Collecting about and from the countries of Asia and the Pacific is the Library’s highest collecting priority after its foundation Australian collecting responsibilities. Asian and Pacific collecting aims to build collections that enable Australians to learn about, study in depth and understand the Asia-Pacific region.

There are two elements of the Library’s Asia Pacific collecting program. The first comprises acquisition of western language works on Asia and the Pacific published outside the region. The second comprises acquisition of Asian language and Pacific publications direct from the countries of the region.

6.1 Parameters of Asian and Pacific collecting

Geographic scope

The general scope of Asian and Pacific collecting is the countries of East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific:

  • East Asia  - China, Japan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea, and Taiwan
  • Southeast Asia  - Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam
  • South Asia - India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and to a lesser extent Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives (works acquired in English language only)
  • The Pacific countries of Melanesia (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, New Caledonia) and to a lesser extent the countries of Polynesia and Micronesia.

The Library does not generally collect from the countries of West Asia or Central Asia, with the exception of cartographic materials, Australian-related works and a small number of publications in English.

Time period

The time period of most interest is the modern era, from the 19th century onwards.

Language and source of collecting

Works published in the countries of Asia and the Pacific will be acquired in the language of the country of publication and will usually be sourced from the country of publication.

Works about Asia and the Pacific published in western countries will generally be acquired in English.  A small number of works will be acquired in Dutch relating to Indonesia, and French relating to the French Pacific territories.

6.2 Scope and principles of Asian and Pacific collecting

Subject areas collected will fall within the broad areas of history, culture and society and will take in works that provide interpretation and analysis of Asia-Pacific-related issues, current events and social trends. Research level works and trade publications will be acquired that treat subjects at an advanced or academic level. The principle for acquisition is whether the work provides context for a broader understanding of a country, its development in the modern era and its place in the modern world, whether historically, culturally or politically.  Collecting will be open to interdisciplinary topics that may not be easily categorised but that relate to one or more aspects of interest.

The digital access principles outlined in section 4 will apply to digital publishing about and from Asia and the Pacific. It is expected that much western language collecting will be in digital form. Digital access to Asian language resources will be provided where it is available and in scope for collecting.  Print will remain the format of collecting for countries where digital publishing is not yet established.

Retrospective collecting of rare or antiquarian items will be highly selective and limited to items considered to have significant primary source value for research in collecting areas of interest.

6.3. Works about Asia and the Pacific

Collecting of works about the Asia Pacific region will cover current publishing of research-level works published mainly in the US and UK about Asia and the Pacific as a subject of study.

Subject areas collected will include:

  • Australia's relations with countries of Asia and the Pacific
  • History, politics, government, economy, culture, environment, social issues and modern life in countries of the Asia-Pacific region
  • Intra-regional concerns - social, economic, political, historical

Within the scope of these priorities, collecting will also include, where appropriate and available, published primary sources such as official publications, statistics, reference works, maps, contemporary accounts, pictorial works and personal narratives, as outlined in section 3.

6.4. Works published in Asia

The focus of collecting from the countries of Asia is to build a collection capable of supporting in-depth research. The Library has a special collecting focus on the countries of China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Indonesia. The following collecting parameters apply equally to these countries.

Materials acquired will include research-level books, journals, newspapers, government publications and published primary sources that provide information supporting research and study, whether in print or digital form. Collecting focuses on history, politics and culture. The highest priority historical period for each country is the modern era, however that is respectively defined for each country.

Works documenting popular culture and topical issues are acquired.  Literary works by acknowledged authors are acquired, including English language translations where available.

Australian-related publications, including works by Australians or about Australia, are actively sought.

Works on the pure and applied sciences are not collected. Works on modern linguistics are not acquired. National series Asian language cartographic works are collected where these are available.

The Library will from time to time archive selected Asian and Pacific websites on specific topics and themes relating to its collecting interests. These will supplement existing collecting and in some cases substitute for it where no other documentary sources are available.

The principle for selection of works published in Asia is whether the work provides additional context for a broader understanding of the country, its relations in the region and its development up to the modern era, whether historically, culturally or politically. There will be discretion to acquire works on new trends and developments as they emerge over time. It is noted that much modern research is interdisciplinary and inter-country in nature. The Library’s collecting will be open to the acquisition of sources which support interdisciplinary study, document issues that cross borders and set future research directions.