Report of the Committee on Research Materials on Southeast Asia to the Association of Research Libraries, Foreign Acquisitions Task Force

 

 

 

Final draft: not to be cited without authors' permission. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Judith Henchy, University of Washington

Carol Mitchell, University of Wisconsin

With the assistance of Kent Mulliner, Ohio University

 

January 1994

Revised May 1994

 

 


 

 

Table of Contents

 

I.          Introduction.......................................................................................... 1

II.         CORMOSEA...................................................................................... 1

III.       Southeast Asia as a field of scholarship.................................................. 5

IV.       Information industries in Southeast Asia................................................. 7

            IV.a.    Media...................................................................................... 14

            IV.b.    Electronic information............................................................... 15

V.        International distribution of scholarly publishing....................................... 16

VI.       Language diversity............................................................................... 17

VII.      Southeast Asia collections in the United States....................................... 18

            VII. a.  Acquisitions statistics................................................................ 22

            VII. b. Acquisitions funding.................................................................. 27

            VII. c.  Collection development policies and issues................................. 29

            VII. d.  Defining Southeast Asia collecting responsibility......................... 30

            VII. e.  Cataloging................................................................................ 32

            VII. f.   Reporting and evaluation........................................................... 33

VIII.     Bibliographic control............................................................................. 34

IX.       Preservation......................................................................................... 36

X.         Recommendations................................................................................ 39

XI.       Bibliography......................................................................................... 43

 

 

Tables

 

1.         Special strengths of CORMOSEA libraries............................................ 2

2.         Staffing patterns at CORMOSEA libraries............................................. 3

3.         Geographic distribution of Primary Collecting

                        Responsibility for Indonesia....................................................... 4

4.         Illiteracy rates in Southeast Asia............................................................ 8

5.         Publishing statistics by country.............................................................. 11

6.         Publishing statistics by UDC classification.............................................. 12

7.         Daily newspaper production and circulation............................................ 12

8.         Media production and distribution........................................................... 15

9.         Major language groups and scripts......................................................... 18

10         Collection curators for CORMOSEA collections.................................... 19

11.        Library of Congress Field Office for SEA acquisitions statistics............... 20

12.        Library of Congress distribution of monographs by country...................... 21

13.        John M. Echols Collection, estimate of collection size.............................. 23

14.        Survey of Southeast Asian library holdings, August 1993......................... 24

15.        Comparative table of CORMOSEA collection sizes................................ 25

16.        CORMOSEA library acquisitions for 1991/92......................................... 26

17.        Comparative table of acquisitions 1, 1990-93.......................................... 26

18.        Comparative table of acquisitions 2, 1986-93.......................................... 27

19.        Luce Foundation funded preservation projects........................................ 38

 

Appendices

 

1.         CORMOSEA faculty Representatives

2.         The Southeast Asia Microforms Project


            I.  Introduction

           

            This report has been written on behalf of the ten libraries represented on the Committee on Research Materials on Southeast Asia (CORMOSEA), a subcommittee of the Southeast Asia Council (SEAC) of the Association for Asian Studies.  These libraries are located at the ten institution in the U.S. which have Southeast Asian Studies Centers: Arizona State University, Yale University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Northern Illinois University, University of Michigan, Cornell University, Ohio University, University of Washington, representing the Northwest Regional Consortium for Southeast Asian Studies, and the University or Wisconsin at Madison.  Of these ten, only four are federally funded for a full range of graduate and undergraduate programs as National Resource Centers; one other is funded for undergraduate study, and another receives partial funding for FLAS scholarships only.  It should be noted that not all of these institutions are ARL members.

 

            The membership of this group is somewhat artificial, since other libraries are the sites of important collections on Southeast Asia.  Indeed some of these libraries are active participants in the CORMOSEA meetings, but are not considered full voting members; in particular, Harvard University, and Columbia University have substantial Southeast Asia holdings, and their representatives are active participants in CORMOSEA activities.  What all these libraries have in common, regardless of their status within the CORMOSEA group, is a commitment to the cooperative objectives that CORMOSEA embodies;  almost all of the libraries which have current acquisitions arrangements from Southeast Asia send representatives to the Association for Asian Studies meeting to discuss improvements in cooperative access to materials.  It is a measure of the difficulties of acquisition from the region that cooperation has always been regarded as the only feasible way of approaching both local and national access.  This report hopes to highlight some of those difficulties, and the approaches that have been adopted by librarians to overcome them.

 

            II.  CORMOSEA

 

            An important step in the development of Southeast Asian special collections was the formation of the Committee on Research Materials on Southeast Asia (CORMOSEA) in 1969.  While library representation was limited to those serving collections with established Centers, faculty representation aimed to include a broad range of disciplines, country interests, and institutions.  A list of recent faculty participation is attached as Appendix 1.  CORMOSEA has played a pivotal role since its inception in shaping the expectations of library collections; it has been active in promoting bibliographic projects, such as the Southeast Asian Research Tools Project which led to the publication of a series of bibliographical surveys of all the countries of the region by the University of Hawaii, Southeast Asian Studies Program.  It has maintained ties with library and archival institutions in the region, such as SARBICA, the Southeast Asian Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives, in cooperation with which it established the Southeast Asia Microforms Project (SEAM).  It has fostered relationships with the national Library Associations of the countries of the region, and has had a active presence at the triennial meetings of the Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians (CONSAL).

 

            The group has been an important focus of discussion for issues of funding, acquisitions and technical processing;  it has been active in providing suggestions to the Library of Congress concerning the shortcoming of the overseas operations procedures, and in lobbying Library of Congress Cataloging bureaucracy for changes in authority records and issues of transliteration.  Most recently it has been successful in negotiating with the Henry Luce Foundation for the distribution of funding for a cooperative preservation initiative.  The group has also started to play a more active role working with other funding bureaucracies, such as the Department of Education, to ensure fair levels of funding for Southeast Asian collections at U.S. institutions.

