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Exchange Librarian Makes Important Contribution to HCL's Harvard-Yenching

Harvard-Yenching exchange librarian Sui Jun spent the last year cataloging over 1,800 rare titles—many of which required original cataloging. Jun's work also served as a survey of the collection. He identified certain items that did not need to be held as rare books and could be placed in general circulation, as well as items that were one of a kind.

According to Yuh-fen Chiou, the Harvard-Yenching's Chinese cataloger, "Jun has made a tremendous contribution to the library. It is very important that these materials are cataloged so scholars know what is available—particularly because they are rare and in some cases only available here. Many Chinese collections across the country have not been thoroughly cataloged. Properly documenting this collection is important for the library, Harvard, and the scholarly community." Chiou and Chun Shum, curator of Harvard-Yenching's rare books collection, served as Jun's mentors during his stay. Shum, an expert in Chinese rare books, taught Jun to note identifying markers that signify what period a book is from, what edition it is, and who else once owned it. Chiou assisted Jun in learning Aleph, OCLC, and HOLLIS.

"This has been a wonderful experience," Jun stated. "I have learned so much from both Mr. Shum and Ms. Chiou. I now have a better understanding of online cataloging, as well as a deeper knowledge of rare materials." At the end of this month Jun returns to Fudan University in Shanghai, where he will apply what he has learned about advanced technology and antiquated symbols to his job as a rare books cataloger.

The exchange program was created in HCL by Harvard-Yenching Librarian James Cheng, who believes that exchanging librarians—and ultimately ideas—greatly benefits Harvard-Yenching, the individual librarians, and the librarians' home institutions. The program continues in October when a colleague of Jun's arrives to complete the two-year rare book project.

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Last modified on Monday, September 15, 2003.