Asian Languages Library


Asian Languages Library at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Establishment of the research library in East Asian languages (especially Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Tibetan which are taught in the Hebrew University) had long been a dream of staff and students of the East Asian Department of the Hebrew University. Absence of such a library has severely hindered the development of the Department into an international center for East Asian studies. Until recently, due to inadequate collection of primary and secondary sources in East Asian languages we routinely had to encourage our PhD students to travel abroad to collect necessary materials; on a few occasions we even regrettably had to reject applications of PhD students due to the inability to provide them with adequate library facilities in Israel.
This situation changed dramatically since the formation of the Frieberg Center for East Asian studies. From its inception, the Center focused on the establishment of research library in East Asian Languages as its major priority. In response to our request, and in view of the upsurge of interest in East Asian Studies in Israel and the steady increase in the size of our department, the Library Authority of the Hebrew University has agreed to allocate space and resources to create an Asian Languages Library within the larger framework of the Central Library of the Hebrew University. The new library, supported by the Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies, is modeled after similar libraries in some of the leading US universities. It will be provided with the best facilities, including access to multiple Chinese and Japanese electronic databases, most of which have been heretofore inaccessible from Israel. It will be run by professional staff of our graduates, who will receive special training as librarians.

Preliminary results
The official launch of the library is due in 2010; but we have already begun working on preliminary purchase of books and databases. Our modest activities brought about tremendous results: the book collection increased from a few hundred volumes in 2007 to more than 5000 in mid-2009, and is rapidly expanding. Most important were purchase of a few research databases, such as the all-important CNKI database which allows the Hebrew University users to access hundreds of thousands of fully searchable and downloadable research articles in humanities and social sciences published in China since 1993 (and in humanities – since 1916!). Another major acquisition was the on-line e-version of Siku quanshu: the single most important collection of China's imperial and pre-imperial books. More databases are due to be purchased when sufficient funds are found. We are grateful to library friends for their generous support of these acquisitions.

Friends of the Asian Languages Library Program
The library official launched in Spring 2010. We expect it to become a new center of Asian-related research in the Hebrew University and in the State of Israel in general. Yet to become truly competitive internationally, the library requires significant financial support, especially during the first years of its existence when we must radically expand its collection. Having this in mind, we propose the following programs for Friends of the Asian Languages Library in Jerusalem:
Honorary Founding Chair of the Library: one-time endowment of 2,000,000 (two million) USD, which would support a full-time professional librarian. The library will be named after the Honorary Chair, who will also automatically become Associate Member of the Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies in the Hebrew University.
Distinguished Friend of the Library: annual support of 20,000 (twenty thousand) USD or more for the purchase of books and databases in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. The names of the Distinguished Friends will be acknowledged on the special "Library Friends" wall and on the Library's electronic site. Distinguished Friends will also become Associate Members of the Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies in the Hebrew University.
Friend of the Library: one-time contribution of 5,000 (five thousand) USD or more; Donors will be listed in the library's website and will become Associate Members of the Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies in the Hebrew University.

For further details, please contact Prof. Yuri Pines, Chair of the Academic Committee of the Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies in the Hebrew University, and Coordinator of the East Asian Library Project (


Friends of the Library

Dr. Leonard S. Polonsky

PolonskyDr. Leonard S. Polonsky, a UK citizen, grew up in New York City, where he was a pupil at the prestigious Townsend Harris High School. He received his BA degree at New York University, where he was President of the Student Council, officer of several clubs, and editor or the literary magazine.  Following military service in 1945/46, he pursued graduate studies at Lincoln College, Oxford, and in Paris at the Sorbonne, where he received his doctorate in Lettres in 1952.  He taught languages in Heidelberg for several years.
Before embarking upon his business career, Dr. Polonsky began working in financial services, in New York in 1955, followed by Rome, Frankfurt, and Zurich, eventually establishing Liberty Life Assurance Company Limited in London in 1970.  He is Executive Chairman of Hansard Global plc, its successor, listed on the main board of the London Stock Exchange.  The company has used advanced technology to manage its business and to expand internationally, and now has clients in170 countries.
For many years Dr. Polonsky was President of the Aion Foundation,  active internationally in the field of analytical psychology.  Dr. Polonsky is a Trustee of the Polonsky Foundation in London, which supports charitable activity worldwide, a Trustee of the Polonsky Brothers Foundation in New York, which focuses on higher education for the urban poor.  He is a member of the Board of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding in New York and of the Harry S. Truman Research Center for the Advancement of Peace, in Jerusalem.
Dr. Polonsky is an Honorary Fellow and Governor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has been a Member of the Executive of the university’s British Friends since 1993. 

