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International Symposium on Emerging Roles of East Asian Libraries, Hong Kong & Online


11 November 2022 (Friday)


8:30 am – 12:30 pm 



Registration link


In the eve of celebrating Fung Ping Shan Library's 90th year of service to researchers and students of China Studies, speakers from academic institutions around the world will share insights on the emerging roles of East Asian Libraries. The program will feature talks in Chinese or English by librarians and academics about new ideas and initiatives in engaging users with their collections through unique or innovative approaches.





Opening remarks 


Flora Ng

Chief Information Officer / University Librarian, University of Hong Kong


Decolonization and Repatriation of Special Collections in Chinese Studies: Related Concepts and Practices   

Jim Cheng

Director, C.V. Starr East Asian Library, Columbia University


“East Asian Libraries” versus University Libraries in East Asia: changing relationships  

Martin J. Heijdra

Director, East Asian Library, Princeton University


The Future of East Asia Libraries in American Universities: A Vision 

Yang Jidong

Head, East Asia Library, Stanford University


Discussion and break 

Peter Zhou


The preservation and conservation of East Asian paper-based documents and the associated collaboration opportunities from the perspective of ancient book protection

Yang Guanghui

Deputy Director, Fudan University Library


On New Special Collections in University Libraries from the Perspective of Modern Academic History: A Case Study on Peking University 

Zhang Hongyang

Research Librarian, Peking University Library


Collecting Books for Public Use:  HKU Libraries’ Projects to Collate and Share the Chinese Special Collections

Yeung Man Shun

Senior Lecturer, School of Chinese, University of Hong Kong


Jacky Li

Assistant Service Manager, Fung Ping Shan Library, University of Hong Kong


Ng Chak Hei

MPhil Candidate, School of Chinese, University of Hong Kong


Undergraduate student representatives, School of Chinese, University of Hong Kong


The East Asia Collection in Berlin: From the Past to Tomorrow

Matthias Kaun

Director, East Asia Department, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin



Wu Jianzhong


Closing remarks

Esther Woo

Director of Library Services/ Fung Ping Shan Librarian, University of Hong Kong

Introduction to Speakers and Presentations 

Jim Cheng

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Jim Cheng has been the director of C.V. Starr East Asian Library, Columbia University since 2010 after serving in four different academic libraries in the United States. Cheng served as the President of CEAL (Council on East Asian Libraries) 2016-2018. Due to his distinctive and innovative contribution in library special collection development, Library Journal named Cheng the 2008 Mover and Shaker. In 2009, he won the Fulbright Scholar Senior Research Award for his book project in Taiwan Film Studies.  His professional activities and academic works involve in library information, digital projects, library special collection development, and film studies, including “An Annotated Bibliography for Taiwan Film Studies” published by Columbia University Press in 2016, and “An Annotated Bibliography for Chinese Film Studies” published by Hong Kong University Press in 2004.  

Presentation Title 

Decolonization and Repatriation of Special Collections in Chinese Studies: Related Concepts and Practices  

Presentation Abstract

How do you work with the earlier Anglo-American centric standard practices of collecting and processing Chinese special and archival materials at Columbia that were not concerned with access of their native communities? To answer this, we are using three concepts and practices which are re-evaluation of the past with new enhancements, digital repatriation, and new acquisition procedures.  

Yeung Man Shun

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Dr Yeung Man Shun joined the School of Chinese at the University of Hong Kong in 1997, and is now a Senior Lecturer in Chinese History and Culture. He carried out post-doctoral research at the John W. Kluge Center at the US Library of Congress in 2002-2003 and at Kyoto University in 2005. His research interests include the history of China-West relations, late imperial Chinese history, Buddhism and Christianity, Chinese language and culture, and early Hong Kong history. 

Ng Chak Hei

Ng Chak Hei, majoring in both Chinese History and Culture and History as an undergraduate, graduated with first-class honors from the Faculty of Arts, The University of Hong Kong in 2022. He is currently a full-time MPhil student at the University of Hong Kong.

