Skip to main content

East Asian Library Electronic Resources: English Databases

List of electronic databases available through the East Asian Library

Table of Contents

Show All

Archives Unbound

Also known as the Declassified Documents Reference Service. Digital collections of historical material on many topics. Includes manuscripts, printed books and periodicals, and government documents. Material comes from the U.S. National Archives, the U.K. National Archives, and many other libraries and archives. Chinese (and a few Japanese) topics included are The Chinese Civil War and U.S.-China Relations: Records of the U.S. State Department's Office of Chinese Affairs, 1945-1955; Tiananmen Square and U.S.-China relations, 1989-1993; Records of the U.S. Information Service in China: Chinese Press Reviews and Summaries, 1944-1950; 19th Century English-Language Journals from the Far East; General George C. Marshall's Mission to China, 1945-1947; U.S. Military Advisory Effort in Vietnam: Military Assistance Advisory Group, Vietnam, 1950-1964; Political, Economic, and Military Conditions in China: Reports and Correspondence of the U.S. Military Intelligence Division, 1918-1941; and Political Relations and Conflict between Republican China and Imperial Japan, 1930-1939: Records of the U.S. State Department.

Asia-Studies Full-text Online

Database for the study of modern Asia-Pacific. As the exclusive licensee for the region's most prestigious research institutions, brings together thousands of full-text reports covering 55 countries on a multitude of business, government, economic, and social issues.

Bibliography of Asian Studies

The on-line version of the Bibliography of Asian Studies contains more than 700,000 records on all subjects (especially humanities and social sciences) pertaining to East, Southeast, and South Asia published worldwide from 1971 to the present. Through the 1991 printed version, the BAS included citations to western-language periodical articles, individually authored monographs, chapters in edited volumes, conference proceedings, anthologies, and Festschriften, etc. Since 1992, newly published individual monographs are no longer being added to the database, and users seeking monographs are urged to consult other general resources and databases.

The online BAS contains the full data of all printed editions of the BAS issued from 1971 up to the 1991 edition (published 1997), as well as thousands of entries compiled since. To quickly bridge the gap in coverage from 1991 to the present, the BAS staff have identified the most important 100+ periodicals in Asian Studies, and have given these high priority for indexing to make their coverage as up-to-date as possible. For any particular journal, full information on years of coverage should be provided through the Journal Title Browse function, although this part seems often out of sync with the rest of the database.

You can search by phrase in specified field, can combine searches, and can specify your desired display, with or without diacritics; a downloadable font is provided. You can limit your searches to specific countries. Subject searching is also provided, but subject ranges are broad and have changed over the years. If you need assistance, consult the Western bibliographer (contact info found in the right column of this page).

Brill's Encyclopedia of China

A basic introductory encyclopedia to (largely, but not exclusively, modern) China, primarily for undergraduates. A paper version is also available. This work is the English adapted version of an original German-language encyclopedia, and most entries are written by well-known scholars (e.g., the Qing entry is written by Pierre-Etienne Will.)

Cambridge Histories Online

This database contains full-text searching of all Cambridge Histories, usually with up to a year delay after the print publication. You can search in all or specific titles, and download individual chapters as needed. The Cambridge history of China, The Cambridge history of Japan, and The Cambridge history of ancient China are included.

China, America and the Pacific

An extensive range of archival material connected to the trading and cultural relationships that emerged between China, America and the Pacific region between the 18th and early 20th centuries. Manuscript sources, rare printed texts, visual images, objects and maps document this fascinating history.

The resource includes a wide range of manuscript, printed and visual primary-source materials as well as other key features to support research and teaching. One can use the fully searchable interactive chronology to discover facts and world events, explore voyages to China using an interactive map, find out about different merchants and the companies they formed in the Merchant Biographies and view online exhibitions to find out about aspects of the collection. A helpful tour of the collection is available.

China: Culture and Society

China: Culture and Society is a full-text searchable database of the often colorful pamphlets held in the Wason Collection of Cornell University, written mostly in English and published between c. 1750 and 1929. Types of material in the collection include addresses and speeches, annual reports, catalogues, examinations, guides, lecture notes, letters, magazine articles, minutes, etc. Some possible themes to be explored are: the arts, the Chinese diaspora, education, the foreign presence in China, foreign relations and diplomacy, governance, international conflict, language and literature, leisure, missionaries, opium, rebellion and revolution, science and medicine, trade, and travel and exploration.

China: Trade, Politics and Culture

This database is based mainly, but not exclusively, upon the holdings of the Library of the School for Oriental and African Studies and the British Library. It consists of all kinds of English-language textual and visual sources relating to China and the West, with key documents relating to the Chinese Maritime Customs service, letters, diaries, color paintings, maps, drawings, photographs, and fully searchable missionary periodicals such as the Chinese Recorder. Important subjects treated include the Amherst and Macartney embassies, the Opium, Boxer, Russo-Japanese and Sino-Japanese wars, events such as the Taiping Rebellion, and the Rape of Nanking, and the missionary movements.

