Locating Materials

This page is also available in Korean.

The C.V. Starr East Asian Library has many books, periodicals, microforms, audio-visual materials and electronic databases in Korean.  Please remember that the library staff is available to help you locate the materials you need in this rich and varied collection, and answer your questions.


CLIO (Columbia Libraries Information Online) is the online catalog for the Columbia and Barnard libraries consisting of over 5 million records for the CU libraries’ collections, including Korean records. Since CLIO utilizes both McCune-Reischauer romanization and Korean scripts for bibliographic records, searches can be done in either Korean or with the romanization. However searches using romanization are more reliable for finding materials than searches using Korean script. For a quick introduction to CLIO, use the CLIO Quick Guide flyer or, within CLIO, the online help pages. If you are having trouble with CLIO, ask a librarian or a circulation desk attendant for help.

If you are unable to find materials in CLIO, please search one of the following catalogs using romanized search terms.

  • Borrow Direct
    An interlibrary loan service including Columbia University, Brown University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University. It is designed to allow students, faculty and staff at these institutions to request books directly from each others' collections.
  • OCLC WorldCat
    A union catalog consisting of over 57 million cataloging records and holding information of 17,000 member libraries of the OCLC Consortium around the world, comprising of books, serials, manuscript collections, audiovisual materials, computer files, and other media. These materials can be borrowed through Interlibrary Loan.

Most books in the Korean Collection are located on the 150 and 100 levels of the stacks in the library, where they are shelved along with Chinese, Japanese, and Western-language materials in call number order. Materials pre-dating 1982 as well as all periodicals more than four years old are held off-site. See Off-site Library Shelving Facilities for more information.


The entire collection of Korean periodicals received by Columbia University Libraries is available through CLIO and the status of each periodical can be checked online. Please note that CLIO contains information about periodical titles only and does not contain periodical articles.

The most recent issues are unbound and shelved, in call number order, in the periodicals alcove on the Southside of the reading room. Bound volumes are shelved in the stacks. Due to space limitations, only the most recent year's issues of periodicals are shelved in the Kent stacks while all other issues are stored offsite.

For microforms of periodicals, check the title in CLIO just as you would check for a book title. For journal articles, please use the following databases:

English Journal Articles

  • Bibliography of Asian Studies (BAS)
    Comprehensive bibliographic citations and subject classifications for Western-language journal articles, books, contributed articles in edited volumes and compilations, conference proceedings, etc. on all subjects in Asian Studies. It covers 1971 to the present.  Columbia University Libraries have the printed format from 1936-1991. 
    A full-text database which provides full-text articles from more than 600 scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences including Asian Studies.  Coverage dates from the nineteenth or early twentieth centuries for many journals and continues to 2-5 years prior to the current year.  Users may browse by journal title or discipline or may search the full-text or citations/abstracts.
  • Periodical index online
    An index to the tables of contents of periodical in the arts, humanities, and social sciences including those published in the 18th, 19th and early 20th century. Includes periodicals in English and other Western languages.

Korean Journal Articles

  • KISS (Korean Studies Information Co.)
    A full-text database of Korean scholarly journal articles, university publications and research papers published by over 1,200 research institutions in Korea.  The database covers all subject areas published since 1945.
  • DBpia (Nuri Media)
    A full-text database including over 820 Korean scholarly journals.  The journal titles are arranged by 11 subject categories and all journals are available from the first issue.
  • RISS
    A full-text database providing over 300,000 scholarly journal articles, theses and dissertations.  RISS is a free service with available full-text service, but not for all journal articles and dissertations.

Dissertations & theses

Some Columbia University theses and dissertations on East Asia are located on the 250 level of the stacks in the library and are shelved by call number order.

  • Dissertation Abstracts (ProQuest Digital Dissertations)
    The single, authoritative source for information about doctoral dissertations and master's theses covering dissertations from 1861 to present. The database represents the work of authors from over 1,000 graduate schools and universities, adding about 47,000 new dissertations every year. To prepare digital dissertations and theses, see UMI's Guidelines for Submitting Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
  • National Assembly Library
    Full text of over 200,000 Social Science dissertations and theses from participating universities in digital format.  Full-text service is only available to affiliated institutions and is not yet available at Columbia University.


The Library currently receives a number of Korean newspapers, both in paper and in microfilm. New arrivals are put on racks in the Korean periodicals reading area. Back issues of the newspapers are kept for three to four months on the newspaper shelves in front of the alcove to the right of the stained glass window. Check the locations with a reference librarian or circulation desk attendant.  Microfilm is stored in the cabinets on the 100 level.

  • KINDS (Korean Integrated News Database System)
    A comprehensive online news database that provides full-text articles from national dailies, economic dailies, TV news programs, English language dailies, local dailies, trade newspapers, and news magazines. This database covers articles from 1990 to the present.  Full-text of Tongnip Sinmun and Taehan Maeil Sinmun is also available.

Reference books

Most reference books such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, bibliographies are shelved in the main reading room by call number order. Due to space limitations some of the reference books are located on the 250 level of the stacks.  These are marked “REF OVERFLOW, 250LEVEL” in CLIO.  A small selection is intershelved with the regular collection in the stacks. The latter are marked "Non-Circulating," which means they cannot be taken out of the library.


Several Korean newspapers and journals are also available in microfilm format and can be searched in CLIO. Due to space limitations, all microfilm is stored off-site and can be requested online.

Special Collections

Special collections and rare books stored in the Kress Rare Book and Special Collections Reading Room can be found on CLIO.  These materials can only be accessed in the library under the supervision of library staff, and during specified times. The materials cannot be checked out, but photocopy and photographic services are available for a fee. Please consult a librarian should you wish to have rare or special collections materials copied. 


Videos, DVDs and CDs are stored in the closed stacks and can only be used for study and research purposes.  A/V materials are not yet available through CLIO, but an A/V list is available. Please consult the Korean Studies librarian in order to check out A/V materials.

Electronic information

Windows-based LibraryWeb terminals are available near the reference and circulation desks for using e-resources. These terminals are configured to enable reading and inputting East Asian languages.  E-resources can be accessed online on any machine with a CU IP address. CD-ROMs, however, are non-circulating and must be used in the library.  Please consult the Korean Studies librarian for assistance with CD-ROMs. For more information, please see E-resources

Getting help

Locating materials in the library can be a complicated process. If you are not able to find the materials you need, do not hesitate to ask the Korean Studies librarian, a reference librarian or a circulation desk attendant for help.


Korean Studies Librarian
Ms. Hee-sook Shin
310M Kent Hall
(212) 854-1507