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I am the East Asian Librarian at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. I recently developed FOREASt, The Internet East Asian Library, which consists of a growing number of free online resources for East Asian studies. The basic idea of FOREASt is to facilitate the discovery and use of open access resources with web 2.0 technologies--blogging, tagging, and social bookmarking. The main website of FOREASt is built on and all the resources covered by FOREASt are also bookmarked and shared on, so that it can reach librarians and researchers active in different information realms. In addition to its unique geographic focus (China, Japan, and Korea), what is different between FOREASt and existing Internet directories is that it chooses to focus on web-based free databases (textual, visual, or numeric).

By all measures, FOREASt has had considerable initial success: there were over 700 hits to its WordPress site in the 48-hour period following a formal announcement to a librarians' listserv; collaborations with other librarians and scholars have started; some librarians have posted the link to FOREASt on their own subject guides or blogs. I am planning on taking FOREASt to the larger East Asian studies community after another round of development.

In retrospect, using the to host the main site seems to a key to these early successes: it is easy to set up, flexible, functional, attractive enough, and easy to use. The design of the main site imitates the layout of many real East Asian Libraries in North America, which helps users navigate. The user comments feature in WordPress is facilitating the participation of East Asian studies librarians across North America, especially in terms of suggesting new resources and identifying issues with existing resources. Also, because FOREASt is hosted and branded in an independent and neutral fashion, librarians have showed greater willingness to advertise it on their institutional web pages, which helps FOREASt reach end users. Choosing to focus on databases has also provided FOREASt with a niche area and a distinctive identity.

If you are interested, please go to: and


Tao Yang