 

            Examples of cooperation among the CORMOSEA libraries include the division of the Philippines by province between Yale and Michigan for coverage of local documentation, and geographical distribution of sub-province level official publications from Indonesia described below.  More recently the CORMOSEA libraries have responded to the crisis in serial costs by designating libraries of last resort for countries, or regions within countries.  It is assumed that all CORMOSEA libraries maintain research-level collections of English and European-language serials and monographs.  The group is concerned with establishing country strengths which are the basis of cooperative national collecting policy;  collection strengths are defined by the levels of  acquisitions for vernacular language materials and primary source materials.

 

TABLE I.  SPECIAL STRENGTHS OF CORMOSEA LIBRARIES

 

Institution

Country Strength

Special collection

ASU

Undergraduate

California

Indonesia

Malay Hikayats

Cornell

Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia

Indochina collections, Balinese mss, Netherlands Indies etc.

Hawaii

Indonesia, Philippines

Michigan

Philippines, Thailand

Colonial Philippines, law

NIU

Burma

Paribak

 

TABLE I.  SPECIAL STRENGTHS OF CORMOSEA LIBRARIES

 

Ohio

Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia

Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia

Washington[1]

Vietnam, Northeast Thailand

Indonesian law

Wisconsin

Indonesia, Philippines

Modern Culture Projects

Yale

Indonesia, Cambodia

 

The staffing patterns below can also be used as an indication of language and country emphasis.

 

TABLE 2.  STAFFING PATTERNS AT CORMOSEA LIBRARIES[2]

 

Institution

Bibliog.

Lang.

Office

Cataloging    

Student

ASU

 1

Thai

0 

1

 1

California

0.5

Vietnamese

0

1 Tagalog

 

Cornell

2

Burm/Viet/Th

1.75

Burm/Viet/IndThai/Lao/Khm

  25

Hawaii

1

Indon/Jpn/Tag

1

 1

Michigan

1

Tagalog/

Visayan

0

1 Thai

1 Vietnamese

          4

NIU

1

Burmese

1

1 Thai

Ohio

2.2

Indonesian

   2

4 Mal/ Ind/Ch

 13

Washington

1

Vietnamese

0

1.25  Ind/Viet

2

Wisconsin

1

Indonesian

0

1 Indonesian

3

Yale

1

Indonesian

   1

1 Indonesian

1

 

           

            As part of its commitment to developing a distributed cooperative plan for country specialization, CORMOSEA has endeavored to ensure that local government and cultural publications are acquired. Thus far, CORMOSEA has divided collection responsibility for Indonesia, assigning Primary Collecting Responsibility as follows:

 

TABLE 3.  GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION OF PRIMARY COLLECTING RESPONSIBILITY

 

Institution

Geographic area

Cornell

Jakarta, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, West Java

Hawaii

East Indonesia including Irian Jaya

Michigan

Yogyakarta, Central Java

NIU

Bali

Ohio

East Java, Jambi, Riau, South Sumatra

Yale

North Sumatra

           

            Primary Collecting Responsibility has been successful in ensuring that many local level statistics and government documents that would have been lost are now held by U.S. libraries, although problems of bibliographic control, storage and preservation still remain to be satisfactorily addressed for these highly specialized sources.  Cornell University reports that all materials received at this library from the distributed collection development program have now received minimum level cataloging which has been uploaded to RLIN;  this represents between 2,500 to 3,000 titles now under some bibliographic control.  Unlike other materials received through the Library of Congress Jakarta Office, these materials come with no preliminary cataloging, and since they are not received by the Library of Congress will never receive even minimum level of cataloging from that source.  They are often published in serial format, and tend to be produced in great bulk.  However, recognizing the importance of this level of documentation for Indonesia, CORMOSEA will begin efforts to assign Primary Collecting Responsibility for the countries of the region, in particular the Philippines and Thailand.  These two countries are the two for which a significant volume of local data are available.  Malaysia has not been included in this effort, since Ohio University has a special arrangement with the Government of Malaysia to receive all significant official publications as a U.S. repository.

 

            Also in recognition of the need for a cooperative approach to the collection of regional sources, the CORMOSEA group wrote of grant proposal under the provisions of the Title VI Foreign Periodicals Program.  The grant, had it been successful, would have ensured the collection and preservation of sub-national newspapers from the region, with each of the CORMOSEA libraries taking responsibility for two or three newspapers falling within their primary collection area.[3]

 

            III.  Southeast Asia as a Field of Scholarship

 

            The area studied as Southeast Asia is a construction of Western scholarship which derived from the boundaries of the South East Asia command of the Second War; it gained recognition as a term of convenience within the language of Cold War realpolitik of the post war independence period.  The term usually includes the countries which are geographically located between the Pacific and Indian Oceans: Burma (now officially Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam are characterized as "mainland" and distinguished from the "insular" or island nations of Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore.  Although many scholars have argued that a common cultural tradition justifies the continuation of Southeast Asia as field of study,[4] the diversity of linguistic and cultural traditions represented within these arbitrarily established boundaries render the region problematic as a field of scholarship both intellectually and structurally.  In part because of the linguistic and cultural diversity of the region, the complex interaction of influences from China, India, and colonial cultures, and because of the relative paucity of textual sources, contemporary scholarship on the region that emerged out of the traditions of the dominant colonial powers has tended to be interdisciplinary.  All the countries of the region were characterized by a high degree of cultural syncretism, even before the beginnings of European influence.  This syncretism has imposed on scholarly discourse the need look beyond the normative religious and cultural traditions to new structures of cultural and power relationships.[5]

 

