University opens Resource Center for Chinese Studies


By Karan Abrol, Staff Writer

The University officially opened the Taiwan Resource Center for Chinese Studies on Nov. 14.

The center is in the International and Area Studies Library of the University and was established in collaboration with the National Central Library of Taiwan.

Bonnie Mak, an associate professor at the iSchool, said the collaboration between the University Library and the National Central Library of Taiwan provides the foundation for further scholarship that offers insights gleaned from a global perspective.

The National Central Library of Taiwan has donated academic books to the IASL for the center. They are shelved within its newly available public service space and new books area.

The library will donate 1,000 books to the center annually, as well as provide access to its center for Chinese studies digital resources.

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As a direct result of her international field work project in Taiwan, Chinese studies librarian Shuyong Jiang, Ph.D. is the new director of the TRCCS.

East Asian Languages and Culture Professor Jing Chen said he believes the establishment of the center will significantly benefit the program of Chinese studies at the University.

“As far as I know, the Center has many great digital databases. Hopefully, shortly researchers here will be able to use them,” Chen said.

According to IASL’s website, the aim of TRCCS is to promote information exchange of Chinese studies through communicating with institutes around the world. The website added its ultimate goal is to promote Eastern and Western culture communication on the contemporary informational platform.

The opening ceremony of the TRCCS featured an exhibit entitled “The Fascinating Culture of Books” that will remain on display until the end of December.

The subject of the exhibition is paper. It includes topics like the invention of papermaking, the origins of written books and book-binding art.

The exhibit includes books from the National Central Library of Taiwan’s rare book collection and contemporary publications. These collections will allow visitors to learn about the history of paper culture and understand the role played by paper and books in history.

The ceremony also included the signing of cooperation agreements, book donation exchange ceremonies and a lecture from professor Kai-Wing Chow titled “Printing Technology, Book Culture, and the World of Print in Imperial China.”

According to Chow’s lecture, the movable type was being used in China over 300 years before its adoption in the western world.

Mak said, “(Chow) challenges us to reconcile these early developments in the East with the so-called ‘printing revolution’ in the West of the 15th century that is still understood by many to have been a necessary condition for subsequent social, political and religious change.”

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Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Bonnie Mak’s title. She is an associate professor at the iSchool. The Daily Illini regrets this error.