CHINA HERITAGE QUARTERLY China Heritage Project, The Australian National University ISSN 1833-8461
No. 20, December 2009


Chêng Ch'iao, A Pioneer in Library Methods | China Heritage Quarterly

Chêng Ch'iao, A Pioneer in Library Methods

K.T. Wu 吳光清

K.T. Wu 吳光清, 'Cheng Ch'iao, A Pioneer in Library Methods', T'ien Hsia Monthly, Vol.X, No.2, February 1940, pp.128-141.

An advertisement from Yuzhou Feng Magazine.

Although the history of Chinese libraries can be traced back to a remote antiquity it was not until the twelfth century of our era that an effort was made to record systematically what was necessary to their orderly development. The first Chinese to systematize and popularize library technique was the eminent writer and historian, Chêng Ch'iao (鄭樵—T. Yü-chung 漁仲)—who lived in the years A.D. 1104-1162. Before his time there had appeared in old Chinese books casual references to various phases of library economy, but these are fragmentary and in most cases unsuited to our times. Chêng's ideas sound peculiarly modern because he lived when block printing had been in vogue for at least three centuries, and when the stitched book was rapidly displacing the ancient scroll. Though most of Chêng's writings are now lost, a section, entitled Chiao-Ch'ou Lüeh (校讎略), incorporated in his great T'ung-Chih (通志) or 'General History', summarizes a sufficient number of his recommendations to show that he understood well the problems of library science—so well, indeed, that many of his recommendations are as applicable today as they were eight centuries ago….