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About the East Asian Collection

In 1958 the University of Kansas received a federal grant to establish an East Asian studies program. From the onset, the Libraries supported this program through the collection of East Asian materials. In 1965 the Libraries established the East Asian Library (EAL) to facilitate the acquisition and processing of materials from this region. The EAL staff has the appropriate skills needed to acquire and process materials for the collections; and to provide reference and research support to the KU community and beyond. The collections support the East Asian Languages and Cultures B. A. and M. A. programs, and doctoral programs with an East Asian concentration in a number of departments and professional schools in the humanities and social sciences. Traditionally, emphasis has been placed on collecting East Asian materials in the humanities. The EAL collections are particularly strong in the fields of art history, history, languages, cultures, and religion. Since the mid 1980s, in the effort to support the expanding East Asian program, emphasis has been expanded to collect social science materials, particularly in contemporary politics, business, law and women's studies. Much of this collection development has been accomplished with external funding sources and/or special one-time endowment money awarded by the Libraries. Since 1989 the EAL has joined the OCLC Online Computer Library Center Chinese Japanes and Korean (OCLC CJK) cataloging system and has provided online access to the collection via the Libraries OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog). The EAL has created its home page in 1995 and has provided patrons with access to the World Wide Web, on-line databases and CD-ROM products. In addition, the KU Libraries established electronic document delivery for KU patrons in the same year. The EAL acquired a special collection of audio-visual materials in 1997 to enhance and support teaching initiatives and outreach activities of the Center for East Asian Studies in the secondary schools.

Collection Locations

East Asian languages collection is housed on the fifth floor of Watson Library as well as 4-1/2 Center stacks level. East Asian folios (> 28 cm) are shelved on 1 East stacks level. In addition, Watson is home to most western language materials on East Asian except art history and music materials. East Asian art history material are housed in the Murphy Art and Architecture Library. Selected materials and ceased periodical titles will be housed in the Library Annex that are currently housed in 1-North at the Anschutz Library. Finally, the Kenneth Spencer Research Library houses several rare book holdings in East Asian languages.

Collection Languages

Primary languages collected are Chinese (modern and classical both in simplified and traditional characters), Japanese, Korean, and English.  Secondary languages are Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur, and European languages


As of June 2009, the total holdings of the East Asian collection consisted of approximately 290,000 volumes, which include 155,300 in Chinese, 79,000 in Japanese, 4,950 in Korean and 41,000 in other languages. The library has collected most core journal titles in paper and in electronic formats. It is among the top 20 collections in the U.S. and the 10th among public funded collections.

Types of Materials

Types Included: The collection includes all types of format: print and electronic books and journals, databases, museum pamphlets and catalogs, audiovisual materials (slides, pictures, LP records, audio tapes, VHS, CD-ROM, DVD, VCD), music scores, GIS data sets, maps, atlases, microforms, painting scrolls, woodblock prints, and websites.

Collected: Books, periodicals, and reference materials, which include encyclopedias and handbooks, annuals, subject bibliographies, dictionaries, indexes and abstracts; audio-visual and electronic materials.

With selectively: Microforms, government documents, literature for children and young adults.

Types Excluded: Most textbooks are not included except historical textbooks.

Access to the Collection

Library Catalog Help

The KU Libraries Online Catalog ("OCAT" for short) contains approximately 98% of East Asian collection. East Asian materials not in the online catalog (some Dewey collection and brief list collection) were under retrospective conversion process and have been available online since 2007. KU OCAT has been displaying CJK characters since 2000.

Displaying and Searching Non-Roman Characters in the online Catalog (Unicode)

View Special Help Screens for the following languages:
Japanese - Chinese - Korean

The above information by the Library of Congress is useful for our users since the LOC and KU both use the same library system (Voyager).
Locate Books in the East Asian Library

East Asian Library Watson Stack Map (pdf)

Call number (or classification number), usually on a label on a book spine, is where a book is shelved in library stacks. There are three shelving schemes number system used by EAL: Dewey Decimal, Library of Congress, and an accession number scheme we called brief list.

The Library of Congress (LC) Call Number: Books begin with letter "A" through "PL 2250" are located on the 5th floor main stacks.  Books begin with letters "PL 2251" through "Z" are located on 4½ Center stacks.

LC numbers begin with alphabetical prefix:



Dewey Decimal collection are located on level 4½ Center stacks. The numbers do not begin with alphabetical prefix.



All folios (LC and Dewey) are shelved at 1-East Watson stacks.

