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Asian Studies: Home

A guide to resources for Asian Studies

BYU Asian Collection

  Image sources: Pixaby: Himeiji Castle, Japan; Wikimedia Commons: Gate of Heavenly Peace, Beijing; Haedong Yonggung Temple, Busan.

The Asian Collection consists of four parts:

1. The Main Collection consisting of over 90,000 books (63,000 in Chinese; 17,000 in Japanese; and 10,000 in Korean). We also have small collections of Vietnamese and Thai materials. All Asian language books are shelved in the Asian Collection on Level 4 of the library according to the Library of Congress call number system.

2. The Asian Reference Collection: This collection contains encyclopedias, specialized dictionaries, concordances, and other research aids. It is located just in front of the main Asian Collection on shorter shelves.

3. The Asian Language Reading Shelves:  Located in front of the Asian Reference Collection, the Asian Language Reading Shelves contain reading materials in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean selected to help you improve your reading skills. These materials are organized by level of difficulty: Level 1 = Beginning; Level 2 = Intermediate; and Level 3 = Advanced. The Japanese materials are divided into 7 levels (0–6+).

4. English language materials related to Asia are shelved in various parts of the library (according to the Library of Congress call number system). Asian History is on Level 1, Literature on Level 5, Religion & Philosophy on Level 2, etc.. See the call number guide below and to the left for details.


• You are welcome to Suggest a Book for the Asian Collection (books in English or in an Asian language are fine).

General Histories of Asia

Finding Secondary Scholarship & Primary Sources

A List of Useful Databases for Finding Scholarly Articles

Use the databases listed below to search for scholarly articles on your research topic.  Hovering over the "info" icon  will reveal detailed information about each database. For some very helpful tips on how to conduct a successful database search, click Here.

TIP: Use multiple databases when searching for articles related to your research project as each database has different coverage and unique features.

Subject Specific Databases

Journal of Asian Studies (1956–present) The Journal of Asian Studies (JAS) publishes peer-reviewed work on Asia spanning the arts, history, literature, social sciences, and cultural studies. Coverage includes China, Japan, Korea, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia.



Foreign Affairs (1922–present) is a leading journal discussing American foreign policy and global affairs. Published by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Foreign Affairs tolerates a wide difference of honestly held and convincingly expressed opinion. Its articles do not represent a consensus of beliefs.


Foreign Policy (1970–present) is an American news publication, founded in 1970 and focused on global affairs, current events, and domestic and international policy. It produces content daily on its website, and in six print issues annually. 


Asian Affairs (London; 1970–present) covers the whole region of Asia—Central Asia, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia and East Asia. Contains articles on specific countries, historical episodes, contemporary affairs, and book reviews. 

The Journal of Contemporary Asia (1970–present) a quarterly journal containing peer-reviewed articles on aspects of economic development, political economy, agriculture, planning, the working class, people’s movements, politics and power, imperialism and empire, international financial institutions, the environment, and economic history regularly appear.

Journal of East Asian Affairs (Institute for National Security Strategy, Seoul Korea)

Full text access digital access to The Atlantic (1988–present). EBSCO Academic Search Premiere provides full color PDF files of each article.


Full-text, digital access to The New Yorker magazine (1992–present). Paper copies are available in the library covering 1933–2018 at this call number AP 2 .N6763 in the periodicals reading room (Level 2 North).

Asia and the West: 19th Century Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange. 19th Century British Foreign Office and United States consular and diplomatic records from China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. These records reflect the day-to-day activities with the indigenous populations, the expansion of trade, and the exercise of extraterritorial rights and treaty provisions. Also included is a substantial selection of missionary correspondence and journals from China, Japan, Korea, and Siam (Bangkok). Maintained by Gale-Cengage.

Empire Online World Empires from 1492-1969. Includes a wealth of primary sources including manuscripts, rare printed materials, letter books, missionary papers, slave papers, travel writing, periodicals, diaries, photographs and more. Supplementing the primary sources are secondary resources such as essays, interactive maps, chronology and an image gallery. Materials in the collections spans five centuries, charting the story of the rise and fall of empires, gathered from a wide range of reputable institutions, with a core from the British Library. Maintained by Adam Matthew Digital.

Lillian Schoedler in Asia

Travel Writing, Spectacle, and World History (maintained by Adam Mathew Digital) brings together hundreds of accounts produced by women documenting their travels across the globe. Several accounts cover travel in Asia. The materials contained in this database range from the early 19th century to the late 20th century and include unique manuscripts, diaries, correspondence, guidebooks, postcards, sketches and photographs. 

