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East Asian Studies

English Language Databases and Collections

Collections of documents and primary materials:

Chinese Language Databases


English newspaper databases with Chinese content: 

China-specific or in Chinese


Audio-visual (music, films, documentaries, etc)

DVD / Blu-Ray / VHS

Use terms like "feature films" or "television programs" combined with the country name (e.g. China, Taiwan, Hong Kong).

Limit results by searching in the subject field (or using DE in ebsco databases).  

  • "feature films" AND china
  • "television programs" AND "hong kong"  
  • DE "Feature films" AND Taiwan


  • DVD region code: Most are Region 1 (Canada and USA). Discs with other region codes require multi-region DVD player.
  • Subtitles: Many have English subtitles - but not all

Streaming Video

See the Audio & Video subject guide for a variety of streaming film and video sources

Dictionaries / Enclyclopedias

We have hundreds of Chinese dictionaries (from simple language learning to thematic to historical) in Chinese-only, Chinese to English, English to Chinese, both C-E and E-C, as well Chinese to other languages. They are catagorised by many subject headings and many call number ranges. Here are some ways to find them. 

Quick e-access

A Student’s Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese Online (Brill online) - Chinese character dictionary

China Encyclopedic Reference (Brill online). 4 titles: Brill's Encyclopedia of China Online; Ancient and Early Medieval Chinese Literature; Biographical dictionary of the Qin, Former Han and Xin Periods (221 BC - AD 24); Biographical dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdomes (23-220 AD)

中国大百科全书. The Encyclopedia of China (Zhongguo Da Baike Quan Shu). Largest and most authoritative Chinese-language encyclopedia. It does reflect official Chinese government positions on all politically sensitive topics but most articles are objective, detailed, and reflect the current state of research. (free online access).

Shelf browsing: 

  • Chinese language is PL1001-3208 
  • Many dictionaries clustered in PL  (particularly PL 679)
  • Thematic dictionaries may be in relevant areas (e.g. DS 700-800 Chinese history, NA for architecture, HF for business, GV for sports/recreation, etc)

Comprehensive search 

NOTE:  select Databases --> university of alberta library in left-side menu (includes all  UAlberta and NEOS library holdings).

Chinese-English, English-Chinese

("Chinese language" AND (Dictionar* OR "terms and phrases" OR glossar*) AND English) OR "English language" AND (Dictionar* OR "terms and phrases" OR glossar*) AND Chinese [in subject terms]

Dictionaries of Chinese, in Chinese

"chinese language dictionaries" [in subject terms but] NOT ( english OR japanese OR french OR korean OR tibetan )

All China-related dictionaries in UAlberta and NEOS libraries (almost).

To limit above results further:

  • Add more AND terms: e.g. idioms, etymology, slang, "ancient chinese", dialects, translat*

Free (out of our control, may contain ads)

Searching non-roman scripts (e.g. Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean)

Search tools (catalogues & databases) may search for original language and/or transliteration and/or translations. The results depend on what metadata exists for each item so try a variety of methods and variations. Result lists don't necessarily show the original language until you click into the item record. 

Original language searching:

  • Cut-and-paste (e.g. from internet, bibliography, etc.) 
  • Add input languages to your keyboard language bar

Transliteration searching.

There are many schemes to "transliterate" different languages into the "roman" alphabet so trying several variations is important. Long vowels are the biggest challenge (e.g. o, ou, oo, ō, oh). Search engines often ignore accents and macrons. 

The Library of Congress Romanization tables (see below) are commonly used in library catalogues but older items may use an older scheme. Just some examples: Japanese - revised Hepburn, nihon-shiki, kunrei-shiki; Chinese - Wade-Giles, pinyin; Korean -  Revised Romanization of Korean (RR), McCune-Reischauer (MR), Yale, ISO/TR 11941.

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