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Chinese painting Founded in 1804, Ohio University is one of the oldest universities in the United States. Listed among the top 120 universities in the United States, it ranked 56th in a U.S. News survey of public colleges in the country in 2008. Ohio University has 10 colleges, a Center for International Studies, and offers 276 undergraduate majors, 170 master's programs, and 57 doctoral programs. Latest figures show that the University has about 28,500 students enrolled at its main campus in Athens and its five regional campuses in southern Ohio. This figure includes about 1,100 international students enrolled each year from more than 100 countries and regions.

Ohio University Library is a member of the prestigious Association of Research Libraries (ARL) made up of 110 of the best academic libraries in the United States and Canada. The library currently holds about 2,720,000 bound volumes, 3,280,000 microforms, 184,900 maps, 22,080 print and electronic periodicals. It employs approximately 180 professional librarians, paraprofessional librarians and student assistants. The Ohio University Library system is housed in the Vernon R. Alden Library, a modern seven-story structure with a local integrated library network system and worldwide online access to more than 14,000 libraries in North America and around the world. The Ohio University Library system also includes five libraries at regional campuses. Ohio University Library is the only known library in the United States designated by the Governments of Malaysia, Botswana, Swaziland, and Guatemala as an official depository of publications from these countries. The Library has played a pioneering role in international library staff development. Over 175 professional librarians and information scientists from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia participated in its International Internship Program for Professional Librarians (1981-1999). This program was sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, the United Nation Development Programme, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Asia Foundation, the Yenching Educational Foundation, the Lingnan Educational Foundation, Blackwell North America, and others. It was also supported by generous donations from individuals. Over 20 program participants were directly sponsored by Dr. Daniel Shao, a famous Hong Kong entrepreneur. Many participants of the Program later became the leaders of their libraries.

In 1967, the Southeast Asia Collection at Ohio University Library and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Ohio University were established. The Collection and the Center were soon designated by the U.S. Government as the National Resource Center for Southeast Asian Studies. With the commitment of the University and support from the U.S. Government, as well as private gifts, the Southeast Asian Collection has developed into a world-class research collection on Southeast Asia. It currently occupies the first floor of the Vernon R. Alden Library building with a size of more than 20,000 square feet. The Collection contains more than 300,000 bound volumes, 100,000 microfilms, and 9,000 active serials. More than 11,000 volumes or serial issues are added each year. The strengths and services of the Collection have attracted scholars and other patrons from across North America, Southeast Asia, and the world to the Athens Campus. The total number of the services requested, including loans of books and reference assistance, is in the neighborhood of 10,000 per year. In recognition of its strengths and reputation, the Malaysian Government designated the Ohio University Southeast Asian Collection as the Malaysian Resource Center in North America in 1985. Three years later, the Malaysian Government further named it as the United States Depository for materials published in Malaysia. The Malaysian Government and U.S. corporations also jointly set up and fund a Chair in Southeast Asian Studies at Ohio University with its office located in Ohio University Library's Southeast Asia Collection. The Chair is named after Tun Abdul Razak, one of the former Prime Ministers of Malaysia. The Southeast Asia Collection maintains a solid relationship with thousands of Ohio University alumni throughout Southeast Asia, many of them receiving their graduate degrees in Southeast Asian studies.

In 1993, with an endowment of $500,000 from Dr. Shao You-Bao, the Dr. Shao You-Bao Overseas Chinese Documentation and Research Center was established in the Ohio University Library. Despite the strength of the Southeast Asia Collection, a Center specially devoted to the documentation of and research on the Chinese overseas was needed to give more attention and direction to such efforts in a region which has arguably the largest concentration of ethnic Chinese in the world. The establishment of the Dr. Shao You-Bao Center was also aimed at extending these efforts beyond Southeast Asia, to include ethnic Chinese in other parts of the world. Latin America, Africa, Europe, and the Pacific, are under-documented and under-studied, but equally important, areas of Chinese migration and settlement, both historically and in the present.

In addition to building collections of books and journals, the Center actively seeks to identify, acquire, and preserve manuscripts, archives, and other unique resources documenting the activities of Overseas Chinese. To the extent possible, these materials will be permanently preserved on film or electronic media to enable sharing these resources with sister research centers in Asia and around the world. In 2001, the Center acquired 1,415 microfiches of Dr. Myra Sidharta's personal collection on Indonesian Peranakan literature, which included Peranakan literature works published between 1884 and 1976, thus making Ohio University Library one of the most important resource centers in North America for the study of Peranakan literature.

Besides assisting researchers through the sharing of resources and information and other means, the Center also actively promotes international exchange and cooperation for Overseas Chinese studies through the organizing of conferences. In March 2000, the Center initiated and organized the first International Conference of Institutes and Libraries for Overseas Chinese Studies that was held at Ohio University. Over 50 research institutes, libraries, university programs, academic societies, museums, archives, and other organizations from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, Europe, Australia, Canada, and the U.S. sent their directors or representatives to attend this groundbreaking conference. During the conference, a worldwide cooperative organization, the World Confederation of Institutes and Libraries for Chinese Overseas Studies (WCILCOS), was inaugurated, and the Center was selected to serve as its secretariat. In 2003 and 2005, two International Conferences of the WCILCOS were held in Hong Kong and Singapore, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and with the National Library Board of Singapore respectively. These conferences have attracted a large number of scholars and librarians in the field of Chinese overseas studies all over the world. The Center aspires to take on an active role in the promotion of Chinese overseas studies in the world through organizing and supporting such events and gatherings. It is hoped that closer co-operation between libraries, institutes and researchers interested in Chinese overseas studies will greatly enhance our efforts to advance the field.

During this time, the Dr. Shao You-Bao Center has also developed on-line databases for publications on the Chinese overseas, scholars and librarians on Chinese overseas, demographic distribution of Chinese overseas worldwide, and Chinese overseas newspapers and journals. The Shao Center is seeking to further develop online resources on its own website and that of the WCILCOS, so as to make itself an important portal for researchers, librarians, and other educational institutions and users, as well as members of the public, to obtain information and resources on online Chinese overseas communities and resources in the new digital age. These can be accessed at and respectively.

The Center shall continue to strive to promote overseas Chinese research by supporting collection development in the field, conferences, preservation and documentation projects, and the research and writing of younger scholars in the field. To do so, the Shao Center and Ohio University library will need to build on its endowment. A target of $2 million is needed for the Center to maintain its current involvements while embarking on new projects.

Gifts towards this goal, in cash or kind, are welcome. All gifts to the Center are tax deductible under the U.S. tax code. For further information, please contact:

Keng We Koh
Dr. Shao You-Bao Overseas Chinese Documentation and Research Center
Ohio University Libraries, Athens, OH 45701-2979 , USA
Tel: (740)597-2530 Fax: (740)593-1859

Jeff Ferrier
Center for International Collections, Ohio University Libraries
Athens, Ohio 45701-2979 ,USA
Tel: (740)593-2688Fax: (740)593-2959

[Shao Center home page]  [Chinese version]
OHIO University Libraries
Athens, OH 45701-2978
Phone: (740) 593-2699
Last updated: June 27, 2012
This page is maintained by Zhiyong Tian and Jeffrey Ferrier.
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