            The interdisciplinary nature of the field has made it a very exciting one in recent years, with scholars like Clifford Geertz and Ben Anderson, whose profound influences in the fields of Anthropology, History, Political Science and Literary Criticism have transcended the boundaries of Southeast Asian Studies, drawing new generations of students into the field.  This emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches has also put pressure on library collections to look to sources that have not been considered "scholarly" in the traditional sense of the textual cannon.  Just as this young field of scholarship is striving to define itself, so are library collection caught in the dilemma of not knowing which way the field is going to turn next.  James Scott alludes to the problem of volatility within the field in general, attributing it to a collective crisis of confidence which results from the lack of firm intellectual grounding such as that which other Asian Studies programs have found in the traditions of Orientalism.[6]  Although the various colonialisms of the region did foster a school of colonial scholarship based on the European traditions of textural analysis and the narrowly defined ethnographic descriptions of anthropologists, the field perhaps anticipated modern trends by rejecting some of these colonial categorizations of knowledge.  The early rejection of colonial scholarship based on Orientalist assumptions left the field without either a coherent textual cannon or a theoretical base.  With the lack of firm grounding the field is prone to undue influence from the various disciplines upon which scholars are structurally dependent for their university positions, and to the winds of theoretical change in what Ben Anderson calls the "theory market."[7]  The lack of consensus among scholars on what constitutes a core theoretical basis for the study of the region[8], and the lack of strong textual traditions clearly leaves library collections without a unambiguous mandate for collecting responsibility.

 

            Perhaps in part as a result of the difficulties of establishing an intellectual center which can attract students, Southeast Asian studies in the United States has suffered a uncertain fate of fluctuating popularity both with students, and within the federal agencies that supply critical support funding to universities in the key areas of language teaching, student fellowship money and library support.  After a period of growth during the Cold War period, which focused on the conflict in Indochina in the 1960s and 1970s, Southeast Asian studies lost momentum on university campuses following the end of the Viet Nam war; the result in part of the retrenchment of the Peace Corps programs in Southeast Asia, and the isolation of many of the countries of the region from Western scholars.  In the late 1970s and 1980s two phenomena emerged to give new priority to the Southeast Asian region: first, the growing numbers of immigrants and refugees from Southeast Asia who now form a sizable percentage of the Asian American population; and second, the rapid emergence of the region as an economic power.

 

            While the region represents ten countries, student numbers are typically low for the study of any one country, particularly for undergraduate study.  However, statistics from the Department of Education show that funding for Southeast Asia has been historically lower than other area studies programs, and does not correlate with levels of student interest.  In the period of the last five years, DOE statistics show that the four Title VI funded Centers awarded 125 doctorates, and 191 masters degrees.  By comparison nine funded South Asia Centers awarded the same number of doctoral degrees and 241 master's degrees.  These South Asia Centers also awarded 941 undergraduate degrees, in comparison with only 163 granted by the Southeast Asia Centers, showing the heavy bias in Southeast Asian Studies towards graduate education.  At the same time the DOE statistics show that Southeast Asian Studies Centers are the most heavily dependent upon the Title VI funds -- these funds being 7.9% of the total Southeast Asia Center funds, as compared with 1.3% for Western European Centers.  The statistics also show that Southeast Asia Centers rank quite low in the percentage of Title VI funds that are used for library acquisitions.[9]

           

            Southeast Asian Studies programs in this country have a history of national cooperation, despite the fact that they are in competition for the very small allocation of federal funding made available through the Title VI appropriation.  This cooperation is most apparent in two key areas of program support: language teaching and library resources.  Southeast Asian studies is problematic as an academic program not only because of its uncertain intellectual origins, but because of its geographical and linguistic diversity[10] which results in comparatively low student enrollments for most national languages of the region, and insufficient numbers for the major minority and sub-national languages to justify year-round language programs at all.  In order to provide students with the language tuition they require, in the early 1980s the community of Southeast Asia scholars initiated a very successful language consortium to teach the less commonly taught languages at a summer institute that rotates between consortium members -- the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute (SEASSI).  Similarly, the broad geographical boundaries that define the region challenge library resources by the diversity of cultures represented within them.  In response to this challenge Southeast Asia collection managers at the major U.S. research libraries, represented by the Committee on Research Materials on Southeast Asia (CORMOSEA) have for many years worked towards increasing degrees of cooperative acquisitions, particularly for the lesser used research materials from the region

 

            IV.  Information industries in Southeast Asia

 

            In the post world-war two period, when universities were first defining their area studies programs, the geographical designation of 10 countries might have seemed a fair burden for a library department, since the countries of the region had relatively underdeveloped information industries at that time.  The last two decades have seen the transformation of the region from an economic base almost exclusively dominated by subsistence farming and low level agricultural industries, to near-NIC status in some cases.  With this economic change has come dramatic change in education patterns and information dissemination channels, including a rise in both literacy rates and book and journal production, and an increasing influence of video and television.  Despite the enormous increase in publishing in recent years, few countries, even among the ASEAN members, have more than one or two book dealers capable of carrying out international transactions.  Often publishing activities are decentralized and provincial publishing does not reach the international book market; the small print runs mean that titles are out of pint very quickly.

 

            The traditions and technologies governing the creation and dissemination of ideas, scholarship, literature are as varied as the region itself.  While the countries of Laos and Cambodia struggle to build their first independent publishing industries, and confront issues of literacy and information distribution, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand move rapidly to introduce electronic publishing.  The real and potential affects of these non-print media on the information infrastructure are discussed at some length below.

 

            One common feature of all Southeast Asian countries is the lack of accurate statistics on the book trade; national statistics often mask the development of regional/local or minority information industries.  In countries as linguistically diverse as those of Southeast Asia, linguistic minorities strive for recognition against the increasing dominance of national and English-language information markets, with linguistic particularism being a new hall-mark of regional autonomy and separatism.  The lack of recent, accurate, national-level statistics from the region makes comparisons and generalizations difficult;  the almost total lack of sub-national level statistics on local information industries make speculation about collecting adequacy difficult.  Few generalizations can be made about the nature of publishing and information in the region other than the development of formal information industries is linked to social and economic development; not insignificant in the proliferation of "print capitalism" are literacy rates, as described below.

