News & Events

December 2007 Wason Update

Vol. 1 No. 7 December 19, 2007

New Japanese Studies Bibliographer

Photo of Dan McKeeDaniel McKee has accepted the position of Japanese Studies Bibliographer at the Wason Collection on East Asia and will start his work at Cornell University Library in mid-February 2008.

Daniel McKee was a native of East Orange, New Jersey. His scholarly and personal fascination with Japanese books dated back to the 1990s, when he lived and worked in Japan for six years. During his long stay in Japan, he became captivated by both the aesthetic qualities and wealth of knowledge available in the traditional, woodblock printed Japanese books, and while he avidly sought out available volumes, he became acquainted with Japanese bookstores and book dealers. In 2006 a subsection of the study collection he built in Japan, focused on textbooks of the Meiji Period, took the first place in the national collegiate book collection contest.

During the seven years that Daniel McKee spent as a graduate at Cornell, specializing in the fields of Japanese pre-modern and modern literatures and art history, he became well acquainted with Kroch Asian Library in general and the Japanese collection in particular. He took Japanese bibliography class. During his final year at Cornell, he was able to apply his specialized interest to a public exhibition of Japanese poetry prints (surimono) for the Johnson Museum. He is the author of two exhibition catalogues, Japanese Poetry Prints: Surimono from the Schoff Collection and Haiku and Haiga: Moments in Word and Image: Japanese Scroll Paintings from the Jon de Jong Collection. He has also published articles and book reviews and given presentations at numerous conferences.

After leaving Cornell in May 2006, Daniel McKee worked as Curator at the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture in Hanford, California. Meanwhile he served as an adjunct professor at Cal State Fresno. Daniel McKee received a B.A. in comparative literature from Rutgers University (1989), an M.F.A in creative writing from Syracuse University (1999), an M.A. in Japanese literature (2001) and a Ph.D. in Japanese literature/art history (2007) both from Cornell University.

New in the Chinese, Japanese and Korean Collections

“China: Trade, Politics and Culture, 1793-1980” Online Database

Since a four-week trial of “China: Trade, Politics and Culture, 1793-1980” was well-received, the Chinese Collection has ordered a subscription to the online database, and it is now available to users via Cornell IP.  The “China: Trade, Politics and Culture, 1793-1980” database is published and maintained by Adam Matthew Digital in the United Kingdom.

Users can access the database by using any computers on campus. The URL is:

No user name or password is required. Users can do either a simple or advanced search by key words, or browse by topics.

This database contains a substantial collection of unique manuscript materials held at the library of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and the British Library in London, and supplemented by additional sources from Cambridge University Library. It provides a wide variety of original source material detailing China’s interaction with the West from Macartney’s first Embassy to China in 1793, through to the Richard Nixon and Edward Heath visits to China in 1972-74. There are also significant sources describing the lives and work of missionaries in China from 1869-1970, including extensive and fully searchable runs of missionary periodicals: The Chinese RecorderLight and Life Magazine and The Land of Sinim: the North China Mission Quarterly Paper. The database also contains an impressive collection of images that will add new depths to teaching and research by offering a striking visual accompaniment to the written documents.

Users will soon be able to access the database from home computers by logging into Cornell Library system when the cataloging of is done.

Online Japanese Dictionary - Nikkoku Online, 日国オンライン

As of December 1, 2007, the Japanese Collection began a subscription to the online Japanese dictionary Nihon kokugo daijiten(日本国語大辞典). The database is also known as Nikkoku Online, 日国オンライン. This dictionary is often compared to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) because it is the largest and most thorough dictionary of the Japanese language. Our October trial of this online dictionary was very well received. Our new subscription allows 1 user at a time to search the dictionary from any computer with a Cornell IP address. To access the dictionary from a Cornell computer, go directly to:

A users guide (in Japanese) to the online version is also available in the Severinghaus Asia Reading Room. In addition to this new online version, patrons may continue to use the print copy of this multi-volume dictionary available in the Severinghaus Asia Reading Room

Call number: Oversize PL675 .N69 2000+

RISS International

The Korean Collection recently began a subscription to RISS International, a new search engine launched by Korea Education & Research Information Service (KERIS).  This gives us:

  • Full text download: 930,000 Korean Journal Articles from Korean societies and university research institutes, 380,000 masters and doctoral Theses from 140 Korean universities & 20,000 Dissertations authored by Koreans who obtained their doctoral degrees from non-Korean institutions
  • MARC download: 7.9 mil bibliographic records located university libraries and professional libraries in Korea (more than 560 members)
  • ILL: 2-3 days turnaround for Korean Journal Articles and Theses & Dissertations
  • Export to RefWorks

Users can search RISS International from any computer with a Cornell IP address.  To access RISS International and for more information go to:

This new resource should not be confused with our continuing subscription to KISS [electronic resource]. KISS provides original academic theses and scholastic papers published from approximately 1,200 professional institutes in Korea.  To access KISS go to:

More to come

Our subscription to the Yomiuri Online (newspaper) should begin in January.

