Digital Resources for Chinese Studies

3. Full-Text Databases.

The following sites provide full text, and in some cases, full image, of Chinese texts, including classical works, pre-twentieth century publications, conference proceedings, dissertations, and law/policy documents. "Historical" texts are pre-1949 publications; "contemporary" texts are post-1949. Full-text databases for journals and newspapers are included under those sections.

While some of these databases are open to the world, many require a Harvard ID and PIN. Some are accessible only in the Harvard-Yenching Library or require an individual logon and password. See individual databases for access information.

Historical texts

CADAL : China-US Million Book Digital Library Project (English interface)
CADAL : 高等学校中英文图书数字化国际合作计划 (Chinese interface) Full View/Short View

Extensive digital library of books from 16 academic libraries in China, hosted at Zhejiang University Library 浙江大学图书馆. Works out of copyright are open to the public. Installation of the DjVu Browser is necessary to view the texts; the plugin may be downloaded for free from the CADAL site or from LizardTech. Texts are typically not searchable, although this is a long-term goal. Includes the Xu xiu Si ku quan shu 續修四庫全書. Part of the Million Book Project led by Carnegie Mellon University in the United States, Zhejiang University in China, the Indian Institute of Science in India, and the Library at Alexandria in Egypt. See also the project portal at The Universal Digital Library : Million Book Collection.

Guo xue bao dian 國學寶典 Full View/Short View

A collection of several thousand searchable Chinese texts, including classics, works of history, geography, and medicine, collected writings, novels, poetry, and drama.

Searching: Texts may be searched and search results displayed in both simplified 简体字 and traditional characters 繁體字. Search results provide snippets of text; the relevant chapter 卷 may be viewed by clicking on the title 標題 link. Advanced search 高级检索 allows one to limit searches to a particular text or texts or to search within poetry only.

Browsing: A table of contents organized by category is available on the left-hand menu and texts may be browsed from here. The list of titles indicates whether the text was digitized from a modern punctuated edition (通行本) or from an earlier version (e.g. 金阊童涌泉刊本). Texts must be navigated via the table of contents (you cannot click from chapter to chapter directly). Works browsed via the table of contents may only be available in simplified characters.

Reference Tools: A character dictionary 國學字典, name dictionary 人名詞典 giving brief biographies of writers and scholars, and a title dictionary 書名詞典 with short abstracts of the works derived from the 四库总目提要 and other sources are provided.

Note: The database is currently undergoing some changes and not all functions are available. For example, links from search results to edition information and abstracts 版本 提要 are not working. Advanced search 高级检索links from the home page work, but clicking on it from within search results moves you out of the Harvard subscription and you will be asked for a logon and password. Chapter text may not be available from the search screen. The company is aware of these issues and is trying to resolve them.

Hanji dianzi wenxian 漢籍電子文獻 (Harvard ID / PIN required) Full View/Short View

This site, maintained by the Academia Sinica in Taiwan, consists of a large collection of searchable, full-text databases covering the breadth of Chinese history and culture. Texts may be searched or browsed, and both texts and search results can be saved or copied and pasted into word-processing programs. Direct printing is possible now from the Han ji quan wen zi liao ku 漢籍全文資料庫; texts marked with a 圖 also provide a pdf image file of the original text. Windows OS required.

Access: Most of the databases may be accessed freely. The Han ji quan wen zi liao ku 漢籍全文資料庫, which is now the only point of entry for the Qing shi lu 清實錄, may be accessed by Harvard faculty, students, and staff with HUID and PIN.
Note: The Ming shi lu 明實錄 is available in the Han ji quan wen zi liao ku 漢籍全文資料庫 under the "Histories" 史書 section.

Texts and Editions: Many of the databases provide information about the texts included and the editions used only in the lists of links or in the front matter to the electronic texts. It is necessary to click through the database levels or the texts themselves to find the information. For the Han ji quan wen zi liao ku 漢籍全文資料庫, however, you may keyword search for a particular work by title 書名.

Intranet Siku quanshu 文淵閣四庫全書內聯網版 (Harvard ID/PIN required) Full View/Short View

Searchable online full-text database of the Wenyuange edition of the 18th-century compilation. Texts may be searched in a variety of ways or browsed. They may also be copied and pasted into word-processing programs or printed.

