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  • The Harvard Korean Studies Bibliography: 80,000 References on Korea
  • Kyungmi Chun (bio)
The Harvard Korean Studies Bibliography: 80,000 References on Korea, compiled by Frank Hoffmann, assisted by Matthew J. Christensen and Kirk W. Larsen. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Korea Institute, 1999. CD-ROM. $25.00.

Anyone who studies, teaches, or does research on Korea must have experienced difficulties in identifying Western-language resources. They might have sought help from librarians, who have been just as frustrated at not being able to help them satisfactorily. The decision to compile a tool that would provide relief from such difficulties was made, and the result is available on CD-ROM. This CD runs on IBM PC–compatible as well as Macintosh computers.

The Harvard Korean Studies Bibliography (HKSB), which uses the End-Note bibliography program, contains 83,143 references published from the sixteenth century to 1997 in four database files: "Theses" contains 7,011 references; "Books, Book Sections, and Reviews" contains 26,388 references; and "Articles, 1786–1991" and "Articles, 1992–1997" together contain 49,744 references. About 90 percent of all the references are written in English.

There is no doubt that HKSB is a useful research tool for the field of Korean studies. There are, however, deficiencies and shortcomings of which users should be aware. First of all, although there are more than 80,000 references, users should not rely solely on HKSB. Many publications are not covered in HKSB. There are other problems as well. For example, Chicago Occasional Papers on Korea is found in the "Books . . ." file, but only one of the seven papers in the volume is indexed in "Articles, 1786–1991." Even though a particular journal is indexed, not all the issues, nor all the articles in a particular issue, may be found. For example, East Asian Review, published quarterly by the Institute for East Asian Studies in Seoul is indexed only up to 1996; only one article from the 1994 issues and no article from the 1995 issues is indexed; and so on. Additionally, users should consult other tools as well. Examples would be the online Bibliography of Asian Studies ( and Korean History: A Bibliography by Ken Robinson ( I must alert users that these bibliographies have their own shortcomings, and there seem to be problems in keeping them up-to-date.

The HKSB contains a great number of references that are unlikely to be used by Korean studies researchers. Works with very minimal content about Korea are numerous. Their appropriateness for inclusion in this database could be argued. The most significant problem lies in the fact that a large [End Page 285] number of references that are not at all related to Korean studies are indexed in HKSB. Publications like Copyright Law: Indonesian Experience and Kicho ch'ek'oo–kangdokkwa hoehwa & Zakladni cestina—cetba a konverzace are included. Also conference proceedings with themes having nothing to do with Korean studies are included just because they were held in Korea. For example, IVMC '97: 10th International Vacuum Microelectronics Conference: Technical Digest: August 17–21, 1997, Kyongju, Korea; Proceedings, the Twentieth Annual International Computer Software & Applications Conference (COMPSAC '96), August 21–23, 1996, Seoul, Korea; and Proceedings of the Fourth Asia Pacific Physics Conference: August 13–17, 1990, Seoul, Korea, to name a few.

The disciplinary scope of Korean studies commonly falls within the humanities and social sciences. When it includes the natural sciences, the subject matter usually reflects cultural aspects. The coverage of HKSB makes one wonder exactly what Korean studies is. It contains a huge number of references that belong to the natural sciences. For example, one finds "Biology and Pheromone-Mediated Behavior of Matsucoccus Thunbergianae in Korea with Reference to M. Resinosae in the United States" (thesis), Four New Species of Sand-burrowing Haustoriid Amphipoda (Crustacea) of Korea, and "Relationship of the Korean Lycoris (Amaryllidaceae) Using the RAPDs Analysis" (article). Articles published in natural-science journals have inundated HKSB. For example, 207 articles from the Korean Journal of Systematic Zoology, 108 articles from the Korean Journal of Zoology, 144 articles from the Korean Journal of Entomology...


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