New Library Catalog Locations for Kroch Asia Library’s “Medium Rare Material”

Cornell’s Library Technical Services will create three new library catalog locations, Wason Rare Annex, Echols Rare Annex, and South Asia Rare Annex, for Kroch Asia Library’s “medium rare material”, i.e., items that are not rare enough to be housed in the Rare and Manuscripts Collection’s vault but eligible to be transferred to the Library Annex for limited circulation and use. After these items are accessioned at the Annex, while retaining the collection-specific labels in the library catalog locations, the Library will set up a separate circulation policy for these titles. As the Asia rare material currently housed in the Rare and Manuscripts Collection’s vault, the “medium rare material” must be requested in advance and will be delivered to the Rare and Manuscripts Collection’s reading room for use.  The service is scheduled to be up and running some time this winter in 2008.

CUL Books on Microsoft's Live Books

Nearly 2,000 CUL books digitized through the CU Library’s collaboration with Microsoft are now available on Live Search Books: 
Here are some sample titles:

Borough of Bronx
Slavonic Europe
Progressive Hamilton
The Missing Fragment of the Latin Translation 
A Century of  Science in America

Users can also try a keyword search under "Cornell University Library" (it will also return books with any reference to CUL). It is a beta site and they have not yet added a "Download Entire Book" option for CUL books. The CTS will create catalog records for the digitized titles so that users can easily locate the digital books. 

New Version of CUL's Chart: "Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States"

A new version of CUL’s chart, "Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States," is now available at a new URL: In comparison with the previous version, the biggest change is that two new sections have been added. The first is on published and unpublished sound recordings, and the second is on architectural works. Other small changes have been made to clarify some of the identified problems. In order to facilitate printing, a PDF version of the file is available as well.

The Future of Stanford's East Asia Library Unknown

The Stanford Daily (November 29, 2007)
Fate of East Asia Collection Unknown - University of Library Administration engage students at town hall meeting 
By Christian L. Tom 

Photo of Stanford East Asia Library
Photo: Maggie Skortcheva

The impending demolition of Meyer Library has for months raised concerns regarding the future of Stanford’s East Asia Library (EAL). At a town hall meeting last night in Kresge Auditorium, library and University administrators discussed the future of the 540,000-item East Asia collection with faculty and students. The entirety of the collection is currently housed on campus, in the stacks below Meyer Library and at the two on-campus auxiliary libraries — SAL 1 and SAL 2. 

When Meyer Library is torn down, administrators will be forced to relocate the East Asia Library, whose collections are currently located in the stacks below the venerable building.

As a result of Meyer’s demolition, as much as 93 percent of the EAL collection could eventually be housed off campus at the auxiliary storage library in Livermore (SAL 3), according to one plan proposed by library officials. Other potential plans call for 20 or 40 percent of the collection to remain on campus, though administrators stressed throughout the night that as of now, no final decisions have been made.

“The decision has not been made to move one single East Asia Library book to Livermore,” Provost John Etchemendy Ph.D. ‘82 said at last night’s meeting. “By the time Meyer comes down, we will have the abilities in place for electronic browsing.”

Faculty who work with EAL materials fear that their research — and Stanford’s ability to attract top graduate students and faculty in the field — will be hurt if their books are moved to SAL 3.

But library officials say that the future of Meyer, and of the East Asia collection, is out of their hands.

“We’re losing a whole building and its subterranean storage, we’re running out of storage anyways, and we’re growing,” said Andrew Herkovic, director of communications and development of libraries. “We’re between a rock and a hard place.”

At last night’s meeting, University Librarian Michael Keller said the University’s libraries are currently at 95 percent capacity and gain some 60,000 new volumes each year.

Meyer’s demolition is in part due to the stipulations put forth in Stanford’s General Use Permit (GUP), which regulates the agreement of land use between the University and Santa Clara County.

“The overarching context for this is the GUP, which limits us to two million gross square feet,” Etchemendy said. “It is a quite limiting restriction.”

“The Provost is on record as opposing using precious square footage on campus for stacks facilities; he supports its use for people, not things,” Herkovic said, adding that the EAL is also “growing aggressively,” and “by percentage basis, the largest growing library we’ve got.”

Last spring, a group of about three dozen faculty and alumni wrote a letter to Etchemendy proposing the construction of a new building to house the EAL.

“There are to be no new library buildings on campus,” Keller said on Apr. 11 in a written response to the letter. “President Hennessy and Provost Etchemendy ... directed me to incorporate the EAL in existing library structures other than Meyer.”

