolios has meant Qing Liang will now be the Asian Studies Research Librarian from January 2014. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Asian Studies academics, researchers and students the past five years and wish Qing much success in her new role.

Japanese book  set from our Special Collections
日本木版株式会社, 浮世絵名畫集, 东京 : 日本木版株式会社, 1928.

¹  Gerald Groot, "The History of the Centre for Asian Studies at the University of Adelaide", in Nick Harvey et al. “A History of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Adelaide 1876-2012,” (University of Adelaide Press, 2012), 53. Accessed January 15, 2014, http://www.adelaide.edu.au/press/titles/faculty-arts/



Page last updated: February 2014
Please direct all enquiries to the editor, Ms Ayako Hatta Ayako.Hatta@monash.edu
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