Newsletter No. 57 (January 2011)

Report on the 10th Pacific-Asia Conference on Korean Studies (PACKS 2010) and Visiting the Asian Languages Collection, the University of Auckland

Jung-Sim Kim

Korean Studies Librarian
Monash University


I attended the 10th Pacific-Asia Conference on Korean Studies (PACKS 2010), 24-25 November 2010. Following the conference I visited the Asian Languages Collection at the University of Auckland Library together with Mr. Darrell Dorrington, China – Korea librarian at Australian National University. Darrell and I had an opportunity to have discussions and exchange our thoughts about services in our areas with other Asian librarians during our visit.

During the conference period, accommodation and meals were provided by the Conference Organising Committee for presenters. My airfare was paid by Monash University Library. I found the conference enjoyable and useful, even though it was not a library conference. It gave me fresh networking opportunities with academics and researchers working on Korean studies. There was a library session on the first day of conference. My report focuses on the library session.

Library session

Mr. Kyu-won Hwang, Korean Resources Librarian at the University of Auckland Library, presented a paper entitled “An Introduction to the Korean Collection at the University of Auckland Library”.

He briefed delegates about the University of Auckland Library, and the Asian Languages Collection in order to provide some background information for the Korean collection. The University of Auckland Library has 13 subject-specific libraries and operates 4 Information Commons facilities. It also holds the largest collection among academic libraries in New Zealand.

The Korean collection was started in 1989 with the sponsorship of Yonkang Foundation, which donated Korean language books. Now the Korean collection has more than 11,000 volumes that cover a wide range of subjects on Korea. It serves the library’s primary users, such as students (including around 800 Korean domestic and international students) and staff, as well as the local Korean community. More than 50% of the Korean collection is on literature and history. The collection changed its classification system from the Harvard-Yenching classification to the Library of Congress classification in early 2009.

He also explained the role of Korean Resources Librarian - providing research support, reference and information skills services.

I presented a paper entitled “Korean Resources at Monash University and other Australian Academic Libraries”.

It covered the size of Korean studies resources in major Australian academic libraries and developments in the library catalogue and Korean studies databases at Monash University Library, including fee-based databases and other Korea-related resources.

My survey of Korean studies resources in major Australian academic libraries was conducted by remotely accessing their Web OPAC and doing a search on the keyword “korea*” using truncation asterisk (*) to find information on library holdings of Korean resources.

The search results retrieved Korea, Korean etc. as below:


Korean resources by Web OPAC

(as at 21/5/2001)

(as at 7/9/2010)

Australian National University



Curtin University of Technology



Griffith University



Monash University



University of New South Wales



University of Queensland



University of Sydney



Of course, this process did not retrieve all of the materials on or about Korea. Also, the keyword used was an English term, so it could not retrieve materials written in Korean orthography. However, the results presented above gave users an idea of which Australian universities have Korea-related resources and the relative size of their collections. A comparison with a similar survey conducted in 2001 showed that most of the Korean collections have roughly doubled in size over the past nine years, but most of the library holdings are still less than 10,000 titles.

In recent years, most libraries have been obtaining more electronic resources for their users. In addition, libraries are providing users with more efficient ways of accessing information about their holdings and their databases.  Federated search tools are gradually replacing the traditional web OPAC which allow users to access considerably more resources. Monash University Library will be implementing Primo in early 2011. Federated search tools and next-generation library catalogues can easily search English-language articles or journals published in Korea that appear in English-language databases.

The e-Korean Studies database, to which the Monash University Library has subscribed, consists of nine databases. They are KISS, KSI e-book, Digital Culture Art Course, KoreaA2Z Korean Studies DB Contents, Unified database of Korean modern history, the unified database of North Korean scientific journals, the database of Korean historical culture research, History Cultural Series, and LawnB’s Legal Information. Two additional databases, DBpia and KRpia, are provided by Nurimedia. Monash University and the Australian National University Libraries subscribe to all these databases, and their subscriptions are subsidized by the Korean Foundation.

Besides subscribed databases, users can search and retrieve free Korean materials via the Internet. Monash University Library users often make use of RISS database, Korea Knowledge Portal and Korea.net. The National Library of Australia’s Trove is useful for searching Korean resources held by Australian libraries.

In my paper I also mentioned Asian Studies subscription databases, which provides a list of Asian Studies databases subscribed to by Australian research libraries, compiled from a survey conducted by Asian Libraries in Melbourne (ALIM).

I concluded that the new generation of search engines or tools allows users to find resources easily from their library catalogues. Non-Korean background users may easily find resources from federated search tools using keyword searches. But the new generation search engines cannot harvest some databases such as Korean databases. Korean studies librarian thus have an important role to assist users to access Korean resources efficiently.

Mr. Darrell Dorrington presented a paper entitled “Serving from the sidelines – supporting Korean Studies at the Australian National University Library”.

He presented on his role to support Korean studies at the Australian National University and showed us the web sites of the Asian Studies Databases and Asia-Pacific Staff pages of ANU. He also emphasised communication and cooperation between Asian librarians in acquiring or subscribing to expensive materials such as databases or large volume sets. The CrossAsia English home page is an example that supports his concerns.

More detailed information on his presentation can be found in this issue of the EALRGA newsletter.

Visiting the Asian Languages Collection, University of Auckland

After two full day of the conference, Darrell and I visited the General Library where the Asian Languages Collection is located. Mr. Hwang kindly gave us a tour of the Library. Ms Yvonne Sutherland kindly explained and gave us a tour of the special collections: the New Zealand Glass Case, General Glass Case, Gilderdale, and Microtexts Reading Room.

The Asian Languages Collection is located on Level 3 of the General Library. It was established in 1966, and Chinese language materials were the first Asian language materials collected.  The Japanese collection was started in 1968 and the Korean collection in 1989. The Asian Languages Collection consists of about 50% in Chinese, 35% in Japanese, and 15% in Korean.

Recently, the Korean collection was re-classified in early 2009 from Harvard-Yenching Classification system to Library of Congress Classification system. The Chinese and Japanese collections were reclassified through 2009 and completed at the beginning of 2010.

The General Library of the University of Auckland has RFID tags for book security instead of tattle tapes.

Darrell and I had a discussion with the Asian Resources Librarians of the University of Auckland Library regarding issues on Asian databases and information sharing. We discussed matters such as vendors, databases, eBooks, libguides, etc.

[Photo: (from left to right) Ms Yvonne Sutherland, Mr Darrell Dorrington, Ms Jung-Sim Kim]


[Photo:  (from left to right) Mr Kyu-won Hwang, Mr Darrell Dorrington, Ms Jung-Sim Kim, Mr Haiqing Lin, and Ms Chie Emslie at the Asian Languages Collection, the University of Auckland]




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