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CLIR Hidden Collection Project

The Project

Supported by a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources  (CLIR)

UBC Library holds a large volume of Chinese language rare materials that have never been adequately described. These hidden collections' were donated by community members or purchased from Hong Kong or Macau with donated funds. Their research value are mostly unknown and inaccessible to scholars.

CLIR seeks to address the hidden collection problem by awarding grants for supporting innovative, efficient description of large volumes of material of high value to scholars. UBC Library is honored to be a supporting partner in a collaboration led by the University of Washington that has won a grant from CLIR. The Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant, is for a project entitled “Discovering Modern China: University of Washington (UW) & University of British Columbia (UBC) Collections.” This project involves the cataloging of special collections held at both libraries, starting from June 1, 2014 and wrapped up within 18 months. The project report and the bibliography have been included in this two-volume set, published in August 2018. Mr. Wu Ya Min continues to work on the Puban Collection sponsored by a foundation in Canada.

This marks one of only two international collaborative efforts funded by CLIR and the first involving a Canadian university.This guide is providing the project related information for the team members, international partner institutions and scholars. 

Principal Investigator: Jing Liu

Chinese Language Librarian, UBC Asian Library

Scholarly Engagement


  • Prof. Wei Yinzong, received his Ph.D from UBC Asian Studies in 2019, teaching at Wuhan University, presented the Puban Collection at the Overseas Chinese Rare Books Forum at Peking University in November 2019.
  • Many new publications and presentations based on the Project and the Chinese rare book collections here at UBC, including the PI & Co-PI's presentations at the CLIR Symposium and PRRLA conference in 2015 and the AAS/CEAL in 2016, the book project supported by the CLIR Micro-grant and a family foundation.
  • Dr. Li Yan, presented the Rare books from Canton in UBC Library, for the International Symposium at the Sun Yat-sen University in September 2019.
  • Prof. Tim Brook's international collaborative research on Chinese statecraft focus on the Ming dynasty. This great 15th-century compilation of statecraft writings, Da xue yan yi bu 《大學衍義補》 in Puban Collection, was examined by Brook's team member, Dr. Dai Lianbin. Although the UBC holding was not catalogued with the accurate imprint, it was among the earliest existing copy, and the same edition has not been found any where else in the world. Dr. Dai presented his paper on The Genealogy of the Ming Editions of the Full Text of "Daxue yanyi bu" at an international conference, and it will be published soon.
  • Prof. Li Duanduan presented the research "The construction of Chinese identities and ideologies in textbooks for Chinese heritage-language (CHL) learners" on behalf of Dr.Patricia Duff, Hong Jiang, and Lorita Chiu in the 2014 World Congress of Applied Linguistics in Brisbane, Australia. The research was largely based on the special collection of old Chinese textbooks at UBC Asian Library.
  • Dr. Alan Thrasher's upcoming new book: "Qupai in Chinese Music: Melodic Models in Form and Practice" will be published by Routledge in 2016 with the contributions of three other scholars including Professor Chen Yingshi (陳應時), an expert on Tang dynasty music, Dr. François Picard from Université Paris-Sorbonne, and Dr. Yu Hui (喻輝) from Ningbo University. The book presents the latest research on the fundamental concept of qupai, melodic models upon which most traditional Chinese instrumental music is based. The research has benefited from the project materials, including Hui tu jing xuan kun qu da quan 《繪圖精選昆曲大全》and Baishidaoren ge qu : si juan 《白石道人歌曲 : 四卷》 from the collection have been cited in this book.

Sample Pages 古籍书页展示

To visit more titles from the collection, visit our Chinese Rare Book Sample Pages website.
点击进入Chinese Rare Book Sample Pages主页查看更多古籍书目展示