- Online access to the Siku quanshu
available at ANU Menzies Library
On two dedicated computers, access to the online version of
the Siku quanshu is available for staff and students of ANU.
- Digitisation in progress
The ANU Library has started a digitisation project that
includes the digitisation of the Xu Dishan collection. Currently, the most
fragile items have been digitised.
Xu Dishan 許地山
(1893-1941) belonged to the most influential writers, researchers and
philosophers in the early years of the Chinese republic. He studied at Yanjing
University in Beijing as well as at Columbia University and Oxford University.
He later also taught religious studies at Yanjing University, Beijing
University and Qinghua University, and thus had a deep understanding of Eastern
and Western literature and religious studies. His family were devout Buddhists,
and this is reflected in this collection and his writings. This collection
served as the religious text fundament for his own writings, which are still
well known today. When Xu was appointed head of the Department of Chinese by
the University of Hong Kong in 1935 he began working on reforming the Chinese
curriculum, and thus became an important figure in education. He unexpectedly
died in 1941, aged 48.
The collection was acquired by the renowned scholar and
diplomat Charles Patrick Fitzgerald, foundation professor of Far Eastern
History at ANU, in 1951 from the University of Hong Kong. As Prof Fitzgerald
remembers in an interview in 1991, “I was there [in Hong Kong] for two months
or more buying books and it was not too difficult because there were,
fortunately, some collections which were being offered for sale by the heirs of
people who'd perished in the war and one thing and another. And Hong Kong
University had custody of some of these which they didn't want to keep, so I
bought a whole lot from them.” Luckily he acquired this one too. It formed the
basis of the Asian/Chinese collection at the ANU at the time and is still a
magnificent part of our rare book collection.