TABLE 4.  ILLITERACY RATES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

 

Burma

20%

Cambodia

64%

Indonesia

23%

Laos

--[11]

TABLE 4.  ILLITERACY RATES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

 

Malaysia

20%

Philippines

10%[12]

Singapore

--[13]

Thailand

7.0%

Vietnam

12%

 

 

Percentages of total population taken from Compendium of Statistics on Illiteracy: 1990 Education. Paris: Office of Statistics, Div. of Statistics on Education, UNESCO, 1990.

 

            Just as it is hard to define Southeast Asia as a coherent whole, so is it impossible to generalize about its book trades.  Statistics are hard to find for the region; table 5 represents a compilation of data derived from very erratic, and clearly unreliable UNESCO sources, Southeast Asia librarians personal experiences and the Library of Congress field office statistics.  The trends that are noted in this table might be summarized as follows:  annual book production in Burma declined in the decade 1975 - 1985 from 1,164 to 673, while in most other countries of the region that reported a book production at all, figures increased three or fourfold in the same period:  Malaysia rose from 1,445 to 2,554; Thailand from 2,419 to 7,289; Indonesia from 2,187 to 5,254; Vietnam from 1,275 to an approximate 4,000.  Much of the dramatic increase in production is attributable to the growth in university and independent research center publication programs.  This surge in scholarly publishing is part of what Benedict Anderson has described as "the rise of indigenous studies, typically in the vernaculars;" this proliferation of vernacular scholarship is particularly problematic for library collections not only because publishing outlets are decentralized, but because it is typically not included in national bibliographies.

 

            Although there are no more recent published statistics than these put together by UNESCO, the Library of Congress Field Office for Southeast Asia reported the acquisition of 4,029 pieces from the Philippines in 1989, reflecting the post-Marcos boom in information industries.  Librarians in Vietnam have assessed that annual book production there now exceeds 10,000 volumes, of which the Library of Congress is collecting approximately 1,500[14].  The increase here can be attributed in part to a surge in popular literature, including translations of Western novels and also in pedagogical materials; in particular English teaching texts and translations of technical and economics literature.  A massive proliferation of legal materials make up another part of the publishing increase in the last few years.  In Vietnam publishing is theoretically still centralized, and controlled by means of government publishing permits.  However, even here, there is evidence of decentralization of publishing trends, with a proliferation of regional publishing houses producing important local histories and geographies, even statistical works.  However, book production in Laos is about 40 monographs per year, 8 journals and 2 newspapers.  In Cambodia monographic output consists of only a handful of materials including comic books.  However, production of journal literature has increased significantly in the last few years:  now including 15-20 daily and weekly newspapers, at least three English language and one French weekly.  As indicated earlier, bibliographic control is an issue for most countries of the region; not all countries publish a national bibliography, and those that are produced cannot be relied upon to be comprehensive.  In some ways the most comprehensive tool that we have as a guide to book production is the Library of Congress Accessions list for Southeast Asia, which now includes all countries of the region.

 

 

 

 

TABLE 5.  PUBLISHING STATISTICS BY COUNTRY[15]

 

1975

1980

1985

1988

Brunei

--

--

93[16]

--

Burma

1,164

--

673[17]

--

Cambodia

--

--

--

---

Indonesia

2,187

2,322

5,254[18]

1,687

Laos

--

--

--

--

Malaysia

1,445

1,984

2,554 [19]

3,348

Philippines

2,247

1,254

552[20]

--

Singapore

577

1,406

1,927

--

Thailand

2,419

4,091

7,289

11,217

Vietnam

1,275

1,721

--

5,000[21]

_____________________________________________________________

 

             The following table gives publication figures by UDC subject classification for the years 1986-88 for Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.  These figures perhaps provide us with a more realistic insight into the volume of titles being produced within those subject areas in which the CORMOSEA libraries profess primary interest.  The figures are again derived from UNESCO sources, and cannot be considered totally reliable.

 

 

TABLE 6.  PUBLICATION STATISTICS BY UDC CLASSIFICATION

 

Total

Gener-alities

Philos

ophy

Relig-

ion

Soc

Scie

Philol-

ogy

Pure

Sci

Arts

Liter-

ature

Geog/

Hist

Indon

1986

2,480

99

65

281

819

112

138

92

287

126

1987

2,025

103

59

256

726

86

81

50

218

109

1988

1,687

97

47

115

750

78

84

17

126

69

Mal

1986

3,397

68

17

394

809

563

369

131

445

178

Phil

1986

804

44

19

68

261

38

51

12

54

67

1987

1,768

52

76

60

544

126

143

286

77

57

1988

1,072

101

10

72

248

70

38

272

58

33

Thai

1986

7,728

648

174

564

2,782

198

629

256

641

381

Table taken from UNESCO Statistical Yearbook, 1990: p. 7-38.

 

TABLE 7.  DAILY NEWSPAPERS

 

1975

1979

1986

1988

Circulation[22]

Vietnam

--

3

4

5

500-545

Malaysia

31

44

40

47

1,038-2,462

Singapore

10

11

10

8

Thailand

--

18

34

33

1,943-2,627

Indonesia

60

106

61

60

2,200-3,716

Laos

8

3

3

3

Table taken from UNESCO Statistical Yearbook, 1990: p. 7-116.

 

            The highly decentralized nature of government publishing in some of the Southeast Asian nations makes acquisition of federal and state/provincial publications a difficult task. Those countries without centralized publishing outlets, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, also provide scant bibliographic control of these official government materials. Acquiring an agency's publications can amount to a game of discovery; even when the hunt is successful and materials are discovered, they may not be available because small print runs render them out-of-print very quickly, or government secrecy laws and other restrictions limit their circulation.  In those countries where all publishing activities are controlled, and official information is more centralized -- Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam -- the prospects for acquisitions are no more encouraging; as in most of the other Southeast Asian counties government documents are distributed on the basis of a "need to know," and are not released for general distribution.[23] Even if materials can be acquired by petition to a particular agency, there is no guarantee that a library will be granted permission to export the material to the United States.  In Vietnam, for instance, it remains the official policy that the Culture Ministry grant a permit for every title being exported.