Visualizing Cultures: Image Driven Scholarship was launched at MIT in 2002 to explore the potential of the Web for developing innovative image-driven scholarship and learning. The mission of Visualizing Cultures is to use new technology to reconstruct the past as people of the time visualized the world (or imagined it to be). Topical units to date focus on Japan in the modern world and early-modern China.

China, America, and the Pacific (18th–20th Centuries). This database contains an extensive range of archival material connected to the trading and cultural relationships that emerged between China, America and the Pacific region between the 18th and early 20th centuries. Manuscript sources, rare printed texts, visual images, objects and maps document this fascinating history. Maintained by Adam Matthews Digital.

Happy Family Chairman Mao Portrait

Chinese Propaganda Posters. This database provides access to hundreds of images portraying events and personalities from the history of the Chinese Communist Party. Click on “Themes” to view posters for such topics as “The Long March,” “The Sino-Japanese War,” “The Great Leap Forward,” “The Cultural Revolution,” Mao Zedong and other Communist Party leaders, "Models and Martyrs," "Working Women," "Villains," etc.

South Asia Open Archives (SAOA) is a free open-access resource for research and teaching. SAOA consists of a rich and growing collection of key historical and contemporary sources in arts, humanities and social sciences, from and about South Asia, in English and other languages of the region. SAOA's collection currently contains hundreds of thousands of pages of books, journals, newspapers, census data, magazines, and documents, with particular focus on social & economic history, literature, women & gender, and caste & social structure.

The Trans-Asia Photography Review is an online, open-access, international journal devoted to the discussion of historic and contemporary photography from Asia. It is published twice a year by Hampshire College in collaboration with the University of Michigan Library. The TAP Review brings together the perspectives of curators, historians, photographers, anthropologists, art historians and others in an effort to investigate photography from Asia as fully as possible.

East Asia Image Collection is an an open-access archive of digitized photographs, negatives, postcards, and slides of imperial Japan (1868-1945), its Asian empire (1895-1945) and occupied Japan (1947-52). Images of Taiwan 台湾, Japan 日本, China 中国, Korea 朝鮮, Manchuria 満洲国, and Indonesia are included.

The American Presidency Project is maintained by political science professors John Woolley and Gerhard Peters and hosted at UC Santa Barbara. This database provides access to numerous documents related to US-China relations. You can search for key terms and limit your search to a particular president's era of administration.

Digital version of US Congressional Serial Set contains all the Reports, Documents, and Journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives from 1817 to the present. These documents constitute a rich source of primary source material on all aspects of American history. A print version of the Serial Set would consist of over 12 million pages.

The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) is a nonpartisan organization that produces in-depth research on policy issues in the Indo-Pacific (East, South, and Southeast Asia). NBR has cultivated relationships for over 30 years with top specialists and the highest-level decision-makers in the Executive Branch and Congress from both parties.

Rising Powers Initiative (RPI) Sigur Center,  Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University. The RPI is a multi-year, cross-national research effort that examines the role of domestic identities and foreign policy debates of aspiring powers in Asia. The RPI brings together an internationally recognized team of scholars from both the United States and across the globe to analyze and compare the foreign policy thinking in today’s rising powers.


ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global (PQDT) is the world's most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses from around the world, offering millions of works from thousands of universities. Each year hundreds of thousands of works are added. Full-text coverage spans from 1743 to the present.

ProQuest Global Newsstream provides one of the largest collections of full-text news resources from the US, Canada, Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Australia covering content from 1980 to the present. You can set a date range to get the most recent news. You can also limit your search to specific newspapers by title.

ProQuest Historical Newspapers provides full-text searchable content ranges from 1849 to 2005. The newspapers indexed in this database include: the New York Times and Wall Street Journal as well as the Atlanta Constitution, Austin American Statesman, Baltimore Sun, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Hartford Courant, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Toronto Star.

Free Access to the current issue of the New York Times is available to BYU students and faculty. You will need to create a free account using your email address. To access news about China, type "China" In the search box of the NYT homepage.

Influential Newspapers: Current Issues and Archives

Kanopy partners with public libraries and universities to stream thoughtful entertainment to your preferred device with no fees and no commercials. Click the logo above and log in with your BYU NetID to enjoy Kanopy's diverse catalog with new titles added every month. You can search for films on Asian topics and in Asian languages.

