Harvard College Library

Harvard-Yenching Library Hosts Visiting Scholars Cheng and Han

Cheng Huanwen, Professor of Library and Information Science, Zhongshan University, and Dr. Mi-Kyung Han, university lecturer

January 8, 2002 -- Library historian Cheng Huanwen of China and bibliographer Dr. Mi-Kyung Han of Korea arrived at Harvard-Yenching Library this fall as visiting scholars. Cheng, Professor of Library and Information Science, Zhongshan University, is currently researching Dr. A. Kaiming Chiu, the first head librarian of Harvard-Yenching; his research will culminate in a biography to be published in coordination with the 75th anniversary of the library in 2003. During a yearlong appointment, Han, a university lecturer when in Korea, continues the bibliographical annotation of over 3,000 Korean rare materials -- a project that was begun by another visiting scholar last year.

Cheng's primary research focuses on the early development of public libraries and library schools in China. His research lead him to study Chiu, who was one of six students in the first graduating class of China's first library school. Knowing that Cheng was doing research on this topic, James Cheng, Librarian of Harvard-Yenching Library, invited Cheng to write Chiu's biography.

"Dr. Chiu played a notable role in the development of Asian libraries in the United States. Doing research at Harvard has allowed me not only to use Harvard-Yenching's resources, but to see personal aspects of Dr. Chiu, such as the house he originally lived in, a stained glass window created in his honor, and the library he began," said Cheng. Returning to China at the end of this month, Cheng hopes to revisit Harvard next year for the 75th anniversary commemoration.

Working with Choong Nam Yoon, Librarian for the Korean Collection, Han is carefully checking poorly labeled old and rare materials to accurately record the title, author or editor, publisher, date, and special features for each. Since her arrival in September, she has recorded over 250 volumes. Focusing on bibliography and annotation in her graduate work, Han spent a year in China studying under Professor Pei-xhang Peng, the leading Chinese authority in bibliography.

"The hands-on nature of this project really appeals to me, as does its importance. In Korea, many libraries have old and rare materials that are not being accurately recorded. The libraries do not have the budget, the specialists, or even the understanding that bibliography and annotation of these materials is necessary," said Han.


This story appears courtesy of the Harvard College Library Communications Office
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