The Serica Project is a product of the generosity of Mr Nicholas Coulson and the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation, who sponsored a four-year project of cataloguing and digitisation of Bodley's pre-modern Chinese holdings between October 2011 and September 2015. Its website has been designed to give an overview of the extent and nature of these holdings and to present the bibliographic data in a way that is readily comprehensible to Chinese readers. It also provides a classified list of all the Library's pre-modern Chinese works that have been digitised.

Serica blog

Some notes on old Chinese books in the Bodleian Library's collections and on old Chinese books in general.


Collectors' seals on Chinese books in the Bodleian Library

Materials inaccessible from Library catalogues

The pre-modern Chinese collections contain things that can be catalogued only with difficulty, and sometimes not at all. They will be listed in this section, which is at an early stage of development.

Survey of Chinese "special collections" in the Bodleian Library

This survey documents the provenance and current location of all the so-called "special collections" of Chinese books in the Bodleian Library. It was originally compiled in December 2012 for the benefit of the National Library of China, with which the Bodleian had an evanescent memorandum of understanding, and is updated from time to time.

Chinese books in Europe in the seventeenth century

A list of books which came to Europe in the seventeenth century, under constant review as more examples are discovered.

Stone Age thinking at the speed of light – AACR2, MARC, and other dinosaurs

Book Arts Press Lecture 116 (17 March 1983) by John Jolliffe, who was Bodley's Librarian from 1982 until his untimely death in 1985. His paper demonstrates the inadequacies of library automation orthodoxy, and together with my annotations introduces some of the principal personalities involved in its construction.

David Helliwell
27 November 2021