The Polonsky Foundation has endowed projects at both Oxford and Cambridge universities.  Other projects enable postgraduate students from overseas to reside at Lincoln College, Oxford, as guests of the Foundation.  Polonsky Fellowships for postdoctoral researchers in the humanities and social sciences are available at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem.

The Polonsky Foundation is currently engaged with the Royal Shakespeare Company in a four-year educational program, “Exploring Shakespeare,” available via the internet.


James D. Blum


Online Resources

With the generous support of the Friends of the Library we have been able to subscribe to several essential databases that greatly facilitate research of the staff and students of the Hebrew University. Currently (summer 2010), all of the resources, except for Le Grand Ricci dictionary are available from any computer that works through the Hebrew University system; Le Grand Ricci dictionary is available in the East Asian computers within the library. For further details, please contact Coordinator of the Asian Languages Library Project, Mr. Andrei Gomouline by

CNKI: China Knowledge Resource Integrated Database

China Academic Journals Full-text Database (CAJ) is the largest searchable full-text and full-image interdisciplinary Chinese journals database in the world, covering over 8,460 titles since 1994 including 5,058 science and technology journals and 3402 social sciences and humanities journals by the end of 2007, article count reached over 25 million. The Asian Languages Library of the Hebrew University is currently subscribed to all the social sciences and humanities series, providing our researchers with the cutting edge academic publications in China.

Century Journals Project (CJP) selects the most important academic journals published in China and digitizes all issues since their very first issue up till 1993 in an effort to expand the China Academic Journals Full-text Database. The earliest journal dates back to 1915. The ultimate plan of CJP is to digitize 3,901 titles of journals by the end of 2007, including 2,758 titles of science and engineering journals and 1,143 titles of social science journals. The total article count will be around 6 million. The Asian Languages Library of the Hebrew University is currently subscribed to all the social sciences and humanities series.

Siku Quanshu on-line

The Siku Quanshu is undisputed as the largest single assembly of classical works in the world. Compiled by edict of Emperor Qianlong, the Siku Quanshu (‘Complete Library of Four Treasures’) is a compendium of 3,000 years of Chinese knowledge, including literature, history, medicine, science and technology, diplomacy, philosophy, linguistics and so much more. The definitive Wenyuange edition of the Siku Quanshu encompasses 3,460 works totaling more than 36,000 volumes and is brought to life like never before in a unique, fully online format. This monumental work is the result of contributions by hundreds of editors and noted scholars, and is enhanced by never-before available tools to enhance research. Its acquisition became a major breakthrough in research of pre-modern Chinese history in the Hebrew University.

* Please note: the utilization of the database requires installation on your computer. For further details and explanations for installation and utilization, please contact (

Chinese Ancient Texts (CHANT) Project Database

The Chinese Ancient Texts (CHANT) Databases are maintained by Research Centre for Chinese Ancient Texts, Hong Kong. There are currently six databases available:

  • A Computerized Database of Oracular-Bone Inscriptions (a database in the original jiagu characters with multiple search functions; over 1 million characters.
  • A Computerized Database of Bronze Inscriptions: It includes information of over 12,000 bronze vessels, around 18,000 inscription rubbings, 1 million characters of explanatory notes and 140,000 characters of transcriptions.
  • A Computerized Database of the Excavated Wood/Bamboo and Silk Scripts: In this project, punctuations and textual notes were added to the excavated versions of the scripts. All emendations are clearly marked so readers can restore the original texts if they wish.
  • A Computerized Database of the Entire Body of Extant Han and Pre-Han Traditional Chinese Texts
  • A Database of Traditional Chinese Texts of Wei, Jin and the Northern and Southern Dynasties
  • A Computerized Database of the Entire Body of Extant Chinese Encyclopedias (Leishu)

Le Grand Ricci

Le Grand Ricci, a giant Chinese-French dictionary, contains 13,500 single characters and 300,000 Chinese expressions. Le Grand Ricci is an unparalleled publication: covering more than 3,000 years of history of the Chinese language; the origins of its script, and extending up to the most contemporary usage. Specialized vocabulary is organized into 180 branches of knowledge: astronomy, Buddhism, medicine, finance, etc. The CD-Rom version was installed on the computers placed for the convenience of students, researchers and the library guests within the East Asian Library. For further details, please contact Coordinator of the Asian Languages Library Project, Mr. Andrei Gomouline by