Collection Strengths


Reflecting the major teaching and research activities during the past thirty years, the East Asian collections are strong in art history, history, literature, religion, theater and drama, and Japanese women's studies.

Chinese Collection

The Chinese collection provides broad coverage of history, art history, language and literature, philosophy and religion, and sources for social science study of the modern period. It is particularly strong in the study of Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties (1260-1912), the study of China's Republican period (1912-1949), the social and economic conditions of post Cultural Revolution China (1975-), and the history of modern China. To support those history related teaching and research activities, the library provides primary source local gazetteers from the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties with a focus on Central China (Huazhong), North China (Huabei) and Northwest China (Xibei) regions. Individual authors from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1912) periods, and authoritative collectanea (collections of collections or cong-shu, ts'ung-shu) are procured as primary resources. Those collections support doctoral level studies.

The collection is also strong in art from the Song and Yuan (960-1368), and Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1912) for art history studies. The collection includes works of individual painters, museum and exhibition catalogs, biographies and writings of the literati painters, and period criticism and historical works on paintings. Buddhist paintings on studies of Dunhuang mural paintings, and history of Chinese calligraphy from the early period of 6th century to 10th century are relatively strong.

The Chinese language and literature collection is strong in traditional classical literature and contains literature histories, criticism, and representative literature styles of each dynasty. Important collections include Tang and Song poetry, Yuan and Ming drama, Ming and Qing novels and prose, Tang through Qing literary collections (wen ji), modern Chinese literature, and collections of the important 20th century authors. This collection supports graduate studies at the master level in the EALC department. Students in history and art history doctoral studies utilize this collection as well. Since its inception, the EAL has procured Chinese collectanea (cong-shu) of classical collections compiled by Qing imperials and other private collectors. Those collections of collections provide primary sources for traditional Chinese studies. One notable acquisition was the purchase of the Schindler Collection in 1965. That collection contained several hundred Chinese rare books of literature, history, and bronze inscriptions from the 17th century to late 18th century in original woodblock print format.

The collection for studies in philosophy and religion is relatively strong. Primary sources include the Buddhist sutra of the Tripitaka with emphasis on the Chinese text of the sutra. The collection also supports the studies of Buddhist paintings in art history. Many titles in the microfilm collection also support the research in the history and development of Christianity in China.

Japanese Collection

The Japanese collection was established later than the Chinese collection. The library collection supports undergraduate and graduate programs; particularly strong are Ph.D. studies in history and art history. Therefore, the library collection has strengths in Japanese paintings, modern Japanese history, and literature of the medieval Heian period of classical writings and the 20th century literature of important authors.

The Japanese art history collection is particularly strong in paintings from the medieval period to pre-modern period of Japan. The collection covers the major picture scrolls produced between the Heian period and Muromachi period (794-1600). The library also has an extensive collection of Edo (Tokugawa) period (1600-1868) paintings and Ukiyoe woodblock prints. The remarkable private Stern Collection was added to the library collection in the late 1970s and focuses on Japanese paintings especially on the Edo (Tokugawa) period. The library has constantly collected major publications and exhibition catalogs of established museums in Japan thereby providing updated secondary resources to the library users. The collection of the materials on performing arts, especially kabuki play and noh play is extensive. The library supports research by collecting written as well as visual materials on the performing arts.

The history collection covers the medieval period to pre-modern period Japan. Particular emphasis has been placed on modern Japan from the late Meiji period to the early Showa periods. The collection is exceptionally strong in materials on the socialist/communist movement, including the original and reprint issues of journals and monographs published by socialist and communist groups in the 1920s and 1930s. The collection also holds extensive materials on Taiwan, Chosen, and Manchuria (Manchukuo) under the Japanese occupation. Of special note is the collection of original military maps of Manchuria (Manchukuo) created by the Kwangtung Army during the 1930s. The Japanese history collection is the strongest collection in general and covers important primary sources supporting MA and Ph.D. level studies.

In terms of social science disciplines, concentrated effort has been made to collect materials on Japanese minority issues, in particular, discrimination against the Buraku people and women's studies. The EAL has collected materials that examine the historical as well as contemporary problems of the Buraku people. Additional concentrated efforts have been made to collect materials on the status of Japanese women, including the recent issue of comfort women from the period of World War II. The library has acquired several reprinted women's journals originally published between the Meiji and early Showa periods with grant support from the Japan Foundation and the NCC Multi-Volume Set Grant. The library has become enriched with reprinted journals of proletariat literature that is closely related to the early feminist movement in Japan.

