Two USC Librarians Analyze East Asian Librarianship Correspondence in New Peer-Reviewed Article

Faculty and Staff News

Tang Li and Junjiro Nakatomi of the USC Libraries have published a peer-reviewed article in the Journal of East Asian Libraries. Titled "Tracing East Asian Librarianship in Correspondence: A Data Analysis of Eastlib Messages from 1995 to 2020," and co-authored with Xiang Li of the University of Colorado, Boulder, the article delves into the history and development of East Asian librarianship in North America using a unique data source—the Eastlib listserv.

Established by the Council on East Asian Libraries (CEAL) in the early 1990s, the Eastlib listserv has kept East Asian librarians connected for nearly three decades. In 2020, unanticipated system setting changes resulted in the loss of past messages. A task force was formed to collect and rebuild the archive, which now contains over nine thousand emails from 1995 to 2020.

The article employs various data cleaning and analysis methods to examine trends, challenges, and changes in the field of East Asian librarianship. It also reviews the effectiveness of the listserv as a primary communication tool for the CEAL community, particularly in light of disruptions wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.