It has become customary for the Asian Studies librarian group to conduct meetings and discussions
in conjunction with the biennial ASAA conference. By far, this year’s activity has been the most significant. We conducted
two panel discussions. With thanks to the conference convenors, both panels were held on the first day of the conference in
the middle of day. The purpose of these panels was to bring together academics and librarians to the table to discuss shared
issues. In the attempt to have a meaningful conversation, it was hoped that the topic of discussion would appeal to as large
a group as possible. Hence, it was very encouraging to see 30-40 persons in the room, with good representatives from both the
academic and librarian communities.
The two panel discussions were organised and chaired by Dr Amy Chan (ALRA President). The presenters were
invited to bring to the discussion pressing issues that they were passionate about on the topic of Asian Studies research material.
Members of the audience represented both academic and librarian communities, from various levels of academic (professorial,
emeriti, Early Career Researchers, and students) across Australia and elsewhere, and librarians from the National Library,
Monash University and ANU.
The presentations were brief (limited to 10 minutes each) to allow for maximum discussion time.
Prof Robert Cribb (ANU) New directions in Asian Studies and the implications for research method
Dr Vannessa Hearman (University of Sydney) Library resources support for academics’ research: some thoughts
Dr Aline Scott-Maxwell (Monash University/University of Melbourne Library) Language and area studies specialists in libraries in a changing
resource and budgetary environment
Dr Amrita Malhi (ASAA Council) National cooperative collection development and the collecting of ephemera
Dr Amy Chan (ALRA/ASAA Council) Digitising research resources and the need for a national approach
Dipin Ouyang (NLA) Challenges in current Web Archiving
Friederike Schimmelpfennig (ANU) Cross Asia, a national, subject-oriented virtual platform for Asian Studies resources: access for all to a greater variety of materials
Diane Costello (Council of University Librarians) Discussant
The ensuing discussion was earnest, lively, passionate and constructive. It was very assuring to hear the
vociferous support for the continuing role of the subject-specialist librarians. Many also expressed frustration in their attempts
to access Asia-related material, particularly e-resources that appear on their search results on Trove. Their frustration was
palpable, and shared amongst many in the audience.
Despite the success of this roundtable discussion, the work is not over yet. In fact, this is only the
start. Much work needs to be done. What comes out of this will depend on what Asian Studies scholars and librarians alike will or
can do with what was raised in both the presentations and discussion.