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Korean studies collection development policy

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Program information

The James Joo-Jin Kim Program in Korean Studies promotes interdisciplinary research and teaching across the University community on issues related to Korea.  Endowed by a generous gift from Mr. James Joo-Jin Kim in 2011, the Program (originally established in 1997 as Center for Korean Studies) advises the university on Korea-related initiatives, sponsors conferences and lectures by invited speakers, awards grants to faculty members and students, hosts visiting scholars and postdoctoral fellows, and undertakes community outreach effort toward a better understanding of Korea.

Departmentally, the majority of Korean studies students and faculty are located in East Asian Languages & Civilizations, History, International Relations, the Graduate School of Education, Anthropology, and Sociology.

Guidelines for Collection Development

1. Chronological

Collecting includes a range of periods from Chosǒn to contemporary, with some pre-Chosǒn works such as on archaeology collected.

2. Formats

Collecting is divided between print books (such as contemporary scholarship, primary sources, literature, and advanced textbooks), and e-resources. Our e-resource packages include journal articles, ebooks, and reference materials.

3. Geographical

Concurring with the interdisciplinary and comparative nature of the current pedagogical/research approach to the Korean Studies at Penn, collection development focuses on pre-war Korea, South and North Korea, Japan, and China (including the former Manchuria).

4. Language

The Korean Collection specializes in Korean-language materials, supplementing them with translations of literature or key scholarship into English and French (as well as important original scholarship in those languages).

5. Publication dates

The Korean Collection concentrates almost exclusively on materials published after 2010, due to the scarcity of materials published more than five to ten years ago in Korea.

Principal sources of supply and major selection tools

Korean studies materials are generally purchased directly from Korea via Panmun Co., Ltd. Panmun supplies regular lists of newly published and used/rare books, and these are supplemented by the websites of major academic publishers and university presses. Further selections are determined from lists sent by organizations such as the National Library of Korea, National Assembly Library, and Korea Foundation, from which the Penn Libraries receive gifts in kind. North Korean publications are purchased via China Classics.

In general, selections are made both by the bibliographer seeking to establish a strong general collection, and by way of recommendations from the Korean studies community at Penn both from new publication lists and otherwise. These selections are more specialized to current research and study needs.

  • Subjects collected and levels of collecting

    The Korean collection at the Penn Libraries is focused on supporting current student and faculty research, as well as Korean language learning at advanced levels. In particular, current research and teaching at Penn include contemporary media and literature, pop culture and hallyu, historical genealogy, sociology, Chosǒn history, colonial Korea, Koreans in the Japanese colonies, and North Korea. The bibliographer also aims to create a strong foundation for research and study of Korea suiting current as well as future needs, including history, literature, and the arts in premodern and modern periods.

Subjects excluded

The following categories of materials are generally not collected:

  • Ephemeral works
  • Gray literature
  • TOPIK preparation textbooks
  • Translations of Western literature into Korean
  • Works on science in general

Related subject collections