Universiteit Leiden

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Subject guide

Chinese Studies

Overview of databases, reference works and websites for research in Chinese Studies

The collection of the East Asian Library is moved to the new Asian Library on the top of the main University Library. Until spring 2017 there will remain a service desk on the second floor of the Arsenaal Building. For the latest news check the Asian Library Blog.

Asian Library on Social Media

The East Asian Library can be found at the following social media sites:

The Sinology collection includes approximately 300,000 titles and nearly 100 running subscriptions on journals originating from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, the United States and Europe. Our collection can be divided into a Chinese and a Western section.

The library has the largest collection of books, journals and other text material regarding China in the country; actually the library is one of the biggest within Europe. Not only does the Asian Library support the University of Leiden in its pursuit of scholarship, but also serves a social purpose within the Netherlands and the Benelux. To carry out research within the Netherlands, the presence of a large Chinese language library is indispensable and increases the independence of our researchers who otherwise might be forced to be dependent on the People’s Republic of China.

Additionally, the library has access to more than 4,500 Chinese language e-journals and thousands of e-books as well as procuring a limited amount of Japanese editions in the fields of China and Sinology. The Chinese collection grows annually with approx. 4000 titles, especially those originating from the People’s Republic of China itself. This increase is partly due to special projects and gift donations. Despite its apparent large quantity of information, what we have here in the library, is only a small drop in the ocean, compared to the enormous amount of literature China produces every year.

The collection of Western literature includes 35,000 titles, a few hundred of non-current journals, and more than 100 running subscriptions on printed journals and newspapers. We have the most diverse Western language collection regarding China within Europe, which is mostly due to the history of the collection (which has been accumulating for over a century), but also due to the fact that literature in the English, French and German languages are also kept up. When relevant publications appear in Dutch, these are also acquired.

Rare and special collections of Chinese books formerly stored in the Van Gulik Room, named after the Dutch diplomat scholar Robert van Gulik as it contains a large part of his personal collection of rare books, have been moved to the main University Library. They are part of the Asian Library and are accessible in the Special Collections Reading Room. The oldest printed books in our library date back to the early 15th century.

Chinese Academic Journals (CAJ)

China Academic Journals is a vast collection of Chinese electronic journals. Our license covers four major subjects, resulting in access to over 4,000 journals:

Access is from inside the library for one concurrent user. Need more help using this resource? Contact us at the library or read the User Guide CAJ.

Bibliography of Asian Studies (BAS)

The Bibliography of Asian Studies, is a large database with thousands of articles on various subjects on East Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia. It is a great starting point for collecting materials when doing research or writing a paper.

The great thing is you can read the article fulltext immediately from your screen - provided Leiden University has access. Find out if we do by clicking GetIt@Leiden which appears just below the article description - it will take you to a screen where you can click the links. Search BAS by typing in search words in the simple home search screen, but if you want to view a selection of articles, it is more convenient to browse BAS by subject and then choose for which country.

Search results can be refined (source type, subject, language, etc.) and ranked (date, author, relevance and source). Please note the advanced search screen is rather good to use, here you can for example restrict by year, plus many more options.

There are some Help pages available on how to perform better searches and how to download references to a reference manager like EndNote or Zotero.

Chinese Reference Books (Apabi)

The Asian Library has access to 168 reference ebooks through the Chinese ebook portal Apabi. This is a collection of dictionaries and encyclopedias on various subjects, i.e. Chinese literature, films, Chinese who's who, Buddhism, ancient texts, Tibet, Chinese vegetables... and many more useful and interesting ebooks.

All encyclopedias, dictionaries and other reference works are scanned from cover to cover and fully searchable in fulltext. Go to the East Asian Library blog for a quick list of all available titles: Apabi reference ebooks.

Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin

The East Asia department of Berlin was founded in 1922 as a seperate department of their State Library. Western as well as Asian books are part of their collection.

The East-Asia collection of the Staatsbibliotheek zu Berlin has a history going back to the 17th century. Unfortunately,  a bigger part of the old collection, books published before Word War II, were taken away after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Parts of the collection can be found in Krakow, Poland and the Russian State Library in Moscow.

Because of this, a bigger part of the current collection consists of books acquired after 1950. However, with the generous support of the German Research Council, the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin managed to become the biggest East Asian library in Europe by the number of books.

HOLLIS (Harvard University Libraries)

The HOLLIS Catalogs of the Harvard University Libraries are databases containing over 11 million records for more than 15 million books, journals, manuscripts, government documents, maps, microforms, music scores, sound recordings, visual materials, and data files. The databases are updated continually as material is ordered, received, and cataloged.

The HOLLIS Catalogs contain entries for many, but not all, materials in formats other than books and journals (e.g., manuscripts, maps, visual media, microforms and government documents) owned by Harvard University libraries.

Within Leiden

Chime - European Foundation of Chinese Music Research
CHIME is a foundation for the promotion of Chinese music research. Unfortunately their books, magazines and sound files have not been catalogued on-line yet. If you want to browse through their collections you will have to go to Gerecht 1 in Leiden.

Museum Volkenkunde
For art and material culture you can always check the collections of the Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden. Their library data has been incorporated in the NCC (Nederlandse Centrale Catalogus). The museum also has an picture database with 200.000 collections objects. All objects contain a picture and a basic description. You can search the system within certain categories such as the kind of object, geographical place of origin and cultural boundaries, but you can, of course, also use your own search terms.

Outside Leiden

Internationale Institute of Sociale History (IISH)
In Amsterdam we further have the International Institue of Social Siences (IISH). Besides a collection on China in the 20th century it houses the  "Henk Sneevliet Archive", a collection about early history of the Chiense Communist Party, and a unique collection of the democratic movement in the spring of 1989. The institute is also host of Stefan Landsberger s collection of the Chinese Propaganda Posters. Also see the online exhibition.

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
The Rijksmuseum holds the largest art history collection in the Netherlands, housed in the monumental museum created by Cuypers. Books, periodicals, auction catalogues, annual reports relating to the collection of the Rijksmuseum are collected here. Books and periodicals cannot be borrowed, but they can be read in the reading rooms. Their data has been stored in the Library Catalogue Rijksmuseum Research Library.

The Haagse Gemeentemuseum and the Princessehof in Leeuwarden are both important because of their vast collection of porcelain and earthenware.

Theses with subjects in the field of Chinese, Japanese and Korean Studies can be found in the database of the Theses Search Engine. One can query all fields by entering a single search term in the search field. Filters can be applied by selecting certain options. To have the database return all theses, leave the search field empty. Click on the x-mark to reset the search form.

The Taiwan Resource Centre for Chinese Studies (TRCCS) is a collaborative project between Taiwan's National Central Library and the UBL. The TRCCS holds an initial donation of a selection of books and DVD's on art, society, literature and film, published in Taiwan. The collection will grow annually by donations of the NCL.

In addition, the TRCCS offers a range of databases for Taiwan and Chinese studies, such as PeriPath Index and Taiwan Periodical Literature System.

The NCL began in 2012 to establish Centers overseas in order to broaden and deepen cultural exchanges between the Chinese and the Western worlds. Other Centers of the NCL are, among others, the School of Oriental and African Studies (London), the University of Texas at Austin, Leipzig University and the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The entire TRCCS collection is available through the Catalogue.