Shared Purchase Supports Faculty Grant Project

CRL recently negotiated an unscheduled special shared purchase on behalf of an economics faculty member at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Professor Carol H. Shiue has been working on research partially funded by an NSF grant entitled “What Explains Modern Economic Growth? New Evidence from a Comparison of China and Europe.” Her research focuses on explaining the causes of growth, identifying the factors that determine whether growth is possible, and determining how it may be sustained. She pursues these issues by providing a detailed quantitative analysis of economic conditions that prevailed in major economies at the time of the turning point of modern economic growth between the 18th and the 20th centuries. The project assesses economic development of China in three major areas: domestic commodity markets, international market integration, and the accumulation of worker skills (human capital).

Her research requires access to a large 170 volume set that is only held by Harvard and Berkeley in the U.S. The Zhong guo jiu hai guan shi liao 1859–1948 is a complete publication of the original sources of the British maritime customs service when they were located in China starting in the 19th century. It is the only source covering international trade in China in this period that is fully comprehensive in scope. Other sources are scattered and incomplete. These sources were published out of the complete collection of the Nanjing No. 2 Archives of China.

Professor Shiue is developing a data set by analyzing trade activity in the various Chinese ports starting with Shanghai. Her research is based on both primary and secondary sources. The resulting analyses and data will provide new information for research into international trade of the period, as well as foreign relations and cultural and historical studies.

The ballot for the Shared Purchase Program is sent out annually in March. Since the program for this fiscal year had just finished, and since the Purchase Proposal Program occurs in the Fall, an unscheduled Shared Purchase ballot was arranged. CU Boulder and CRL pledged more than half the money needed to fund the purchase and the special ballot was sent to those libraries with significant East Asian collections. Another four member libraries, the University of California-Irvine, Cornell University, Indiana University, and the University of Oregon contributed to fully fund this purchase. Until these materials arrive at CRL, Mary Wilke at CRL also facilitated special ILL borrowing of these materials from Harvard’s Yenching library so that the faculty member can receive 30 volumes at a time.

This is a fabulous example of how CRL can contribute to research needs of our faculty through shared purchases and through their network of contacts among CRL libraries. It’s a reminder to many of us to keep CRL collections and options in mind when unusual research or ILL requests occur.