Columbia University Libraries and the National Library of Korea to Digitize Rare Books


(NEW YORK, January 15, 2009) Columbia University Libraries is partnering with the National Libraries of Korea to digitize rare materials from the C. V. Starr East Asian Library and make them available online.

“C. V. Starr East Asian Library strives to serve the scholarly and research needs of those beyond the campus. This project advances our ability to provide global access to our library resources,” said Dr. Amy V. Heinrich, former director of Starr East Asian Library.

The Preservation and Digital Conversion Division of Columbia University Libraries will digitize approximately 100 rare volumes and make them available through the Libraries' online catalog, CLIO. As a result, materials from the library’s collections will be easily accessible to students, scholars and people worldwide. The project will begin in January 2009 and conclude in June 2010.

The Korean Collection of the C.V. Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University was established in 1931 by a donation of nearly 1,000 books by Korean students at CU. Systematic collection of Korean materials, however, began only after renewed interest in Korean Studies in the early 1950s. The special collection holds approximately 660 titles in 2,230 volumes of rare books including the Yi Sǒng-ŭi Collection, Sonbon and over 150 titles of Korean novels, called “Sin sosol” (published between 1915 and 1947) that are housed in the East Asian Rare Book Room.

The C. V. Starr East Asian Library is one of the major collections for the study of East Asia in the United States, with over 820,000 volumes of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, and Western language materials, as well as some holdings in Mongol and Manchu, and over 6,500 periodical titles. The collection, established in 1902, is particularly strong in Chinese history, literature, and social sciences; Japanese literature, history, and religion, particularly Buddhism; and Korean history. The Library’s website is located at: www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/indiv/eastasian/.

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 25 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries at www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb is the gateway to its services and resources.

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