​undergraduate team

Chan Sai Hung 

Cheung Wai Chung 

Huang Kwan Lam 

Ngai Ho Yan 

Presentation Title 

Collecting Books for Public Use:  HKU Libraries’ Projects to Collate and Share the Chinese Special Collections  

Presentation Abstract

HKU Libraries is well-known among international academics for its immense holdings, especially its collection of rare books and special items. Based on the experience that the speakers gained from participating in the funded projects to collate the Chinese special collections, this presentation explores feasible methods for document collation, historical research, and knowledge sharing. The special collections chosen for collation are focused on Luo Zhenfu 羅禎符 (a doctor in the Qing court), Chinese merchants in Hong Kong, traditional clans of the New Territories, and Professor Luo Xianglin [Lo Hsiang-lin] 羅香林; also included are holdings assembled by collectors and connoisseurs such as Huang Muhan黃慕韓, Luo Yuanjue羅原覺, and Li Zuyou [Lee Cho Yau] 李祖佑. Each of these collections has distinctive features of its own. But what unifies them is that they are all valuable resources for investigating the cultural, economic, and social links between Hong Kong and South China, and also other regions in and beyond China in modern times. To explore, collate, and promote these collections with limited resources, it is crucial to foster efficient collaboration between the Libraries and the various teaching departments, in order to facilitate the participation of the teaching staff and students in related tasks. Ultimately, the collected items will be digitized and globally shared, which is the most effective way of making them accessible to the Internet community. This presentation is divided into three parts. The first part will recount how the Libraries acquired these collections and specifies the size and the main theme of each collection. The second part will explain, from the perspective of teaching and learning, how to promote sustainable document collation by ensuring interdisciplinary collaborations and offering an internship course. Finally, student researchers will illustrate how they have participated in and benefited from the research projects. 

​Martin J. heijdra


Martin J. Heijdra studied sinology and japanology at Leiden, Beijing and Kyoto before receiving a PhD in Ming history at Princeton, partly published in the Cambridge History of China. From 1988 he was the Chinese bibliographer at the East Asian Library at Princeton; he became its Director in 2015. In those capacities he has published on various aspects of the history of the East Asian book and non-Western typography. He currently is the book review editor for the journal East Asian Publishing and Society, Treasurer of the Society for Ming Studies, and member of the advisory board for the Bibliography of Asian Studies. For twenty years he was a Board member of the Geiss Hsu Foundation, which has become a major sponsor for activities in the field of Late Imperial China.

Presentation Title 

“East Asian Libraries” versus University Libraries in East Asia: changing relationships 

Presentation Abstract

In the meetings and projects which in the past took place between North American (or European) East Asian Libraries, and University Libraries in East Asia, often unspoken was that they cannot really be understood as equal partners.  East Asian Libraries are largely branch libraries within their own institution, not always even directly reporting to central library leadership.  Their existence as organizational units is frequently questioned; they sometimes are only virtually units. 

The needs of the University Libraries in East Asia for mutually exchanges now go beyond the limited area of East Asian Studies; what is desired is interinstitutional contact on a university library level, and in many ways they have outgrown wat relationships with East Asian Libraries can provide. Yet, in other ways, many benefits remain in the mutual sharing knowledge of and access to resources in the languages at stake.  

It therefore may be worthwhile to on the one hand, more explicitly acknowledge the inherent inequality of relationships and needs, while on the other hand reimagine the positive roles that the relationships still can play. What was successful in the past, what could be successful in the future? The cultural and linguistic knowledge of the East Asian Libraries certainly enables them to function as a bridge between North America and East Asia. But to better fulfill those roles, some readjustments may be necessary; the East Asian Libraries may need to better express and stress their special role to their leadership (as they are often seen locally as equivalents to other branch libraries, and some of their cooperation may have happened without much awareness from the highest levels.) University Libraries in East Asia may benefit from a clearer distinction between Asian-studies-based relationships and university-to-university relationships, while allowing for both. 