Technical requirements: For more information about required fonts, system needs, and a list of texts not included in the database, please see the help page at Windows OS and Internet Explorer required. Mozilla Firefox does NOT work. Please do not use Firefox because you will not be able to enter the database after clicking on 登入, but you will use up one of the simultaneous user positions with no way to log out.

Please note: Special logons and passwords are no longer necessary for this resource. It is now accessible through E-Research@Harvard Libraries and HOLLIS using your Harvard ID and PIN. Virtual Private Networking (VPN) software will not be needed for access from outside the campus network. Bookmarking and notes will not be saved from session to session because individual logons are no longer used.

Sibu Congkan 四部叢刊光盤版 (Access in Harvard-Yenching Library only) Full View/Short View

Searchable, browsable full text database with original text image.  Based on Shanghai Hanfen Lou (涵芬樓)  edition kept in the Peking University Rare Books Collection.  A major historical compilation of 504 works dating from Song dynasty to Qing dynasty. 

Note :   In Library use only.   Currently only accessible through public machine yenching1 through yenching7.   No need for special logons or passwords.  To access, click Start / Programs / SBCK, leave password blank and click <確定>.  

CHANT 漢達文庫 (CHinese ANcient Texts)(Harvard ID / PIN required) Full View/Short View

Produced by the Research Centre for Chinese Ancient Texts 中國古籍研究中心 of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, CHANT provides searchable full text and some image files for a wide range of early Chinese materials. Databases: 甲骨文 (oracle bones); 金文 (bronze inscriptions); 竹簡帛書 I and II (wood, bamboo, and silk texts); 先秦兩漢 (extant Han and pre-Han texts); and 魏晉南北朝 (Wei, Jin, and Six Dynasties texts).

Technical Requirements: Windows OS and Internet Explorer 6.0 are preferred. Traditional Chinese character input method editor is required for searching. Font installation is required for proper display. Font downloads are available from the site. Different databases require different fonts. The download page lists the required fonts by database. These fonts are available on public terminals in the Harvard libraries

Qing Palace and Grand Council Archives database 清代宮中檔奏摺及軍機處檔摺件全文影像資料庫
(National Palace Museum) ( Log on / password required - more information under Access) Full View/Short View

Provides metadata searching and full image reproductions of Qing dynasty archival materials held at the National Palace Museum in Taiwan. Searchable fields include the document number 文獻編號, document date 具奏日期, author 具奏人, official position 官職, topic 事由, keyword 關鍵詞, date of response 硃批日期, and response 硃批. Content from the Qianlong 乾隆 reign is still being entered.

Usage limits: Unlimited searching. Viewing of document images is restricted to 100,000 pages and printing to 20,000 pages per year.

Technical requirements:Compatible with both Internet Explorer and Firefox. To view documents, you must install a special TIF viewer. You may download this after logging in. The viewer is available at the bottom of the search screen:

初次使用請安裝 tifsetup.exe影像觀看程式(BIG5 Version)
初次使用請安裝 tifsetupgb.exe影像觀看程式(GB Version)

Display issues with TIF viewer: The function buttons in the viewer may display as question marks rather than with characters. You can fix this by mapping non-Unicode settings to traditional or simplified Chinese, depending on whether you installed the Big5 or GB version. Windows XP usually seems to display them correctly. Please note that even if the function buttons display as questions marks, they should still work.

At Harvard-Yenching Library, the viewer is installed on the public terminals in the circulation area and on the Chinese Research Workstation. If the function buttons do not display correctly, you can also request a handout from the reference desk showing the buttons with characters.

Error messages: Please note that when you try to open the image files (documents), you may get two error messages. Click OK for each of them, and you will be able to open the document.

Access: Requires a logon and password; please contact Harvard-Yenching Library reference staff or circulation desk for logon information. For off-campus access, please install Virtual Private Networking (VPN) software and connect to that before accessing this database. FAS affiliates may download VPN Client - InstallShield Installer for free on the FAS Computer Services Software Downloads page. Affiliates of other faculties (e.g. Law, Divinity, Medicine) should consult their computing services departments for information on VPN access.

Song hui yao 宋會要 (Harvard ID / PIN required) Full View/Short View

Searchable, browsable full text of the Song hui yao 宋會要, a major historical compilation dating from the Song dynasty of China (960 - 1278 CE). It contains materials from the Daily Records and the Veritable Records, as well as documents of the Six Ministries and the Circuit Intendants. The database was produced by the Academia Sinica Computing Centre in Taiwan and the Harvard-Yenching Institute. The site structure and functionality is identical to that of the other Academia Sinica databases (漢籍電子文獻), although some function buttons do not display properly.

