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East Asian Studies

This guide provides access to key resources for East Asian Studies at NYU and elsewhere.

Subscription Databases on premodern China at NYU

On this page, you will find information about library databases that are related to Premodern China.

Siku Quanshu

The Siku Quanshu (Si ku quan shu, 四庫全書) (Wenyuange Edition), compiled in 1773-1782 by edict from Emperor Qianlong. Siku Quanshu is a collection of 3,461 works of Chinese history, literature, philosophy, politics, economics, and science. The collection was compiled by 361 scholars working from 1773 to 1782, who selected, edited and annotated each work. Its title translates to Complete Library in Four Branches of Literature. 

The 6 computers designated for using Siku Quanshu are now located on lower level 1 (LL1) of Bobst Library (open 24 hours).

  • PC01
  • PC02
  • PC03
  • PC04
  • PC05
  • PC06

Instructions for accessing the database:

  • Once you open the Siku Quanshu icon, Database icon. click on Login through authorized IP address (no ID required).
  • If you are using this off-campus, or on your own laptop on campus, you will need to configure your Microsoft Edge web browser to use the New York University proxy server.  Because of the large number of variant character forms, in order to use the database, you must first install the client program.  Download the client.  You can also download the installation guide, in English简体中文,or 繁體中文.  There is also a Chinese-language user manual available in traditional characters.
  • Once you have installed the program, and have configured your browser, run it from the Windows Start menu, and select "IP address" to connect to the database.

Try the World Digital Library Collection of Siku Quanshu: Siku quanshu (Complete library in four sections)  Five volumes digitized from the National Library of China.

Try the Chinese Text Project scanned version.

A Digital Introduction to the Chinese Buddhist Canon, blog post by Matthew Hayes, 2020


Academia Sinica

  • Grand Secretariat Archives: This 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 pre-modern China, including about 500 multi-volume histories, such as Ming Shi Lu, Qing Shi Lu, etc.
  • Digital Archive of Oracle Bones Rubbing Database / 數位典藏: Institute of History and Philology, Academica Sinica. Collection contains two categories: rubbings of archaeologically excavated animal bones and tortoise shells, and rubbings of bones and shells from purchased collections.

Contact the East Asian Studies librarian for logon instructions and/or a user guide.

Oracle Bones

CHinese ANcient Texts or CHANT

CHinese ANcient Texts (CHANT,  漢達文庫) databases include six browseable and searchable databases of traditional ancient Chinese texts from the Pre-Han (pre 220 AD) up to the Six Dynasties (581 AD).

The database includes:

  1. pre-220 AD (the Pre-Han and Han period) traditional texts;
  2. 220-581 AD (the Weijin period) traditional texts;
  3. excavated texts on wood/bamboo strips and silk (Jianbo);
  4. excavated oracular inscriptions on tortoise shells and bones (Jiaguwen);
  5. traditional as well as excavated bronze inscriptions (Jinwen).

For information in English about CHANT, see "CHANT (CHinese ANcient Texts): a comprehensive database of all ancient Chinese texts up to 600 AD"

Ch'ing Palace Memorials and Archives of the Grand Council

Database of Ch'ing Palace Memorials and Archives of the Grand Council / 清代宮中檔奏摺及軍機處檔摺件全文影像資料庫

This resource provides metadata searching and full image reproduction of Qing dynasty archival materials held at the National Palace Museum in Taiwan. Searchable fields includes the document number, document date, author, official position, topic, keyword, date of response, and response. For NYU affiliates, please contact the East Asian Studies librarian to obtain the Group, ID, and PW in order to logon.

Erudition, Airusheng / The Database of Chinese Local Records

The Database of Chinese Local Records (Zhongguo fangzhi ku, 中國基本古籍庫Erudition / Airusheng 
Chinese Local Records: The Fang zhi ku is an e-book collection and a searchable database of Chinese local gazetteers.  The collection has 2,000 titles of rare and special edition local gazetteers printed in China from ancient times up to 1949. Once you've reached the Erudition login page, select "愛如生古籍數據庫" and click "Login."  There's no need to enter a username or password. After selecting "中國方志庫" from the next page, use the "合集" link to access our subscription. 

Chinese Classic Ancient Books: This database currently includes 10,000 titles in 12,500 editions from the pre-Qin period through the Republican period. All texts are provided in full text and image format.

Poetry collections

Citing Sources in Chinese