Matthias Kaun


Curriculum Vitae
since 2006 Director of the East Asia Department of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Germany 
2002-2006 Special Subject Librarian – East Asia Department of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin 
2000-2002 Postgraduate studies of Library and Information Science in Berlin and Cologne 
1994-2000 Study: Chinese Studies, History and Law at Kiel University, Beijing and Hangzhou (PR China) 
Projects since 2002

CrossAsia: FID Asia (
Virtual Research Environment for East Asian Studies, CrossAsia Campus 

Responsible for different digitisation projects (Berlin Chinese, Japanese, Manchu and Western language collection; Reconstruction of the historical Berlin East Asia collection), Digital Lao and Northern Thai Manuscript Library (in cooperation with Passau University and Laos National Library)

Member of Organisations

  • European Association of Sinological Librarians 

  • European Association for Chinese Studies 

  • Association for Asian Studies 

  • OCLC-PICA Expert Group : Catalogues and Multiscript (Unicode / UTF) 

  • Working Group: German Special Subject Libraries (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Sondersammelbietsbibliotheken FID) 

  • Kommission, Zukunft der Informationsinfrastruktur (KII), Arbeitsgruppe Virtuelle Forschungsumgebungen der Gemeinsamen Wissenschaftskonferenz - GWK (2010) 

  • Working Group: German National Licences

Presentation Title 

The East Asia Collection in Berlin : From the Past to Tomorrow

Presentation Abstract

The East Asia Department of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (Berlin State Library) which besides East Asia also manages the regions of South East- and Central Asia, is presently planning an exhibition, a symposium, and a festivity in order to celebrate a triple anniversary in 2022 and 2023: the 400th Birthday of Christian Mentzel (1622-1701) – 100 Years East Asia Department – 70 Years Financial Subsidies by the German Research Foundation (DFG).
Anniversaries are always a time for expressing joy and reflecting on what has been achieved. But they are also an occasion and a chance to look at where we are and where we need to go.
In my contribution I would like to highlight three aspects:
1. The history of the East Asia Collection since 1661 in Berlin and the engagement in the past and present to deal with special materials in a non-Asian oriented world and academia.
2. The tasks and challenges arising from a national responsibility for a collection and its orientation in the 21st century (digital transformation as a process) and
3. the question of the means and competences we need today to be able to meet the demands of tomorrow.


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Professor Yang Guanghui was born in Fenghua, Zhejiang, China. He holds a doctoral degree in Literature and a position of Research Librarian of Fudan University, where he currently works as a Deputy Director of Fudan University Library, the Executive Vice President of Institute for Preservation and Conservation Chinese Ancient Books / Institute for Cultural Relics Conservation Innovation and a doctoral supervisor. 

He is also one of the Dawning scholars in Shanghai. Professor Yang was a Visiting Scholar of the East Asian Library of University of Pittsburgh and Yale University respectively, and a Postdoctoral Fellow of Yenching Library of Harvard University. 

Professor Yang’s main research directions include ancient books preservation and conservation, history of Chinese book collection, Chinese classical literature, overseas sinology, indexology, etc. He is the author of Empirical Research on Sadula's Life and Works, Collection of Tao Zong's Poems and Essays (Collation of Ancient Books), and Selected Pictures and Texts of Chinese Gardens in Past Dynasties (the fourth series, Collation of Ancient Books). He also translated The Invention of Li Yu, and edited China Index, etc. 

Presentation Title 

The preservation and conservation of East Asian paper-based documents and the associated collaboration opportunities from the perspective of ancient book protection. 

