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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.

Chinese Search Tips

  1. Search the Library Catalog and WorldCat using Chinese characters 汉字.
  2. Or, you can search both in romanized Chinese - Pinyin.
    • Except for proper nouns, there is a space between the romanized form of every character.
    • Omitting spaces can affect your search results! For example, the title of Liu Dajie's book on the development of the history of Chinese literature is romanized as Zhongguo wen xue fa zhan shi, so a keyword search on "wenxue" spelled without a space will not retrieve any results.

Premodern Chinese Materials

  • Grand Secretariat ArchivesThis database from Academia Sinica contains more than 300,000 documents from the Ming dynasty to the late Qing dynasty.
  • Scripta Sinica: Also from Academia Sinica, this is one of the largest full-text databases for the study of premodern China, including about 500 multivolume histories, such as Ming Shi Lu, Qing Shi Lu, etc.
  • 文淵閣四庫全書電子

Note: This program will only work in Microsoft Windows!

The Siku Quanshu (Wenyuange Edition), compiled in 1773-1782 by edict from Emperor Qianlong, contains 3,460 works on topics including history, politics, economics, and more.

Because of the large number of variant character forms, in order to use the database, you must first install the client program.  You can download the client program to use Siku Quanshu here. You can also download the installation guide, in English, 简体中文, or 繁體中文.  There is also a Chinese-language Siku Quanshu user manual available in traditional characters.

If you are using this off-campus, you will need to configure your Internet Explorer web browser manually to use the New York University proxy server.  Instructions to configure the NYU proxy server.

Once you have installed the program, and have configured your browser (if appropriate), run it from the Windows Start menu, and select "IP address" to connect to the database.


Online Journals

  • China Academic Journals and China Online Journals: Contain the full text of articles in Chinese (and some in English) from thousands of Chinese humanities and social science journals. Through China Academic Journals you can also search for dissertations from many Chinese universities; for additional dissertations go to Dissertations of China
  • Frontiers of Literary Studies in China We have online access to this important journal through several different databases. 2007- present
  • Journals and books digitized by the National Library of China: This collection includes 8,000 books, 8,000 legal documents, and 4,000 periodicals published during the Republican period (1912-1949).
  • LingLong : The women's magazine published in Shanghai between 1931 and 1937, digitized by Columbia University's Starr East Asian Library.
  • Shen bao online The Shen Bao Digital Archive presents the complete collection of all issues, from the newspaper’s founding in 1872 to 1949 and is an invaluable research tool. This was the first newspaper in China with a Chinese editorial staff. Containing more than 2 million articles, the database is 100% full-text searchable and contains the full-image of each page.

Print Journals

Historical Journals

 A Compilation of the Companion Pictorial 良友合订本 (1926-1945) is a twenty-volume reprint of this important Republican Era journal. It is located in the oversize section of the East Asian Collection on the west side of the 10th floor reading room.  

Zhongguo jin xian dai nü xing qi kan hui bian (中國近現代女性期刊匯編), a large set of books consisting of women's periodicals from the early 20th century, can be found on the 10th floor in the East Asian Collection. To see all the journal titles in this compilation, search BobCat; or search for an individual title, such as Zhongguo fu nü (中國婦女).

Contemporary Journals

NYU subscribes to the following journals in Chinese. Several are available electronically. Current issues are in the Current Periodical room on the 3rd floor of Bobst; bound back issues are found in the stacks of Bobst.

  • Shou huo 收穫
  • Dang dai (online) 当代
  • Shi yue (PressReader) 十月
  • Hua cheng (online) 花城
  • Shanghai wen xue 上海文学
  • Tian ya (online) 天涯
  • Zhongguo shi yan jiu (online) 中国史研究


The People's Daily (Renmin ribao) covers from 1946 to the present. To enter the database find "Please click here to enter."

The 60-volume reprint of the Nanjing edition of 中央日报 Zhong yang ri bao (1928-1949) is in the oversize section of the Bobst East Asian Studies collection.

PressDisplay has the current issue of the following newspapers in Chinese:

  • 联合早报 Lianhe Zaobao, (most recent week)

And in English:

  • China Daily (most recent 3 months)
  • China Economist (current issue)
  • Shanghai Daily (most recent 3 months)
  • South China Morning Post is available in print on 4F or online (1903-1941 and 1992-present).

Read a selection of Chinese newspapers at ABBAO.