 

            Other forms of government censorship and control are pervasive throughout Southeast Asia; this is particularly noticeable in the newspaper industry and in the radio and television media.  In Burma as well as Vietnam[24] and Laos, all manuscripts for newspapers, books, and periodicals are subject to advance scrutiny by a Central Press Scrutiny Board, or other form of publishing control. Other governments rely on post-facto censorship and self-censorship as a means of control.  Malaysia has strict government secrecy laws that severely restrict the circulation of materials considered sensitive by the government. Other regulations in the region including strict postal and export regulations serve to limit book agents who serve European and U.S. libraries.

 

            Southeast Asia is the site of an expanding non-governmental organization (NGO) movement.  For the most part, these grass-roots organizations are directly involved in social and economic programs that are funded locally or by international organizations.  These organizations are important agents in development, and social and political change; their highly effective programs and organizing techniques have become the subject of academic inquiry.  In some countries of the region they are positioned to threaten the traditional political order, with their easy links to international money and information networks.[25]  The materials produced by these organizations and political movements are often considered ephemeral, insignificant, or politically too sensitive to be offered by book dealers.  Such materials can only be effectively acquired by personal contacts or trusted agents in the region, and may not even be easily acquired during in-country field trips.  The Library of Congress Office in Jakarta has done a creditable job in this regard for Indonesia, but for the other countries of the region this category of material remains lamentably under-represented in our collections.

 

            Despite the frustrating restrictions on publishing, the region has seen an explosion of indigenous scholarship in the last decade.  Benedict Anderson confirms that some of the most creative scholarship about the region is being produced by Southeast Asian nationals.  He characterizes the past decade as "an explosion of work by Thai" of which 95% is in Thai.  The same is true with the Philippines where "some of the most important recent work on Filipino politics is increasingly indigenous...."  In Indonesia, Anderson sees this indigenization as occurring outside of the Universities in "special niches".[26] With the "rise of indigenous studies, typically in the local vernaculars" it is imperative the collections respond by collecting vernacular materials from universities, private research organizations, and non-governmental organization reports from the not just the capital cities but also the smaller cities and rural areas.

 

III. a  Media

 

            Radio and film, now widely available in Southeast Asia, have been highly influential as agents of "modernization."  More recently, the introduction of television has had far reaching consequences on the social and political structures of the region.  Satellite links have provided emergent Thai and Indonesian middle classes with access to uncensored Western culture and information systems, including news critical of the national government which is prohibited in local media.  The advent of video has provided another medium of information dissemination that is outside of government control, with a dynamic exchange existing between local and overseas communities of these powerful and emotive images.  If Southeast Asia collections in this country mean to provide access to materials that are in some way surrogates of the cultural and political fervor of the moment, how can they do so without reference to these powerful influences?   Southeast Asian collections have responded to the recognized importance of these media formats by adding video and cassette music to their collections.  Presently, the Cornell University, Ohio University, the University of Hawaii, the University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin have significant collections.  The University of Wisconsin, has the largest video collection with 517 videos from the countries of Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Ohio University has the largest collection of Malaysian videos.

 

TABLE 8.  MEDIA PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION

 

Country

Film

Television

Brunei

  0

42,000

Burma

 --

--

Cambodia

 --

60,000

Indonesia

 63

7,112,000

Laos

--

10,000

Malaysia

 14

2,350,000

Philippines

101 [27]

2,200,000

Singapore

 25

950,000

Thailand

134

5,600,000

Vietnam

 16

2,200,000

___________________________________________________________________

Film represents number of films produced in 1987. Television represents the number of receivers in use and/or licenses issued for 1988. Statistics from UNESCO Statistical Yearbook, 1990.                  

 

            The introduction of the music cassette has given millions of Southeast Asians access to a medium of cultural preservation, as well as a vehicle through which the traditional musical styles have become adulterated with the influence of Western pop.  The transition from the social and cultural role of music in the society  to music as a form of cultural commodity is a profound one.  For these reasons collections of musical productions from the region have significance beyond their ethnographic and musical context.  As with print collections, the music collections are strongest for Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand.  This reflects both availability and interest.  Two ethnomusicologists with specialization in Indonesia traveled through the country recently to assemble music collections which have been offered through the Library of Congress Cooperative Acquisitions Program. The most recent offering in 1991 consisted of 64 cassettes from Sumatra, Kalimantan and Java.  Collecting musical cassettes from any of the countries of the region is impossible through dealers, and has to be done through personal contacts in the region or through acquisitions trips.

 

III. b.  Electronic Information

 

            Also of growing importance now in the region is the computer, and more particularly the computer network.  Informal electronic publications generated in the region and abroad are quickly replacing paper forms, and are being disseminated to increasingly divergent audiences, as the countries of the region become part of the internet network.  Many commentators have attributed the ease with which the May 1992 demonstrators were able to allude the police and become so well organized to the prevalence of cellular telephones and fax machines in Thailand.  With many of the countries of Southeast Asia still subject to rigorous censorship in publishing, and shortages of cheap paper, it is likely that these electronic media will rapidly become important devices for social and political organization.  Libraries have to be prepared to deal with this change in focus.

           

            Electronic Listserves have started to become significant sources of contemporary information from the region, through informal linkages.  These informal sources are carrying full text articles from newspapers published in the region, notably The Nation (Bangkok) and the Bangkok Post, unofficial translations of sources, and human rights reports from witnesses based in the region.  So far no attempt has been made to formalize any of these linkages; they remain dependent upon the goodwill of individual participants with access to an electronic source.  Although many libraries are saving and using the sources posted, it is not clear what copyright issues might be involved with such usage.

