Thurston, Anne F., Turner-Gottschang, Karen, Reed, Linda A.. "2. Preparing for the Trip." China Bound, Revised: A Guide to Academic Life and Work in the PRC. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1994.
The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
CHINA BOUND: A Guide to Academic Life and Work in the PRC
ence works. Libraries and bookstores in China are treasure troves, but new publications are often sold out soon after they reach the stores and the availability of, and access to, library books is unpredictable. Even major secondary works in your field may not be available. And dictionaries published in China are sometimes hard to obtain, so take the ones you need.
Experienced bibliophiles have discovered that books can now be ordered direct from publishers based in China or obtained from distribution centers. Out-of-print books and back issues of journals sometimes can be found in used bookstores, especially those in out-of-the-way spots. Bookstores in Liulichang, the newly renovated antique district in Beijing, often are a good source of books on early China. Cities such as Xi'an and Lanzhou, for example, have stores devoted to ancient history, stocking items that are hard to find in the larger cities. Ask your Chinese colleagues for advice, and offer to share your finds with them. Many scholars report that they have borrowed books from Chinese academics who have better private collections in their field than some libraries. In any case, if you see a book that you need, it is wise to buy it immediately.
Periodicals in Chinese may be ordered at the post office. A useful guide, arranged by subject, to newspapers and periodicals published in China is available from:
China International Book Trading Corporation (Guoji Shudian)
P.O. Box 2820
(Sections on access to materials and the post office can be found in Chapters 4 and 7, respectively.)
If equipment is essential to your research, write ahead for information on available equipment and ask for precise specifications. Some researchers have been supplied with manual or electric typewriters, whereas others have no access to school equipment. Only a few of the people surveyed for this book were able to use computers supplied by their host institutions. If you will need a tape recorder, it is best to bring your own. Hong Kong is a good place to purchase excellent tape recorders at reasonable prices. Calculators are easy to buy in China. If you will be in a small town or village and gathering and copying materials is essential for your work, you may want to take a portable copier with a heavy-duty transformer. Canon's Personal Copier series comes highly recommended. Duplicating facilities are far more available in Chinese cities today than a few years ago, although most shops are located outside university gates and sometimes a good distance away.