Gu jin tu shu ji cheng 古今圖書集成 (Harvard ID / PIN required) Full View/Short View

Searchable and browsable full text of the punctuated 1934 Zhonghua shu ju 中華書局 edition of Chen Menglei 陳夢雷's 1726 compendium of classic Chinese texts.

Fu Ssu-nian Library Rare Books Database 傅斯年圖書館善本資料庫
(Access in Harvard-Yenching Library only) Full View/Short View

Provides keyword searching and, in some cases, image files of texts held by Fu Ssu-nian Library in Taiwan. These include many works of popular literature from the Library's 俗文學 collections. It is not possible to print documents, but small numbers of reproductions may be ordered directly from the Institute for a fee. While access to the above database is limited, the collection may be searched without full text viewing through the library catalog. Please also see the entry in section 10.

Note: In-library use only. Please see reference or circulation staff to log on. Function buttons in the full text section of the database do not display correctly. A handout may be obtained from the reference desk.

Grand Secretariat archives 內閣大庫檔案
(Access in Harvard-Yenching Library only) Full View/Short View

Allows keyword (responsible official, title, matter, document number) searching and full text images of over 300,000 documents from the Qing dynasty Grand Secretariat archives held in Taiwan by the Institute of History and Philology. It is not possible to print documents, but small numbers of reproductions may be ordered from the Institute for a fee.

Note: In-library use only. Please see reference or circulation staff to log on.

Chinese Pamphlets 連環畫 : Political communication and mass education in the
early period of the People's Republic of China
Full View/Short View

Mass education materials published in Hong Kong and in mainland China, particularly Shanghai, between 1947 and 1954 by Nationalist and Communist supporters. Includes cartoon books, pamphlets, postcards and magazines on a wide range of topics. English translation provided for some items. Digitized by e-collections at the Center for Research Libraries.

Fu Ssu-nien Library - Harvard Yenching Library Chinese rare book digitization project Full View/Short View

As part of a larger cooperative project sponsered by Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation with the Fu Ssu-nien Library, the Asian Division of the Library of Congress, and Princeton University's East Asian Library and Gest Collection, 273 unique or rare Chinese works held by the Harvard-Yenching Library are being digitized as image files. Links to these titles will become available in HOLLIS as they are digitized. The link above searches HOLLIS for titles currently available; results will grow as the project continues.

Harvard-Yenching Library Chinese Rubbings Digitization Project Full View/Short View

Ongoing project to catalogue and create full-image reproductions of over a thousand rubbings held by the Harvard-Yenching Library. Detailed information is available for each rubbing in the VIA catalogue, and links to the image files will appear over time in HOLLIS and VIA. Click on the link above to search HOLLIS for materials currently available.

Harvard-Yenching Library Chinese Republican Period (1911-1949) Collection
Full View/Short View

Image files of  372 Chinese publications from the Republican periods, most of them are the government reports.  Click on the link above to search HOLLIS for the list of items.

Harvard-Yenching Library Bao Juan 寶卷 Collection Full View/Short View

86 titles of Bao Juan寶卷in Harvard-Yenching library rare collections are being digitized.  Among them, 74 titles are from the Hanan collection, 7 titles are in Ming dynasty.  Click on the link above to search HOLLIS for the list of items.

National Library of China - Harvard Yenching Library Chinese Rare Book Digitization Project 哈佛燕京图书馆善本特藏
-- (Harvard-Yenching Library site)
-- (National Library of China site) Full View/Short View

Online digital archive of the entire collection of the Chinese rare books in the Harvard-Yenching Library. This includes 4,200 titles in 52,000 volumes in the Classics Section, the History Section, the Philosophy Section, the Belles Lettres Section, the Collected Works Section, the Local Histories Section, and all of the materials in the Qi Rushan Collection on Chinese drama.

Ming-Qing Women's Writings 明清妇女著作 Full View/Short View

Online digital archive of writings by women from the Ming-Qing period held by the Harvard-Yenching Library. Besides scanned images of 90 texts, the database also allows browsing and searching by a number of features besides title and author, such as poetic form, marital status, tune pattern, and native region. Terms may be entered in pinyin or traditional characters.