 

            The first formal access to full text sources from the region, other than those which are provided through NEXIS, has recently been made available by the New Straits Times Company in Malaysia.  Their online library consists of eight Malaysian daily newspapers, including both English language and Malay sources, a business journal and a database of company information.  Cornell University and a number of other libraries are now considering subscribing to this fee-based service, but find that the pricing structure is so discriminatory for overseas users that it is outside of the financial capability of most libraries.[28]

 

            V.  International Distribution of Scholarly Publishing

 

            As noted above, research produced by the former colonial powers of Britain, France, Holland, Spain and Portugal remain important sources, while many non-colonial European countries also maintain high quality research organizations specializing in Southeast Asian studies.[29]  Research on Southeast Asia now being conducted in Australia is of increasing importance, as the Australian government begins to recognize its role as a leading nation in the Pacific Rim sphere, and encourages cooperative research projects with its Southeast Asian neighbors.  Similarly many Southeast Asian Studies centers exist in India, where the research emphasis is on the cultural continuity of the indic traditions, and in Japan and China. The bibliographic control over these materials varies considerably, and whether or not they find their way into U.S. collections seems to be a matter of serendipity, and local linguistic expertise.  Australia includes many of the working papers produced by research centers in its national bibliography, which is not the case with Great Britain and France.  In the U.S., Southeast Asian scholarship is highly decentralized with some of the best scholarship being published by the Southeast Asian Studies Centers.  These centers resemble the publishers in Southeast Asia in that they may not assign ISBNs, have poor distribution practices, and may not even be recorded in Books in Print. 

 

            VI.  Language Diversity

 

            Although all of the countries of the region have at least one official or national language, many modern nation states comprise several major linguistic groups and often many hundred minority languages, although many of the latter still have no written scripts.[30] One of the results of the colonial experiences in Southeast Asia has been the promotion of a dominant "national" language, associated with the dominant cultural group, which was promoted largely as a matter of administrative convenience serving the needs of the bureaucratic state in the first place, but which became a focus of nationalist sentiment during the struggles for independence and the establishment of coherent modern states from the disparate independent kingdoms that existed prior to the colonial period.  Such was the case with Indonesian, Malay, Thai[31], Filipino.  Although this colonial conception of the unitary linguistic tradition has served the independent governments well as a symbol of national unity, dissenting elements in most of the countries of the region have turned increasingly to sub-national languages to express dissent, and establish independence from the administrative center.  For this reason, libraries cannot accept the notion of the primacy of the national language, nor of the cultural dominance of one linguistic group over another.

 

            The problems of language diversity for the study of the region are exacerbated by the colonial scholarship and its legacies:  any library claiming to provide support for research on the region must have access to the European language journal literature of the colonial era, and should be aware of micro publishing of colonial titles not previously available in U.S. libraries, including archival sources and vernacular titles.  In addition, scholarship generated from the erstwhile European colonial powers remains of great significance to the study of the region; this publishing is often the product of small independent research institutions whose publications are not represented in the national bibliographies, nor are they available through most blanket order dealers.  An example of these gray literatures would be the extensive publishing activities in Portuguese research institutions on the situation in East Timor.

 

TABLE 9.  MAJOR LANGUAGE GROUPS AND SCRIPTS

 

Country

No.

Major Languages or Language Groups

 Scripts

Colonial

Brunei

17

Malay, Bajau, Lundayeh

Jawi

Eng/Jpn

Burma

101

Burmese, Chin, Kachin, Karenni, Mon, Rakhine, Shan

Burmese, Tai, Mon, Pali

English Japanese

Cambodia

17

Khmer

Khmer

Fre/Jpn

Indonesia

672

Indonesian, Buginese, Balinese, Sundanese, Achinese, Javanese, Batak, Ambonese

Javanese, Jawi, Bugis, Chinese

Dutch/Port

Japanese

Laos

90

Lao, Hmong

Lao

Fre/Jpn

Malaysia

146

Malay, Kadazan, Iban, Semai, Murut, Bisaya, Tamil, Chinese

Jawi, Chinese, Tamil/Telegu etc, Arabic

Eng/Port Japanese

Philippines

167

Bikol, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Ilocano, Tagalog

Span/Jpn

Singapore

24

Chinese, Tamil, Malay

Chinese, Tamil

Eng/Jpn

Thailand

32

Thai, karen , Mon, Meo, Tin, Lisu, Lahu, Yao, Lawa, Khmu, Khmer

Thai, Lanna, Khmer, Lao

Japanese

Vietnam

77

Vietnamese, Chinese, Nung, Tai, Hmong, Khmer, Bru, Khmu, Rade

Nom, Chinese, Khmer, Tai

Fre/Jpn Chinese

 

            VII.  Southeast Asia Collections in the United States

 

            The ten institutions in the United States which are the major focus of this report all receive materials in the vernaculars of at least three of the countries of the region; other institutions, like Harvard and Columbia University collect only a limited range of materials in the vernacular, but maintain a research level collection in some areas of the region.  Many other institutions collect some materials in support of faculty requirements, but usually do not have the acquisitions or cataloging expertise to collect in the vernacular.  Examples of such smaller institutions would be Willamette or Wesleyan Universities or Four year colleges like Beloit College, which have small predominately English-language collections.  These institutions have tended to rely on standard acquisition tools, i.e. Choice, Library Journal, or university press approval plans to acquire materials, but are increasingly turning to other professionals in the field for information about English-language sources published in the region.  In the Pacific Northwest Region, the Northwest Regional Consortium for Southeast Asian Studies has attempted to address the problem of isolated scholars in the smaller institutions by offering them an affiliate status.  The Consortium formalizes a role that all of the major Southeast Asia collections play as regional resources for smaller colleges.  These smaller institutions have not been included in this report, but their needs should be considered in any discussion of issues and problems confronting the acquisition of materials.[32] 

 