In an interview with The Daily, Herkovic stressed that Stanford Libraries did not have control over the future of the EAL.

“We had long hoped to build an East Asia Library separate structure,” he said. “But an East Asia Library sounds to the administration like a ‘warehouse, not people,’ [referring to] the notion of optimizing our GUP allocation for people.”

After receiving Keller’s response to the letter, East Asian Studies faculty banded together, according to History Prof. Thomas Mullaney.

“Michael Keller presented this as a fait accompli that this was going to happen,” he said in an interview with The Daily. “It was just a matter of disposition of the East Asia Library — what percentage will be forced into Green, what percent would go to Livermore.”

Mullaney added that it happened without consultation with faculty.

East Asia specialists are concerned that moving the books off campus will hurt their scholarly work.

“Most people are concerned that they won’t be able to browse books,” said Religious Studies Prof. Carl Bielefeldt, referring to the fact that when books are stored in SAL 3, they will not be viewable by the public until recalled.

Herkovic agreed that the East Asia collection requires special attention, and said the library is doing everything it can to accommodate concerned faculty.

“A lot of staff work is now being done here to figure out how to fit within [Green Library] a coherent East Asia reading room with offices for staff, with a small Special Collections area and presumably the basic reference collection [will be] a part of that,” he said. “The question is what else really belongs on campus and what else can be put into remote storage for next day delivery. There is no hard answer.” East Asia specialists also fear the collection’s relocation will hurt faculty retention and graduate enrollment.“Humanists feel more concerned about this than social scientists or natural scientists. They see the library as a laboratory for what they do,” said Steven Hinton, senior associate dean in the School of Humanities and Sciences.References to the “library as the laboratory” for the humanities were echoed by numerous professors at last night’s meeting.

The EAL debate comes soon after UC-Berkeley constructed of a new building devoted solely to its East Asia collection, a comparison not lost on Stanford’s East Asian Studies community.

“They are sacrificing the East Asia field,” Mullaney said. “Stanford is a Pacific international university, not one that sends the vast majority of its Asian library stacks to a non-disclosed location closed to the public. It’s not a wise move.”

Some East Asia scholars, however, think the situation is already improving, as a full-fledged subcommittee of the Academic Council Committee on Libraries (C-Lib) has been formed.

“I speak for a number of colleagues when I say I’m more hopeful now than a few weeks ago,” said History Prof. Matthew Sommer, who is one of four East Asia specialists on the subcommittee. “I feel much better about the situation now.”

Sommer was not wholly optimistic, however. The Chinese history professor called his optimism “cautious” in an email to The Daily, and added that he was disappointed that total shelf space would be reduced and that the administration was considering moving any of the EAL collection off-campus.

Herkovic acknowledged that the presence of an East Asia reading room would inevitably force the relocation of other library resources.

“An East Asia reading room with books will naturally displace a whole number of books already here, perhaps other spaces like dissertation graduate student or faculty carrels,” he said. “There will be pain and suffering whatever happens.”

The questions surrounding the EAL also raise questions about the digitization of works — and the willingness of humanities as a general area of study to embrace the trend.

Mullaney called the new engineering library’s three-phase digitization project — in which books will be moved to storage only after they are digitized — “a very logical solution.” But he said in the case of the EAL, there has been a rush job in the digitization effort.

Other professors in East Asia echoed Mullaney’s qualified support of digitization in general.

“We are not against digitization,” Sommer said. “We see wonderful potential in digitization. We want to be helped, not hurt by it.”

Herkovic acknowledged that EAL materials are difficult to digitize due to the languages’ use of non-Roman characters.

“We’re completing a $1 million project to make Chinese and Japanese collections [available] on Socrates,” he said. “We also have an $800,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation for that purpose. Chinese, Japanese, Korean character sets — certainly that will have happened before Meyer Library goes away. The timing is reasonably good in that regard.”

But as of now, the problems with digitization go beyond the difficulty in recognizing Chinese, Japanese and Korean characters. EAL Head Librarian Dongfang Shao expressed concern for “multivolume big sets,” which include as many as 3,000 separate titles under a single search entry.

If more detailed information is not placed online before such items are moved to Livermore, Shao fears that finding exact matches will be impossible.

Shao also mentioned that the EAL is like a second home to the nearly 1,500 students who hail from China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore or Hong Kong.

“On Thanksgiving Day, they came here,” he said, adding that students read the newspaper in their native tongues in the EAL reading room.

“If nothing else, this is a multidimensional problem,” Hinton said. “It is about more than one building, one collection. It is about the future of scholarship. It is not only a short-term challenge, but also a long-term opportunity.”