Digital Resources for Chinese Studies

6. Dictionaries, Reference Tools, and Romanization

Please also see the Portal Sites and Bibliographies section for more information about available reference tools. While some of these resources are open to the world, many require a Harvard ID and PIN. See individual databases for access information.


Digital Dictionary of Buddhism 電子佛教辭典 (Harvard ID/PIN required) Full View/Short View

Edited by Charles Muller at the Toyo Gakuen University 東洋学園大学, the dictionary provides English definitions for Buddhist terms in a range of languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Pali, Sanskrit, and Tibetan, as well as pronunciations. It includes A Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms : with Sanskrit and English equivalents and a Sanskrit-Pali index, compiled by William Edward Soothill and Lewis Hodous. Harvard students, faculty, and staff may use the dictionary for unlimited searching via this URL.

Restricted access is also provided to non-subscribers. Registering as a guest allows users to perform a limited number of searches. Scholars of Buddhism may also obtain unlimited searching privileges by contributing to the dictionary. Information is available on the site.

CJKV-English Dictionary: A Dictionary-Database of CJK Characters and Compounds Related to East Asian Cultural,
Political, and Intellectual History
(Harvard ID/PIN required) Full View/Short View

Originally part of the Digital Dictionary of Buddhism, the CJKV-English Dictionary provides romanization and definitions in English for characters and compounds in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese. The focus is on Chinese terminology derived from Confucianism, Daoism, secular literature, poetry, and historical works. Page references are given to entries in classical dictionaries. Unicode-based.

Restricted access is also provided to non-subscribers. Registering as a guest allows users to perform a limited number of searches. Scholars of pre-modern East Asia may also obtain unlimited searching privileges by contributing to the dictionary. Information is available on the site.

Lin Yutang's Chinese-English Dictionary of Modern Usage
] Full View/Short View

Online version of the 1972 edition of the Lin Yutang dictionary. Searches head characters, compounds, and text of definition by character, radical or pinyin.

Internet Guide for Chinese Studies--Language--Dictionaries Full View/Short View

Links to and information about a variety of online dictionaries for Chinese languages.

Marjorie Chan's ChinaLinks - Word Lists and Online Glossaries/Dictionaries Full View/Short View

Links to and descriptions a wide range of web-based resources for dictionaries and language study.

CD-ROM Materials
The following CD-ROMs may be used on the Chinese research workstation in the Harvard-Yenching Library reading room.
Please request them at the circulation or reference desk by call number.

E-Kangxi dictionary 康熙字典 Full View/Short View

Harvard-Yenching Library (C) CDROM C-0047

Han yu da ci dian 2.0 汉语大词典 2.0 Full View/Short View

Harvard-Yenching Library (C) CD-ROM C-0057 Single-user edition of the revised CD version. Includes display in traditional characters 繁體字 and the full range of examples.

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Reference Tools

Duxiu 读秀 Full View/Short View

Provides information about and, in many cases, full-text searching and / or limited views (up to about 20 pages) of 2,600,000 Chinese books. A useful tool for discovering bibliographic information; for locating particular search terms within a text; and for getting a preview of a text. Results vary by the text. Please contact Xiao-he Ma, the head of the Harvard-Yenching Chinese collection, if you find a work you believe should be added to the collection in either print or electronic form. Works best with Internet Explorer.

China Biographical Database Project (CBDB) Full View/Short View

The China Biographical Database is an online relational database with biographical information about approximately 120,000 individuals as of April 2011, primarily from the seventh through nineteenth centuries.

Thesaurus Linguae Sericae (TLS) 漢學文典 Full View/Short View

TLS is a large and complex database of – as yet mostly – pre-Buddhist (i.e. pre-third century C.E.) Chinese. It provides detailed and sourced information on grammatical functions and synonyms of lexemes. Attached and linked is a large variety of texts, dictionaries, and translations. It has been developed by Christoph Harbsmeier (Oslo) with a large team of Chinese, Japanese, European and American collaborators. They have begun to expanding it to include Buddhist Chinese.

Modern Chinese Scientific Terminologies (MCST) 近現代漢語學術用語研究 Full View/Short View

MCST is a database on the development of Chinese science terminology (in a relatively wide sense, going well beyond the hard sciences) during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Like TLS, it is source-based (not collated from dictionaries). Originally funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, it has been developed by a team in Göttingen and then Erlangen led by Prof. Michael Lackner with massive input from, above all, Profs. Iwo Amelung and Joachim Kurtz.

Daozang suoyin 道藏索引 Full View/Short View

The index to the titles and authors in the Daoist Canon offers a scan of Kritofer M. Schipper, Daozang suoyin. 道藏索引, Shanghai : Shanghai shudian chubanshe, 1996.

Ming-Qing Archives Name Authority File 明清檔案人名權威資料庫 Full View/Short View

A collaborative effort by Academia Sinica and the National Palace Museum in Taiwan to create a searchable and cross-referenced database of biographical information for personal names in the Grand Secretariat and Grand Council archives held at their institutions. Searching is by keyword 不限欄位, name 姓名, alternate name 異名, native place 籍貫, and official title 職銜. A GIS component allows mapping of place names. References to information on individuals is also included in the entries. The authority file is open to the world, but a TIF viewer must be installed. This viewer is downloadable from the site.

Chinese - Western Calendar Conversion Tool 兩千年中西曆轉換 Full View/Short View

Permits two-way conversion of years between Western and Chinese calendars.

CJK calendar database 中日韓曆轉換 Full View/Short View

The CJK-calendar database is limited in the range of the dates covered. The sources are concerned with Buddhist history. It has not included the earlier periods.
As it is the CJK-Calendar Database provides dates for the following periods:
• China: 220 BCE and 1912 CE
• Korea: 56 BCE and 1885 CE
• Japan: 593 CE and 1872 CE

CD-ROM Materials
The following CD-ROMs may be used on the Chinese research workstation in the Harvard-Yenching Library reading room.
Please request them at the circulation or reference desk by call number.

Zhongguo da bai ke quan shu 中国大百科全书 Full View/Short View

Harvard-Yenching Library: (C) CD-ROM C-0036
CD version of the encyclopedia.

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Romanization Full View/Short View

Although it is increasingly possible to search library catalogues, bibliographies, and online using East Asian scripts, romanized searches are still very helpful. For example, not all records for Chinese-language items in HOLLIS contain characters; these can only be found using romanization. Romanized searches may also find Western-language materials about that topic. Older bibliographies posted online may not include characters.

Library pinyin: Pinyin 拼音 is the romanization system most widely used today. HOLLIS also uses pinyin to romanize Chinese. Please note, however, that the spacing used in North American (and many other) library catalogues often differs from PRC standards and those given in many dictionaries or taught in languages classes. The general rule is that proper names (of people, places, etc.) will be written without spaces, while other words will have spaces after each syllable. Thus, 中國歷史研究 would be Zhongguo li shi yanjiu, not Zhongguo lishi yanjiu or Zhong guo li shi yan jiu. Standards have also changed over time, or may be unclear. For example, a "Title beginning with" search in HOLLIS for Nan yang wen ti yan jiu (南洋問题硏究) will be successful, but Nanyang wen ti yan jiu will not. A similar title, 南洋畫報, however, is romanized as Nanyang hua bao, and a "Title beginning with" search for Nan yang hua bao will not find it. For more information, see the Library of Congress FAQ.

Other systems : A small number of Chinese-language works in HOLLIS are still romanized according to an older standard, Wade-Giles. Also, Western-language books whose titles include Wade-Giles or other romanizations or retain those spellings. Thus, the journal T'oung Pao may be searched using that spelling or the Wade-Giles version, T'ung-pao, but not the pinyin Tongbao. Public terminals in Harvard-Yenching library have a Romax tool installed for pinyin/Wade-Giles conversion.

The following links provide information about the romanization of Chinese, conversion among different transcription systems, and East Asian scripts with the HOLLIS catalog.

CJK 中日韓 Scripts in HOLLIS Full View/Short View

Help documents for installing and East Asian IMEs on Windows systems and tips on searching for East Asian-language materials in HOLLIS. Also available under "Help" in HOLLIS.

Library of Congress (LOC)Chinese Romanization Guidelines Full View/Short View

Explanation of the LOC rules for romanizing Chinese in pinyin. Includes Wade-Giles / pinyin conversion chart. For more detailed information, see their page on the Library of Congress Pinyin Conversion Project. A guide to the writing of Mandarin Chinese in romanization Full View/Short View

Information about a wide variety of transcription systems for Chinese, including both romanized systems such as pinyin, Wade-Giles, and Yale, and non-romanized renderings like zhuyin fuhao 注音符號. Provides useful conversion tables and suggestions for further reading.

Pinyin to Wade-Giles to Zhuyin Conversion Table
Wade-Giles to Zhuyin to Pinyin Conversion Table Full View/Short View

Handy conversion tables provided by the East Asian Library at UCLA. If the zhuyin fuhao 注音符號 does not display correctly, set your browser encoding to Big5 (traditional Chinese).


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Page Last Reviewed: May 12, 2011