PREFACE TO THE 2007 EDITION (ONLINE)
Asian Division Reading Room.
by Harold Meinheit)
Since the publication of Library of Congress Asian Collections:
an illustrated Guide in 2000, the Asian collections have continued
their rapid growth and expanded in some new directions. These
changes are significant enough to warrant a second edition of
the Illustrated Guide that, at least for the present, is available
only electronically on the Asian Division's home page.
Aside from updating the original Illustrated Guide, this second
edition is not dramatically different from the original. The
original format, with its division between classical and modern
holdings, is unchanged and almost all of the original photographs
Several recent developments, however, are reflected in the revised
- The Library has recently acquired a number of important
and rare items that deserve mention. These include what may be
the oldest book from southern Asia as well as the identification
of an extremely important map by Japan's "father of cartography."
- The Library has undertaken a major expansion and strengthening
of its contemporary publications from China.
- With the political opening of Mongolia, the Library has expanded
its holdings and focused more attention on this new democracy.
- For the transliteration of Chinese, the Library has uses the
Pinyin system rather than Wade-Giles. This change is reflected
in the new edition of the Guide.
In November 2005, the Librarian of Congress, Dr. James H. Billington,
announced an important initiative, proposing the building of
a "World Digital Library" through international cooperation.
Over the past five years, the Asian Division has launched cooperative
digitization projects with a number of Asian countries. The new
edition of the Guide describes some of these projects, which
have opened the treasures of the Asian collections to a much
wider audience. In addition, the Division has also acquired an
increasing number of full-text digital databases from Asia for
use by researchers.
I wish to express my appreciation to the author or the original
Illustrated Guide, Harold E. Meinheit, who undertook the task
of revising and updating his original work. Also, Dr. Mi Chu,
Head of Scholarly Services, recognized the need for an updated
Guide and administered the project. However, this could not have
been completed without the support of many of our Asian Division
colleagues: Chandell Butler, Tien Doan, Lien Fiedler, Anchi Hoh,
Khin Htway, Eiichi Ito, Lily Kecskes, Nuzhat Khatoon, Sonya Lee,
Judy Lu, Susan Meinheit, Thaddeus Ohta, Kiyoyo Pipher, Ming Poon,
Allen Thrasher, Jeffrey Wang, and Kathryn Wellen. Special thanks
also go to William P. Tuchrello of the Jakarta Field Office.
Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee,
Chief, Asian Division