Chinese Newspapers Collection (1832-1953)

This database, part of the ProQuest Historical Newspapers collection, combines in one search a selection of English-language newspapers and periodicals produced in China. Major titles included are the North China Herald (1850-1941, also available as a separate database) and the Chinese repository (1832-1851), but included are also large runs of the Chinese recorder (1868-1941) and the China weekly review (1923-1950), as well as some short runs of a handful of periodicals of mainly the Republican period: the Canton Times (1919-1920), China Critic (1939-1946), China Monthly Review (1950-1953), China Press (1925-1938), Millard's China National Review (1919-1919), Millard's Review of the Far East (1919-1921), Peking Daily News (1914-1917), Peking Gazette (1915-1917), Peking Leader (1918-1919), Shanghai Gazette (1919-1921), Shanghai Times (1914-1921), and Weekly Review (1922-1923). Ads, social notices etc. are all separately indexed and searchable.

Digital Dictionary of Buddhism

Charles Muller's Digital Dictionary of Buddhism includes in addition to Chinese, Japanese and Korean information, also Indian, Tibetan and other references. The link goes to the wider Resources for East Asian Language and Thought Web page; the restricted digital dictionary is available from that page.

Dissertation Abstracts (ProQuest Dissertations & Theses: Full Text)

Access to citations and abstracts for every title in the Dissertation Abstracts database, including those on East Asia. Dissertations written from 1997 forward are available full text; many earlier ones as well. The database includes citations to dissertations from 1861 to those accepted last semester. Citations for dissertations and master’s theses published from 1980 forward have abstracts.

Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

The online version of the Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics.the 2015 version is an early release version; the complete edition will come out in early 2016.

The Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics offers a systematic and comprehensive overview of the languages of China and the different ways in which they are and have been studied. It provides authoritative treatment of all important aspects of the languages spoken in China, today and in the past, from many different angles, as well as the different linguistic traditions they have been investigated in.


Full-text database of many major national and regional newspapers, including selected full-text and abstracts of many industry and general interest publications, as well as web pages. Includes many publications from East Asia and Asia in general, both in English as in original languages. Specify searching material in Japanese, simplified and traditional Chinese scripts by choosing the appropriate language in "Publications-by language", add by clicking on thr triangle that code to your search, and then search directly in characters. make sure to first set the "Language setting" at the bottom of the page to "All languages" by clicking the X after English, if English is set as the default.

Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports

Translation service of the U.S. Government, usually attributed to the Central Intelligence Agency. It covered political, military, economic, environmental and sociological news and commentary, as well as scientific and technical information between 1941 and 1996 (the earliest years of this range are still to be added at the moment of writing this note). Searchable by region or country. For later years (1995-2013) see World News Connection. There will be no later years made available.

Foreign Office Files for China, 1919-1980

The database "Foreign Office Files for China, 1919-1980" contains complete digitized images of all British Foreign Office files dealing with China, Hong Kong and Taiwan during published during the period 1919-1980. There are six subsections: 1919-1929: Kuomintang, CCP and the Third International; 1930-1937: The Long March, civil war in China and the Manchurian Crisis; 1938-1948: Open Door, Japanese war and the seeds of Communist victory; 1949-1956: The Communist revolution; 1957-1966: The Great Leap Forward; and 1967-1980: The Cultural Revolution.

Grand Ricci Online

Le Grand Ricci is to all purposes the most comprehensive bilingual dictionary of Chinese (into French) in the Western world. It covers three millennia of the Chinese language, from the Classics to the modern age, and is encyclopedic in its scope. The compilers were able to draw on the full range of French sinological expertise in completing the project, and has paid especially attention to specialized terms in a wide variety of fields (religion, medicine etc.) It contains 13,392 main entries (single characters) and 280,000 expressions (or Chinese words composed of a set of characters). Entries can be looked up by Chinese character, by romanization (pinyin), by radical and strokes, and by the total number of strokes.

Harvard Korean Studies Bibliography

This closed database contains references to almost 50,000 articles, over 17,000 books, 4,000 book sections, 7,000 theses, and 4,000 reviews from the late 16th century to 1997, the majority of which are in English; other languages written using the Latin alphabet are also included. The database was published on CD, and can currently only be used on networked computers in campus libraries; on other computers it may be necessary to install special software first. Should be supplemented with the Bibliography of Asian Studies and, for books:

Japan Chronicle Weekly

The English-language Japan Chronicle Weekly (1902–1940) is the newspaper of record for Japan’s engagement with modernity and its emergence, through war, political and social upheaval and seismic social change in East Asia, onto the world stage in the first half of the twentieth century.