            The major collections are located at the ten universities with Southeast Asian studies programs, as described in the table below.  It is these libraries which are members of the Committee on Research Materials for Southeast Asia, although the collections at Columbia and Harvard are not insignificant and should not be disregarded in the context of this report:

 

TABLE 10.  COLLECTION LIBRARIANS AT CORMOSEA COLLECTIONS

 

Institution

Curator/Head

Arizona State University (ASU)

Rich Ritchie

Cornell University (Cornell)

John Badgley/Allen Riedy

Northern Illinois University (NIU)

May Kyi Win

Ohio University (Ohio)

Lian The-Mulliner

University of California-Berkeley (California)

Virginia Shih

University of Hawaii (Hawaii)

Lan Hiang Char

University of Michigan (Michigan)

Fe Susan Go

University of Washington (Washington)

Judith Henchy[33] 

University of Wisconsin-Madison (Wisconsin)  

Carol Mitchell

Yale University (Yale)

Charles Bryant

 

 

            As has been the case for the field of scholarship, collection strengths and trends have been influenced by broader political and historical interests.  After World War II, shifting political influences necessitated greater knowledge of the region.  It is from this period that rapid expansion of Southeast Asia collections can be dated; only the collections at Yale and Harvard precede this period of expansion,[34] which resulted mainly from Ford Foundation support.[35] Throughout the 1960's centers were established with the intention of broadening the scholarly knowledge about the newly-independent countries of Southeast Asia whose social and political stability was perceived as threatened by communism.  The areas of specialization developed by faculty at these Centers are reflected in library collections;  these areas of specialization have tended to center on the pioneering work of a few prominent scholars from the 1950s and 1960s.  The effects of the lineage of scholarly inquiry has been to heavily weight research towards Indonesia -- a bias that exists to this day.  Library collections as a result have also tended towards heavier collecting patterns for Indonesia.  Indonesia is, of course, the most populous nations in the region, and the one with the most prolific publishing industry.  It is hard to know whether Indonesia has maintained its dominance as the focus of study because materials are more readily available to scholars, or whether Western scholarship has driven demand for better access mechanism for materials from this country.  The acquisitions figures below demonstrate the extent of Library of Congress collecting for Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, and the total numbers of pieces distributed through the cooperative acquisitions program from those countries.

 

TABLE 11.  LIBRARY OF CONGRESS ACQUISITIONS STATISTICS FOR SOUTHEAST ASIA[36]

 

1984/85

1985/86

1989/90

1990/91

1991/92

Total LC monos

3,195

4,897

6,173

6,593

7,319

New Serials[37]

500

471

 

TABLE 12.  LIBRARY OF CONGRESS DISTRIBUTION OF MONOGRAPHS BY COUNTRY[38]

 

Distributed Monos by Country[39]

Distrib

1984/85

Distrib

1985/86

Distrib

1989/90

LC

1990/91

Distrib

LC

1991/92

Distrib

Indonesia

11,600

17,557

10,527

5,503

15,771

6,360

17,976

Malaysia

1,395

2,212

3,730

924

4,409

733

6,277

Singapore

1,612

922

1,555

266

1,855

196

1,748

Brunei

0

57

83

0

7

30

154

 

Shaded areas represent numbers of monographs distributed to participants under the Cooperative Acquisitions Program.  Clear areas are Library of Congress acquisitions.

 

            While faculty interest and research trends have been the primary forces shaping U.S. collections, the availability of materials has had a significant impact.  In 1963, the Library of Congress established a Field Office in Jakarta for the implementation of a PL-480 program for the acquisition of Indonesian materials. In 1969, with PL-480 funding disappearing, participating libraries assumed the costs of materials, shipping, and administrative overhead. This arrangement became the first participant-supporting National Program for Acquisitions and Cataloging (NPAC), now the Overseas Cooperative Acquisitions Program.  In 1990, the Henry Luce Foundation supported the opening of a Library of Congress Overseas Acquisitions Office in Bangkok, with a subsidy that covered the total cost of all materials purchased during the first year of operation, two thirds of the costs of the second years, and one third in the third year.  It is interesting to note that the offer of the subsidized program induced a number of public libraries to take advantage of the three years of subsidy, after which time they dropped the program.  Whatever the ethical considerations may be, their interest in the program does show that the need for vernacular materials is not limited to the research institutions.  At present, all CORMOSEA members are participants in some of the programs which are offered under the overall management of the Field Office for Southeast Asia in Jakarta.  The long-time presence of the Library of Congress in Indonesia has led to the development of several strong collections in the United States, but has also resulted in a uniformity or collecting among these institutions, a problem which is discussed later in this report.

 

            The absence of national bibliographic control combined with book distribution to overseas markets, necessitates regular field visits by librarians and faculty.  The primary objective of such visits is the acquisition of print and non-print materials, but an important aspect is personal visits to libraries and archives to inspect special collections.  An outgrowth of these visits can be cooperative indexing and preservation projects.

 

            Since the days when Cecil Hobbs, of the Library of Congress Orientalia Division, traveled extensively throughout Southeast Asia and Europe from the 1950's to the 1970's, librarians and faculty keep up this tradition of acquisitions field trips to the region.   His accounts, published as datapapers by the Southeast Asia Program at Cornell University, served as guides for other librarians seeking to build contacts in the region; more recent accounts continue to be published by the CORMOSEA Bulletin, including valuable contributions by James Collins and Carol Mitchell provide insight into the difficulties of acquiring materials outside of capital cities.  Reports on libraries and archives in Vietnam and Laos have been provided by David Marr, Li Tana, Judith Henchy and Nguyen Phuong Khanh in recent issues. 

 

            VII. a.  Acquisitions Statistics

           

            Since the Southeast Asia collection at Cornell University is considered the premier collection in the country, and the library of last resort for many categories of material, it is useful to give full statistics for this collection.  Other statistics have been used as available.  It should be noted that the value of such comparative tables is decreased by the lack of standardized statistics: some budget figures include only vernacular acquisitions; figures for vernacular materials often include English language materials published in the region; Malaysia and Singapore tend not be counted as separate categories; often no distinction is made between new acquisitions and retrospective purchases, or between paper copy and microform reproduction.