Presentation Abstract

East Asia (including China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea and Mongolia, and China including the mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) is the region with the largest collection of Chinese paper documents. In modern times, since the 40th year of Meiji(Guangxu 33 years, 1907), Japan's Yasuki Iwasaki Seikado Bunko Library acquired the books collected by Lu Xinyuan in Bisonglou, Huzhou, Zhejiang Province, to Peking University Library's acquisition of Japan's "Dachang library" in 2013, the overall purchase and collection of ancient books effectively protected the integrity of the paper document collection in East Asia; From the “ Chinese Rare Book Project”initiated by J.S.Edgren, the CALIS joint catalogue of ancient books organized by Peking University to the completion of the "general catalogue of Chinese ancient books", "general catalogue of Chinese Han books collected in Korea" and the Japanese Han Book database project, it has effectively promoted the disclosure of ancient book catalogues and collections in East Asia; From Professor Pan Meiyue of National Taiwan University and Mr. Shen Jin of Harvard University jointly compiled the "overview of the preservation of ancient books in mainland China", the mainland launched the "Chinese ancient books protection project", to Professor Du Xiaofan of Fudan University launched the "UNESCO East Asia traditional paper protection project (2009-2015)", Shandong University launched the "global Chinese books integration project", and the construction of the projects "Japanese Tibetan Chinese ancient books general catalogue" and "Korean Tibetan Chinese ancient books general catalogue", The circulation, collation, restoration and protection of paper documents in East Asia have been greatly strengthened. We expect that on the basis of respecting their respective particularities and protecting intellectual property rights, the protection of paper documents in East Asia will strengthen the sharing of scientific protection technologies, promote further mutually beneficial cooperation among paper document collection institutions in East Asia, and promote the effective protection of paper documents. 

Jidong Yang

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Jidong Yang received a B.A. in History from Peking University, a Ph.D. in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MLIS from Rutgers University. He served as Chinese Studies Librarian at the University of Pennsylvania Library, Head of Asia Library at the University of Michigan, and Head of East Asia Library at Stanford University. He is currently serving as Librarian of the Harvard-Yenching Library at Harvard University. His academic interests include pre-modern Chinese history and literature, history of Buddhism, Dunhuang studies, the archaeology and history of the Silk Road, digital humanities, and the history of the library. He has published in a number of English and Chinese journals, including the Journal of Asian History, Journal of the International Association for Buddhist Studies, Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles and Reviews, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Zhonghua wenshi luncong, and Tianlu luncong. He is the editor of Beyond the Book: Unique and Rare Primary Sources for East Asian Studies Collected in North America, which was recently published by the Association for Asian Studies.

Presentation Title 

The Future of East Asia Libraries in American Universities: A Vision 

Presentation Abstract

The East Asia library is a unique branch in university library systems of the United States. Since they emerged in the late 19th century, East Asia libraries and collections have undergone many transformations. The development of digital and network technologies in the 21st century brought another wave of significant changes to the East Asia library, which were further accelerated by the outbreak of Covid-19. This presentation will briefly review the history of East Asia libraries in American institutions and provide a vision for their development in the post-Covid era.  

Zhang Hongyang


Zhang Hongyang is a research librarian at Peking University Library. She obtained her B.A. and M.A. degrees from Nanjing University in 1988 and 1985, respectively, and her second M.A. degree from the University of British Columbia in 1996. She joined Peking University Library in 1997 and has long been engaged with the research of modern literature and documents. Ms. Zhang served as Director of the Special Collection department from 2005 to 2017, and has been Director of the Center for Asian historic and Geographic literature studies, Peking University, since 2020. She has published three books as editor-in-chief or co-editor, and 40 papers in international and domestic journals. Ms. Zhang received the Second Prize of the 11th Social Sciences and Humanities Research Outstanding Achievements of Peking University in 2011, and the Second Prize of the 12th Beijing Municipal Philosophy and Social Sciences Research Outstanding Achievements in 2012.  

Presentation Title 

On New Special Collections in University Libraries from the Perspective of Modern Academic History 

——A Case Study on Peking University

Presentation Abstract

Since the beginning of China’s reform and opening up in 1978, Chinese academic circles have generated waves of the rediscovery and reevaluation of modern academic achievements in social sciences and humanities of the nation. As the result of these waves, the “special collections” at Peking University Library became unconstrained by the old concept of “rare ancient books”, and expanded the scope to cover important academic resources in modern times. This presentation will analyze the characteristics of the new special collections from the perspective of modern academic transition, and provide a preliminary summary of the collation and discovery of and research on the new collections. Construction of new special collections has gradually become one of the hot areas in the expansion of university library activities in mainland China in the past two decades. These libraries now display great diversity in their possession of special collections, pointing to a new directions of library resource construction and services.  

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