Basic Research Guide


This research guide identifies some of the major databases, printed works, and library services that support research in East Asian Studies at Columbia University. For more detailed information about relevant print and electronic resources, please consult the online catalog, part of CLIO, Columbia Libraries' search service. For information about Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Tibetan Studies in the original languages, please consult the Starr East Asian Library website. Keep in mind that this guide is meant only as a starting point, and the resources listed are by no means exhaustive, but rather only a minute selection from all the resources available to Columbia affiliates.


Getting Started

When embarking on a brandnew research topic, it is often helpful to begin your research by reading a basic overview of the subject. Encyclopedias provide such basic overviews; they help you familiarize yourself with relevant vocabulary, and often provide helpful suggestions for further reading as well.

  • Encyclopedia of modern Asia. (6 vols.) Location: East Asian Ref. DS4 .L48 2002
  • Brill's encyclopedia of China. Location: East Asian Ref. DS755 .B86 2009
  • Berkshire encyclopedia of China. Location: East Asian Ref. DS735 .A2 B47 2009
  • Kodansha encyclopedia of Japan. (9 vols. with Suppl.) Location: East Asian Ref.: DS805 .K633 1983
  • Japan: an illustrated encyclopedia. (2 vols.) Location: East Asian Ref.: DS805 .J263 1993
  • Encyclopedia of Japan (Based on the 2 vol. encyclopedia above). Available via the Japan Knowledge Plus database  (click Enter, then locate the Encyclopedia in the right-hand sidebar).
  • An encyclopedia of Korean culture. Location: East Asian Ref. DS904 .H2525 2004g
  • Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol empire. Location: East Asian Ref. DS798.4 .A88 2004
  • Encyclopaedia of Tibet. Location: East Asian Ref. DS785 .E53 1996g
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica.  A general encyclopedia, with many listings on Asia-related subjects.
  • Wikipedia.  Use with caution. Not all entries are reliable.

Finding Books

Start with:

  • The library catalog, part of CLIO, Columbia's library search service,f provides bibliographic information for books, journals, and other materials in Columbia University's library collections, including selective listings from the Law Library, but excepting those of the Teachers College Library. Law and TC each have their own catalog, called Pegasus and Educat respectively.

Then try:

  • Borrow Direct  Borrow Direct enables Columbia University students, faculty, and staff with library borrowing privileges and active e-mail accounts to request material from Brown University, the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University. Note that, except for CRL materials, this service focuses on books only. For other materials, please use Interlibrary Loan (ILL).
  • WorldCat  The largest online public access catalog in the world, with bibliographic records from more than 10,000 institutions worldwide. Many of the materials listed in this catalog are available through Interlibrary Loan. Unlike Borrow Direct, ILL offers access to journal articles, as well as to books and other formats.

Also check out:

  • Proquest Digital Dissertations  Access to almost all American dissertations accepted at an accredited institution since 1861. Abstracts are included for doctoral dissertation records from July 1980 to the present. In addition, the full text of dissertations published since 1997 (and some from earlier dates) is available.

Finding Articles

Start with:

  • Bibliography of Asian Studies (BAS)  The single most important bibliographic database for all Asian Studies. This is a citation service only, and does not contain full-text. To find the full text use the citation information to locate the source publications in the library catalog in CLIO. BAS covers the years 1970-present. For earlier coverage in print format only, see:
  • Cumulative bibliography of Asian Studies: Author bibliography.  Coverage:1941/1965-1966/1970 Location: East Asian Ref. Z3001 .C93
  • Cumulative bibliography of Asian Studies: Subject bibliography.  Coverage:1941/1965-1966/1970 Location: East Asian Ref. Z3001 .C94

Then try:

For a more subject-specific approach, try Key Resources for East Asian Studies

E-journal collections:

The following two collections include many journals relevant to East Asian Studies:

  • JSTOR  Provides full-text content from core scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences, including many East Asian studies titles. Coverage is from the earliest issues of a journal to within approximately 5 years of current pubication.
  • Project Muse  Full-text content of a large selection of scholarly journals, many relevant to East Asian studies, with particularly strong coverage of articles and reviews published after 2000.