Yale Partners with the National Library of Korea to Digitize Rare Books and Manuscripts

Yale University’s East Asia and Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript libraries have undertaken a collaborative project with The National Library of Korea to digitize Yale’s holdings of rare Korean works, totaling 140 volumes. This unique group of books and manuscripts includes religious, secular, and official publications from the Joseon period (1392 – 1910) and dates primarily from the late 18th and 19th centuries.

The National Library of Korea will provide funds for the digitization and plans to include the bibliographic information and page images of the Yale works in the Korean Old & Rare Collection Information System (KORCIS), an online full-text repository for Korean rare books. KORCIS currently contains the electronic versions of over 430,000 works from 85 collections worldwide. The bibliographic data and images will also be made available online through the Yale University Library’s website.

“We welcome the National Library of Korea’s interest in our Korean rare books and look forward to making these little-studied works more accessible to scholars,” said Ellen H. Hammond, curator of Yale’s East Asia Library.

“The Yale University Library believes that collaborating with peer institutions from around the world is essential in making their collections known to as wide an audience as possible,” said E.C. Schroeder, director of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Yale’s Korean rare books offer a glimpse into the artistic and publishing world of the late Joseon period, ranging from woodblock print and manuscript maps, royal editions in moveable type, a manuscript novel written in hangul (Korean script), Buddhist sutras, Confucian texts and commentaries, paintings, rubbings and pictorial albums. The works in the Beinecke were donated by the Yale Association of Japan alumni group in 1934. The items in the East Asia Library are later additions to the collection.

The Yale University Library
One of Yale’s distinctive strengths is its rich spectrum of library resources, including more than 12.5 million volumes, and information in all media, from ancient papyri to electronic databases. The Yale University Library is a major international research library, visited by scholars from all over the world, and a valued partner in teaching and research at the University. The library is engaged in numerous projects to expand access to its collections. Housed in 18 buildings including the Sterling Memorial and Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript libraries, it employs a dynamic and innovative staff of approximately 600. For additional information on the Yale University Library, including its hours of service and digitized versions of some of its unique collections, please visit the Library web sites: