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Chinese Studies - Digital/Electronic Sources: References

This research guide helps you to find resources related to China studies including China's foreign relations, history, politics, military, economy, culture, language, religion and etc.

Biographic Database

  • China Biographical Databases Project (CBDB) @ Harvard
    China Biographical Database
    The China Biographical Database is a freely accessible relational database with biographical information about approximately 427,000 individuals as of April 2019
  • Ming Government Official Titles (明代官职中英词典共译共享) @ University of California Irvine  

Statistical or Geospatial Data

Taiwan Statistical Database: Produced by the Statistic Bureau of Taiwan and contains national statistics back to 1996. The site contains statistical tables of various national censuses and statistical analysis.

Open Geospatial Data in Hong Kong @Esri: DATA.GOV.HK is an open data pool with various comprehensive data available for public use, and some of which are spatially enabled. Esri has utilized these data and created different types of layers and webmaps for Esri users to enrich their GIS applications.

China Statistical Database (中国国家统计数据库): Produced by the 中华人民共和国国家统计局 (National Bureau of Statistics of China). It provides extensive national statistical data from mid-1990s to present. Though dataset coverage varies, national, provincial, county, and city level data can be accessed by year, quarter and month. Information on China's statistical standards, classifications and methods, laws and regulations are included on the website, as are built-in data visualization tools for analyzing the statistics.


Online Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

  • Encyclopedia Britannica Online

    Search for China to get information on the land, people, economy, administration, and social conditions, cultural life, and history. Additional readings from books and journals, and best web sites will expand your research. World Data tool provides country snapshots, country comparisons, and ranked statistics.
  • Brill's Chinese - English Dictionary Online starts off with the Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese. Compiled by Paul W. Kroll and a small group of assisting scholars, it is a practical lexicon of more than 8,000 characters. Arranged alphabetically by Pinyin romanization, this long-awaited tool facilitates reading historical, literary, and religious texts dating from, in the first place, the Warring States period through the Tang dynasty. The dictionary is primarily a zidian 字典, not a cidian 詞典, but in addition to single-graph entries includes an abundance of lianmianci 連綿詞 and important compounds, as well as accurate identifications of plants, animals, and assorted technical terms in various fields. In short, an essential tool and the English-language resource of choice for students of pre-Song texts, and far beyond. 
  • 当代汉英词典 by 林语堂

Historical GIS

  • G.W. Skinner Archive @Harvard
  • An archive of the datasets developed for the Regional Systems Analysis laboratory, under the direction of G. William Skinner including later Imperial China and modern China dataverse


​The map viewer of the Chinese Archival Handbooks collection allows discovering the holdings of archival handbooks on the provincial, prefectural, and the county level. Clicking on any region will provide an overview of the archival handbooks that cover the specific region. The URL "More info" links connect to the individual record of each handbook in the library catalog. The East Asian Library will be adding table of contents scans to all the archival handbook records in the library catalog.

Maps and Atlas

GW Libraries • 2130 H Street NW • Washington DC