Founded and based in Kobe, the well-informed, controversial but always readable Chronicle provides a unique perspective not only on the settler communities in Japan and East Asia but also to the historical development of East Asia as it happened.

The weekly Commercial Supplement is included.

For other views, please also consult the Japan Times

Japan Times Archives

The Japan Times is the only English newspaper database in Japan that daily reported on Japanese people, places, and news from the world since 1897. The Japan Times merged with The Japan Mail in 1918 and purchased The Japan Advertiser and The Japan Chronicle in 1940. The Japan Times Archives database itself covers only the Japan Times, from March 1897 to 2013.

Lexis-Nexis Academic

Comprehensive full text database of many major national and regional newspapers, as well as legal materials, company news and country profiles. Includes English-language newspapers, magazines, news agencies and other databases including some from East Asia (such as the Xinhua General News Service, China Daily , and the South China Morning Post). It is therefore very useful to search for recent people or events often unavailable in printed reference works (e.g., a recent death date).

Currently (2015) does not include East Asian Languages, but has English language material from the region. One can do a search, and then use the geography facet to limit to e.g. East Asia; or one can set a country (no region) limit first, by clicking on “browse” (very top line, after) “source directory,” then select sources, and perform a search by clicking on the “OK, continue” button.

Meiji Japan: The Edward Sylvester Morse Collection from the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum

This English-language multidisciplinary collection contains the diaries, sketches, travel journals, scrapbooks, publications and correspondence of the polymath and collector Edward Sylvester Morse, known for his work in natural history (zoology, evolution, astronomy, methodology), ethnography (material culture, music, games, printing, Ainu, religion) and art history (including archaeology, architecture) bridging Japan and America from the 1880s to the 1920s. It was previously called America, Asia and the Pacific; the current name more accurately reflects the content.

Edward Sylvester Morse (1838-1925) was one of the earliest and most important mediators between American and Asian societies, and one of the first Americans to live in Japan (he became Chair of Zoology at the new Imperial University of Tokyo). In addition to his scientific interests, in 1882 he turned his attention to ethnology and the documentation of life in Japan before it was transformed by Western modernization. An accomplished draughtsman, his pencil and ink drawings, enliven his diaries and correspondence and make his papers a pleasure to read. Morse’s collection of Japanese pottery is still a prized possession of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and his ethnological specimens form the core of the oriental holdings at the Peabody, where he was Director from 1880 to 1916.

NK News (North Korea)

The NK News is an unrivaled independent, specialist database  focused on North Korea. It aims to be a one-stop-shop on North Korea, bringing together news, opinion & analysis, research tools, data, and subject specialists in one convenient place.

In addition to providing primary and secondary data on North Korea that is unavailable anywhere else, it offers research tools specifically tailored for users within government and academia.

Opinion writers include thought leaders such as B.R. Myers, Moon Chung-in, Jim Hoare, and Aidan-Foster Carter; other specialist include Dr. Andrei Lankov, Moon Chung-in, Aidan Foster-Carter, Tatiana Gabroussenko, Curtis Melvin and Jim Hoare.

Specialist journalists at NK News provide 24 hour news coverage on North Korea from locations around the world: Kosuke Takahashi (Tokyo), Subin Kim (Seoul), Chad O’Carroll (London), Rob York (Honolulu), Justin Rohlrich (New York City.

Finally, a wide-range of voices share their views and experiences about North Korea on a weekly basis. through the Ask A North Korean column.

North China Herald

The English North China Herald is the prime English-language source for the history of the foreign presence in China from around 1850 to the 1940s. It was published in Shanghai. As the official journal for British consular notifications, and announcements of the Shanghai Municipal Council, it is the point of reference for a range of foreign and Chinese activities; translations of Chinese official notifications and news were regularly included. This database is fully text-searchable.

Oxford Bibliographies Online: Buddhism

Detailed annotated bibliographical guide to many aspects of Buddhism, by major scholars signing their individual articles. Links to find citations in other databases are provided. New articles are added regularly.

South China Morning Post (1903-1995)

Major English-language newspaper in Hong Kong from the very beginning of the 20th century. Issues after 1995 are available in the regular newspaper databases, such as ProQuest Central, Factiva, LexisNexis, and Wiser’s News. Alternative titles used over the years include South China Morning Post & the Hongkong Telegraph and for the Sunday editions, South China Sunday Post-Herald, South China Sunday Morning Post, and Sunday Post-Herald.

World Newsreels Online

Streaming video of international newsreels produced between 1929 and 1966. All are accompanied by transcripts, with those in foreign languages translated into English. E.g., one of the subjects is the Second Sino-Japanese War, 1937-1945.

Subject Guide

Martin Heijdra