ProQuest's Alexander Street is the world’s leading provider of academic streaming media to libraries. They have partnered with top video producers around the world to deliver more than 60,000 video titles across all disciplines. They are particularly strong in the fields of anthropology, history, diversity studies, theatre, film, music, dance, news, current affairs, and the social sciences. For video related to Asian Studies, click Here.

FRONTLINE produces works of investigative journalism that both question and explain complicated and controversial aspects of our modern world. Frontline has been one of American television’s top long-form news and current affairs series since 1983. They have won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 91 Emmy Awards and 22 Peabody Awards. You can watch more than 200 documentaries online, for free, any time.

Films on Demand is an extensive collection of streamable documentary video.

Maintained by Infobase.

World History in Video an archive of 1700 documentaries maintained by Alexander Street Press

Asian Theatre

Drama Online three images of asian dramatic performances

Asian Theatre Video Collection

The Asian Theatre video collection offers interviews with leading performers and practitioners, and houses several filmed performances, documentaries, rehearsal footage, and training videos. This collection is a vital repository for students and academics interested in Asia’s enduring theatrical traditions. The collection is especially rich in materials related to the Japanese and Indian traditions.

Call Number Guide

If you rely exclusively on digital resources, you are missing out on a wealth of scholarship. Books on a particular topic are shelved together (when you find one relevant book you will find others shelved next to it). Those who Browse the Stacks always discover valuable research materials! All books published in Asian languages are located on the 4th Floor in the Asian Collection. English materials on Asian topics are located in different parts of the library as noted below. If you have trouble finding a book ask the student employees at any library help desk.


AC-AE Collections, Encyclopedias (1st Floor, Social Science Reference)

BL 1900 Daoism (2nd Floor, Religion & Family History Library)

BQ Buddhism (2nd Floor, Religion & Family History Library)

BR-BX Christianity (2nd Floor, Religion & Family History Library)

CT 1828 Biography

DS Asian History (1st Floor, Social Science Library)

      DS 350–375 Afghanistan

      DS 376–392 Pakistan

      DS 400-485 India

      DS 700–799 China

      DS 800–899 Japan

      DS 900–940 Korea

G 1019-2357 Maps

GR 335-340 Fables, Myths, Legends, Folklore (1st Floor, Social Science Library)

GR 342-GT  Customs (1st Floor, Social Science Library)

GV 1100-1400 Martial arts, games

HC 427-470 Economic conditions

HN-HQ  Society

J Politics and Government (1st Floor, Central Stacks)

      JZ 1730-1734 Chinese

      JZ 1745 Japanese

      JZ 1748 Korean

K Law

M Music

N Arts & Crafts (5th Floor, North Stacks)

   N 7340–49 Chinese Art (General)

   N 7350–59 Japanese Art (General)

   N 7360–70 Korean Art (General)

   NA 1540 Chinese Architecture

   NB 1040 Chinese Sculpture

   NB 1912 Buddhist Sculpture

   ND 1036–1049 Chinese Painting

   ND 1050 Japanese Painting

   ND 1060 Korean Art

   NK 3634 Chinese Calligraphy

   NK 4165 Chinese Pottery

   NK 5750 Chinese Jade Carving

PL Asian Languages and Literatures (5th Floor, North Stacks)

   PL 501-845 Japanese

   PL 901-949 Korean

   PL 1001-3300 Chinese

Q Science

R  Medicine

S  Agriculture

T Technology

U Military science

Z Libraries

Asian Studies Librarian

Profile Photo
Tim Davis
I am happy to meet with you in person or virtually to help you with any research questions.

Office: 5449 HBLL
Phone: 801-422-4061

Asian Collection 4th Floor Map (Click to Enlarge)

Get Help

Humanities Reference
Level 5
Hours: M-Th: 8am-9pm; 
F: 8am-6pm; Sat:10am-6pm


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Research Help

For help help with your research projects, try these excellent resources from the BYU Library:

This site will introduce you many useful resources to help you succeed with your research process. It includes instruction on the research project from the beginning stages of choosing a topic to proper citation practices and formatting a bibliography.

Full text of the ninth edition of the handbook, the second edition of the MLA Guide to Digital Literacy, and the MLA Guide to Undergraduate Research in Literature, as well as a video course that teaches the principles of MLA documentation style through a series of short videos.

The 17th Edition of the manual online.