 

TABLE 13.  JOHN M. ECHOLS COLLECTION,  ESTIMATE OF COLLECTION SIZE

 

Vernac

Mono

Titles

Geog

Area

Pers

News[40]

  1988

1990

1993

1988  

1990

1993

1988

1990

1993

Burmese

4332

5685

6640

Burm

 283      

459

522

22

23

24

Indonesian

44533

47776

50405

Indon

8155

8565      

8714

  261

256

263

Khmer

864

1694

1840

Camb

 205

261

277

  45

   51

51

Lao

883

908

1025

Laos

 164

169

169

  32

   34

34

Malay

3641

5080

MSB

4726

3440

3714

  84

   84

85

Pilipino

1557

1648

2247

Philip

1719

1815

1860

  64

   67

67

Thai

34141

39918

Thai

2243

2518

2647

  79

   80

84

Vietnam

19980

21906

26488

Viet

1638

1783

1842

 234

  240

240

Vernac

Totals

 1988       

1990

1993

110,248     

121,579

133,643

   

18491

19010

19745

816

841

848

1988

1990

1993

Western

  84,449      

90,481

96,437

TOTAL  

194,697 

212,060

230,080

 

            As an exercise to determine a very rough estimate of comparative collection sizes, Kent Mulliner searched the online catalogs of the libraries with major Southeast Asian holdings, using country and geographical areas terms as keywords.  The following results can only be regarded as a very rough estimate of comparable collection strengths, since many of the larger collections still maintain backlogs of materials for which no electronic records exist.  The figures obviously do not give any indication of actual collection sizes, since records may not necessarily contain the keywords searched, or may contain more than one keyword, and therefore appear in multiple categories.  This is particularly true of works of literature, most of which receive no subject headings on which to search.  Results may also vary as a result of searching protocols of the varies opacs consulted.

 

TABLE 14.   SURVEY OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN LIBRARY HOLDINGS, AUGUST 1993[41]

 

Keyword

ASU

Cornell

Hawaii

LC

Michigan

Monash

NLA

ASEAN

210

902

656

921

664

367

82

Asia, SE

1,293

4,064

4,114

3,541

3,468

1,190

1,853

Brunei

44

366

271

306

231

63

96

Burma

524

3,655

1,531

2,169

2,116

388

732

Cambodia

313 

2,381

880

991

825

213

352

Indonesia

2,603

31,989

15,562

28,333

31,008

8,004

16,111

Laos

227,

1,137

612

860

588

132

199

Malaya

344

1,581

1,299

1,099

1,310

425

459

Malaysia

921

7,797

5,773

6,278

5,394

1,371

2,075

Philippine

2,064

12,069

9,968

9,378

9,537

861

2,760

Singapore

637

3,797

3,163

3,694

6,343

1,197

1,384

SE Asia

1,153

4,064

2,512

2,083

2,624

1,257

NA

Thailand

1,669

21,004

7,294

10,817

11,763

961

2,946

Vietnam

1,553

9,603

5,139

6,718

4,077

1,144

1,291

Keyword

NUS

OCLC

Ohio

SOAS

Wash

Wisc

Yale

ASEAN

3,593

1,927

812

303

286

700

589

Asia, SE

2,042

11,159

NA

752

1,826

1,672

1,879

Brunei

895

753

306

100

82

323

213

Burma

1,232

8,047

705

796

839

1,040

783

Cambodia

395

3,630

395

240

408

574

618

Indonesia

7,491

72,175

39,849

2,250

3,970

18,710

14,697

Laos

316

2,663

252

247

286

512

265

Malaya

5,108

3,642

1,380

445

575

840

734

Malaysia

16,930

14,475

7,287

1,415

1,764

5,203

5,068

Philippine

3,191

31,641

3,156

1,228

2,077

6,966

6,679

Singapore

31,230

8,584

5,513

867

2,082

3,250

4,074

SE Asia

2,427

6,576

1,779

NA

1,419

1,444

1,274

Thailand

3,527

32,060

1,965

2,348

2,352

6,498

2,478

Vietnam

1,695

32,184

1,777

1,233

1,984

4,094

2,208

 

TABLE 15.  COMPARATIVE TABLE OF CORMOSEA COLLECTION SIZES

 

Institution

Collect

Size

Serial titles

News-papers

Micro-forms

Staff levels

Annual Budget

Arizona State

24,900

156

10

3,500

3 FTE

75,000*

Berkeley

Cornell

212,060

19,010

835

Hawaii

81,130

74,160

Michigan

91,000

Northern Ill.[42]

55,115

883

19

5,000

3 FTE

41,200

Ohio

120,000

1,000

88

30,963

8.2 FTE

80,500

Washington

34,000

800

12

3 FTE

40,000*

Wisconsin

73,000

1,300

2,120

46,500*

Yale

235,000

850

14

6 FTE

* These budget figures do not include English language materials on Southeast Asia purchased by other disciplinary funds, or arriving through approval plans.

 

            Little is available by way of comparative figure for the last decade of collecting.  Figures published using data provided by the Department of Education show that in 1981-82 the median collection size for the Southeast Asia Title VI-funded National Resource Centers was 71,380, with a collection size range of 50,000-158,000.  The median vernacular collection  size was 30,000, with a range of 10,000-90,000.[43]

 

TABLE 16.  CORMOSEA LIBRARY ACQUISITIONS FOR 1991/1992

 

Institution

WI

MI

Hawaii

WA

Brunei

144

Burma

13

0

6

Indonesia

1,150

1,673

1,478

1,768

Cambodia

82

0

Laos

56

136

Malaysia[44]

600

99

476

396

Philippines

360

318

Singapore[45]

Thailand

600

639

465

821

Vietnam

172

168

363