Following the successful completion in August 2002 of a project funded by the Research Support Libraries Programme, there now exists a UK Union Catalogue of Chinese Books containing records from the British Library, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Oxford and SOAS. Particular attention has been paid to the development of a simple and intuitive search interface, enabling readers to gain rapid access to the required information through the entry of minimal search terms.
The entire thrust of the project has been to produce an original script catalogue in the truest sense, and to keep romanisation to a minimum. However, a large number of romanised records from Cambridge University Library have been included, so it is recommended that for the time being searching should be done in both original script and romanisation to ensure a reliable result. As the Cambridge records are upgraded, the need for this will diminish.
During the course of the project, great attention was paid to setting up procedures for ensuring that it would be simple and inexpensive to maintain the database once the RSLP funding had ceased. Accordingly, since its completion all the participants have continued to contribute their current cataloguing work, which is regularly incorporated into the database. But needless to say, the Union Catalogue, like any other, supplements rather than replaces the catalogues of the participating institutions, which at any given time will usually be more complete. Furthermore, there are many smaller collections that are not currently included. The absence of a work in the Union Catalogue does not therefore mean that it is not held somewhere in the UK.
30 March 2007