Naxi 纳西 Manuscript Collection Full View/Short View

(For Harvard-Yenching Library numbers to the new nembers cross reference table)
(For Rock's accession numbers to the new numbers cross reference table)
The Harvard-Yenching Library holds about 600 Naxi 纳西(Nakhi) ritual texts and funeral scrolls, as well as a number of photographs of other such texts. These were collected in China, particularly Lijiang 丽江 in Yunnan province, from the 1920s through the 1940s by Joseph Rock and Quentin Roosevelt. Naxi religious specialists, known as dtombas, helped Rock translate the texts, which are written in the pictographic Dongba script东巴文. The library is currently in the process of digitizing the texts and preparing a new catalogue. An earlier catalogue, An Annotated Catalog of Naxi Pictographic Manuscripts in the Harvard-Yenching Library 哈佛大學哈佛燕京圖書館藏中國納西族象形文經典分類目錄, was published in 1997. The Library of Congress has also digitized many of its Naxi texts.

Qing and Republican Documents Collection, Kyoto University
京都大学法学部所蔵 中国清代民国公私文書コレクション
Full View/Short View

Image files of almost 300 items from the Qing and Republican periods, including contracts dealing with pledge-leasing, rental, property rights, tax, and other private and official documents. A list of items is provided for browsing.

Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: An Open Access Resource Full View/Short View

Provides English translations of references in the Ming dynastic annals (明實錄) to areas in Southeast Asia and polities associated with this region which are now part of the People's Republic of China. The collection can be browsed chronologically by Western date or Chinese reign date. Indexes of places and personal names are provided, with links to relevant entries. The text may also be searched for specific terms.

University of Virginia Chinese Text Initiative 維吉利亞大學圖書館中華文學集錦 Full View/Short View

Allows browsing and searching of a number of classic texts, such as 唐詩三百首, 古謠諺, 詩經, 紅樓夢, and 魚玄機詩集. English translations provided. Not all texts are complete, as the site is still in development.

Digital Archive of Toyo Bunko Rare Books for description click here.


Return to top

Contemporary texts and Resource Gateways

CNKI 中国知网 Full View/Short View

Integrated gateway to databases from CNKI. All available databases may be cross-searched for citation and abstract information, but full text is available only for those resources or resource subsets to which Harvard subscribes. Click on a database name to search only the subscribed sections of that database. From cross-search mode, availability of full text is indicated by a blue disk icon; a gray icon means the article is not part of the subscription. Resources may be browsed in a variety of ways from the left-hand menu. "Related articles", RSS feeds, and an English-Chinese dictionary are among the features offered. Full text subscriptions include PRC journals and newspapers; citation/abstract searching for conference papers and dissertations.

China Proceedings of Conference Full-text Database 中国重要会议论文全文数据库 Full View/Short View

Coverage: 2000 - present
Searching and abstracts of conference papers from the People's Republic of China. To request the full text, please contact the Harvard-Yenching Library reference desk.

Full-text New Local Gazetteers Online Availability

Local Cultural Revolution 地方文革 Full View/Short View

The Local Cultural Revolution 地方文革 website aims to collect sources about the Chinese Cultural Revolution such as memoirs, newspaper articles, photos, oral history and so on, and is a great resource for scholars and students who study contemporary Chinese history.



A small number of e-books are available through the following sites:

Apabi Ebooks 數字資源平台 (Harvard ID / PIN required) Full View/Short View

Books may be browsed online or checked out for two weeks. Highlighting, note functions, etc. are available via the Apabi reader, but texts may not be directly printed.

Technical requirements: Windows only. Requires installation of the Apabi reader and registration at time of first use from a given computer.

ChinaMaxx Digital Library (Superstar) 中文集献 (Harvard ID / PIN required) Full View/Short View

Current contents are limited and appear in the folders in the top view. To read a text, click on a specific title and then choose "IE-Basic Reading Functions."

Technical Requirements: Windows and Internet Explorer only. IE plug-in required to read text; OCR plug-in is required to copy and paste text on a page-by-page basis. Click on "Download" from the right-hand menu to install plug-ins. Alternately, IE plug-in will install automatically when you choose "IE-Basic Reading Functions" for the first time on a given computer. Only a limited portion of the book may be printed.

Return to top

Page Last Reviewed: October 31, 2011