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Primary Source Materials in China

Researching special collections and archives in or about China? This site will describe both physical and digital repositories.

Map to Libraries and Archives in China

List of East Asian Collections/Libraries in North America, Europe and Japan

East Asia Library entryway

East Asian Library in Davidson Library in UCSB, CA United States

The Council on East Asian Libraries, known as CEAL, the organization for East Asian Libraries in North America, created a list of East Asian libraries and collections in North America on their site.

Generally, you may gain access to their collections by visiting the specific library's site. Be sure to check their catalogs before you make any visit or contact to see if they have what you need.


Bodleian Library interior, shelves, windows, and coffered ceiling

Bodleain Library, Oxford, United Kingdom

For a list of Chinese libraries and collections in Europe, check out the European Association for Sinologicla Librarians's page. 

Generally, you may gain access to their collections by visiting the specific library's site. Be sure to check their catalogs before you make any visit or contact to see if they have what you need. 




Front Entrance and Exterior of City Library, Sakura, Chiba, Japan

City Library, Sakura, Chiba, Japan

There are also Chinese-related source materials available in Japan. To find out what they are, you may want to see the North American Coordinating Council of Japanese Resources' Online Guide to Research Access in Japanese Museum's Libraries and Archives (MLAs). The guide provides with you information about research institutions in Japan, access policies and contact information. 

Archival Sources Beyond NYU

Consult the Archives Beyond Bobst research guide for additional information.

N.B.  All repositories have collections that have not yet been arranged and described.  Unprocessed collections will not turn up in searches of these databases and may not appear in a library's own catalog.  Contact repositories directly to inquire about the availability of unprocessed archival collections.

The main tools for identifying processed archival collections beyond NYU include WorldCatArchiveGrid, and National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC) which are described below.  Researchers are encouraged to search all three, even though there will likely be some overlap in search results, to ensure that they have not overlooked relevant collections.

Archive Grid - Database with collection level descriptions of archival holdings and search capability within finding aids contributed by thousands of libraries, museums, and archives.

National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC) - A gateway for searching OCLC WorldCat (Manuscript materials) provided by the Library of Congress.  Contains nearly 1.5 million catalog records describing archival and manuscript collections and individual manuscripts in public, college and university, and special libraries located throughout North America and around the world.

WorldCat - Contains records for more than 1 billion items in more than 10,000 libraries worldwide.  Use the advanced search feature to limit results to archival materials.

UK National Archives Global Search - Catalogue containing 10 million descriptions of documents from central government, courts of law and other UK national bodies, such as England and Wales.

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Map of Libraries in Shanghai

East China Normal University Libraries:

Students and faculty at NYUSH have full access to print and digital collections, library services, and other resources at the ECNU Library. Remote access is not permitted.  To translate ECNU Library's webpage, use the Google Translate button in right of the URL bar.

Shanghai Public Library:

The Shanghai Public Library is a major research library and holds resources in many languages, including English.  Please see the Shanghai Public Library's multilingual Reader's Guide for information about their extensive collection.  Access is available to all foreigners who hold a Shanghai residence permit. Obtaining a Shanghai Public Library card. 

Fudan University Library:

Students and faculty at NYUSH may access Fudan University Libraries as a "non-University User" for temporary access. You will also need a formal letter from your department to access FUL's collection. 

Shanghai Municipal Archives, Bund Location  (上海市档案馆外滩新馆)

Shanghai Library Modern Documents Reading Room (近代文献阅览室)

Collections across China: