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A Guide to World History

Reference Works - A Place to Begin

Berkshire Encyclopedia of China (2009) provides insight into Chinese history and culture today in nearly a thousand articles that include everything from Adoption and Banking to Wound Literature and the Zhou Dynasty. eBook

Chinapedia: The first authoritative reference to understanding China (2014) covers geography, history, politics, economy, and law eBook

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of China (1991) an absorbing and authoritative account of China and all things Chinese - geography, politics, customs, food and drink, the arts, and a rich and colorful history, from ancient times through to the momentous events of the past decade. Brian Hook and his team of expert contributors have thoroughly revised and updated the Encyclopedia to take full account of the most recent developments in China, from the economic reforms and increased freedoms of the early 1980s to the crisis of 1989 and its aftermath. print


Academic Journal Article Databases

World History

Historical Abstracts (1955- ) contents include world history journals from 1450 to the present


Academic Search Complete 

Google Scholar 


Project MUSE


Ming Studies Journal

Late Imperial China Journal 

(There are many other journals for China studies!) 

Chinese academic articles in I usually use CNKI and CAJ

CAJ -- China Academic Journals Full-text Database (English interface) / 中国期刊全文数据库 (Chinese interface) A full text, searchable database of journals from China 

Duxiu database 读秀中文学术搜索 Duxiu database provides access to more than 3 million Chinese bibliographic entries and 2 million full text scholarly resources in all subjects and formats, including books, journal articles, newspapers, theses, conference proceedings, and video clips..

Primary Sources


Library catalogers use the subheading "Sources" at the end of a string of subheadings to indicate anthologies of primary sources. However, cataloging is not a perfect science, so not every collection of primary sources has this subheading. For example, a search for the keyword phrase "documentary sourcebook" in the WU Libraries' catalog produces seven titles, only three of which have "sources" as a subheading. In other words, performing a subject search will not produce a complete list of all primary source collections. Sometimes the source one wants to find is not in an anthology but cited in a bibliography of another work. You might want to try an advanced search with a combination of subject headings and keywords like “sources,” "sourcebook," "primary sources," "primary documents," etc.


China: Trade, Politics, and Culture With documents encompassing events from the earliest English embassy to the birth and early years of the People’s Republic, this resource collects sources from nine archives to give an incredible insight into the changes in China during this period. 

Empire Online Over 70,000 images of original documents relating to Empire Studies. The images are sourced from libraries and archives around the world, including a strong core of document images from the British Library.


National Index to Chinese Newspapers and Periodicals (Shanghai Library) contains over 120,000 books (full-text searchable) and visualization of digital humanities accomplished by the DH team of Shanghai Library. Covers the Late Qing Full-text Database (1833-1911), Chinese Periodical Full-text Database (1911-1949) Series 1-11, and Books of Modern China (1840 - 1949).

Chinese Maritime Customs Service: the Customs' Gazette, 1869-1913 The Customs’ Gazette, published by order of the Inspector General of Customs of China in Shanghai, provided quarterly reports on trade that were prepared and submitted by various custom houses based across the country. This statistical and narrative information provided the central Chinese government with an in-depth analysis on trade. But, the Gazette also provided insights into local and regional economic and social conditions, policing of customs and trade, and conditions at Treaty Ports.

Shen Bao Newspaper Archive (1872-1949) established in 1872, Shen Bao was the most influential and longest lasting commercial newspaper before the establishment of the People’s Republic. Published in Shanghai until 1949, Shen Bao was founded by Englishman Ernest Major, but, uniquely, as a newspaper for Chinese readers, written by Chinese reporters.

Historical American Newspapers (ProQuest) Includes the Atlanta Constitution, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Hartford Courant, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

19th Century English-Language Journals from the Far East Six 19th century journals documenting English missionaries' and scholars' encounters with Far East culture, history, and religion, among other topics.


Global Missions and Theology (1800-1899) - Database of 19th century religious missionary activities, practices and thought in the United States based on personal narratives, organizational records, and biographies of the leaders, missionaries, and churches. Collection includes materials on missionary activities among Native Americans and African Americans - both slaves and freedmen - activities in regions and countries, such as Africa, Fiji and Sandwich Islands, India, China, Southeast Asia, Japan, and Hawaii.

Chinese Recorder and the Protestant Missionary Community in China, 1867-1941 Knowledge was valuable to the Christian missionaries who went to China in the nineteenth century. They wanted to spread the knowledge of Western Christianity and technology to the Chinese, but also they wished to exchange information among themselves about the work they were doing. The need to keep informed about the activities of their counterparts in other locations in the country was evident very soon after they arrived in China. Although the first Protestant missionary reached China in 1807, missionaries were not legally permitted to live in the interior of the country until after the signing of the 1860 treaties between China and Britain and France.


MIT Visualizing Cultures

Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) more on material culture you can look at

U. S. Library of Congress 

Center for Research Libraries 

East Asian Libraries in North America (CEAL)

CALIS Union Catalog (China Academic Library and Infor. System) (CALIS 公共目录检索系统)

Hong Kong Academic Library Link (香港高校圖書聯網)

[Taiwan] National Bibliographic Information Network (NBINet 全國圖書資訊網)

Minutes of the Shanghai Municipal Council replicates all the minutes of meetings held by the Board of Directors of the Shanghai Municipal Council from July 1854 to December 1943. A wide range of topics were discussed at these board meetings, such as sanitation, transportation, telecommunication and postal service, taxation, urban planning, gas supply, street lighting, rickshaw operator management, animal protection, and police system. The minutes taken from July 1854 to December 1906 are handwritten while the rest are typewritten.

Making of the Modern World: The Goldsmiths'-Kress Library of Economic Literature (1460 - 1850) presents more than 61,000 books from the period 1460-1850, and 466 pre-1906 serials.