Korean Collection

Traditionally, the University of Kansas has not emphasized Korean studies. Therefore, the Korean language collection consists of core reference works. It has primarily been developed through the acquisition of gift books in history, language and art history. Since 1996, the EAL has purchased a small number of Korean materials to support varies Korean studies initiatives.


It is financially impossible to collect all newspapers and periodicals available for East Asian studies. Therefore, periodicals including newspapers are collected selectively to support the teaching and research needs of the University. Selections are based upon an evaluation of the subject areas taught, research projects, and faculty recommendations. Since 1995, the East Asian collection home page has provided public access to current online newspapers and e-journals available on the World Wide Web.

Western Language Materials

East Asian languages collection is supported by western language materials on East Asia studies housed in the general library collection (Watson Library and the Library Annex), Murphy Art and Architecture Library, Government Information Resources, Thomas Gorton Music and Dance Library, Thomas R. Smith Map Collection, GIS and Numeric Data Lab and the Special Collections of the Kenneth Spencer Research Library. The western language materials supporting East Asian studies consists of more than 41,000 volumes in history, art history, literature, language, philosophy, religion, political science, sociology, anthropology, theater and drama, and geography. Through the approval plans and in coordination with other subject specialists, the Libraries acquire most English language scholarly and academic publications on East Asian studies produced in North America. These works support basic undergraduate and graduate research in most of the professional schools. Other important on-campus international resources are at Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center, and the Wheat Law Library: Legal Research Links - International collections. Those are staffed by personnel in the above departments.

Collection Conspectus

LC Classification
General Works
AC 149-715  Collections, series, collected works. 3
AE 1-95    Encyclopedias (general) 4
AI 19-21    Indexes    
AP 95    Periodicals 4
AS 122-955  Academies and learned societies   
Philosophy  3
B 8-5802    Philosophy   
BL 9-2775  Religions, mythology, rationalism 3
BQ 3-9800  Buddhism 4
BQ1100-3340  Tripitaka (Canonical literature) 4
BR- BX  Christianity  3
DS 701-799.9  China 4
DS798.92-799.9  Taiwan 3
DS801-897  Japan 4
DS901-937  Korea 2
Geography.  Anthropology.  Recreation   
G 1- 2000    Geography 2
GR1-950    Folklore 3
GT 90-7055  Manners and customs 3
GV 45-1965  Recreation 2
Social Sciences   
HA 1-4646  Statistics 3
HA 1-4646 Economic history and conditions 3
HD 37-9999 Land, agriculture, industry    2
Political Science   
JQ1499-1749 Political institutions and public administration (East Asia)    3
KL-KWX    Law (Asia and Eurasia, etc.)   
KNN1-9000  China    3
KNQ1-9665  China (People's Republic, 1949-) 3
KNX1-4999  Japan    3
Education    2
LA11-2385 History of education 1
LB14-3059 Theory and Higher education    1
M Music    1
N Fine Arts   
N7340 Art history. China 4
N7350 Art history. Japan 4
NA  Architecture 3
NB Sculpture    4
NC1690-1699 Drawing. Design. Illustration. China 2
NC1700-1709 Drawing. Design. Illustration. Japan 2
ND Painting   
ND1040    China 4
ND1049   Individual artists 3
ND1050 Japan 4
ND1059   Individual artists 3
NE Engraving. Printing.   
NE1310-1325 Prints, Ukiyoe 4
NK Decorative arts. Applied arts. Decoration and ornament   
NK3631-3639 Calligraphy 4
NX 8-676    Arts in general 2
Language and Literature   
P 9-350    Linguistics 2
P901-1081  Extinct (Ancient or Medieval) Asian languages 3
PL501-889 Japanese language and literature 4
PL901-998 Korean language and literature 2
PL1001-3207 Chinese language and literature 4
PN 9-6790 Literary history and collections (general) 3
Q 4-360    Science (general) 2
QE 1-993    Geology    1
R 100-856 Medicine (general)    1
RC 55-889 Internal medicine. Practice of medicine    1
S 19-900    Agriculture (general)    1
SB 45-500 Landscape architecture and gardens 2
T 4-300 Technology (general)    1
TX 300-900 Home economics    2
Military science
U 19-891    Military science (general) 1
UA 830-853 Armies    1
Bibliography. Library science   
Z43-45 Calligraphy. Penmanship 4
Z3101-3109 Bibliography.  China 4
Z3301-3309 Japan    4
Z3316-3320 Korea    1

Collection depth indicator definitions   
0 = out of scope   
1 = minimal information level   
2 = basic information level   
3 = study or instructional support level   
4 = research level   
5 = comprehensive level   

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