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Collections at Edinburgh University Library for East Asian studies

The East Asian Collection

The East Asian Collection is located on the 3rd floor of the Main Library. It consists of some 45,000 titles in Chinese, 5,500 in Japanese, and a small number in Korean, on a wide range of subjects in arts, humanities and social sciences such as language, classic and modern literature, history, religion, education, law, economics, and political studies.

The East Asian Collection is divided into three sections: Reference, General and Periodicals. Within each of these three sections Chinese, Japanese and Korean materials are classified and shelved separately. There is also a collection of some 600 Chinese film DVDs in this collection.

For Chinese periodicals, please use the database China Academic Journals for accessing both the archive and current issues of several thousand titles. Individual titles are also listed in DiscoverEd as well as in the ejournals A-Z list.

East Asian related materials in Western languages are integrated with the Main Library general collections according to subject classification.

How to find Chinese, Japanese and Korean (CJK) material

Search DiscoverEd for CJK books and periodicals, using either the original CJK language scripts or in Romanized transliteration - pinyin for Chinese, Hepburn for Japanese and McCune-Reischauer for Korean.

Not all the materials published before 1993 have been catalogued online, notably those with shelfmarks beginning with decimal numbers like .8951, .8956 and .8957. Such older materials are listed in the Sheaf Catalogue that is located at the beginning of the East Asian Collection. It is indexed by author and title in the old Wade-Giles transliteration form. The pinyin to Wade-Giles conversion table can be found here:

Pinyin to Wade-Giles conversion table

If a title (of Chinese classics in particular) does not appear in either DiscoverEd or the Sheaf Catalogue, it would be useful to check the printed indices for a few Chinese collectanea (congshu), i.e. collections of independent works published under a common title. This is because not all of the works contained in these collections have been individually catalogued. If in doubt, please ask the East Asian Studies Librarian ( for help.

When searching the online catalogue using pinyin, syllables should be separated except in personal and place names. For example: 'Zhongguo tong ji nian jian' (title) but not 'Zhongguo tongji nianjian' or 'Zhong guo tong ji nian jian'; Gao Xingjian (author) but not Gao Xing Jian.


Two classification systems co-exist in the East Asian Collection: the local decimal/CJK scheme and the Library of Congress scheme.

Briefly, the local decimal/CJK scheme looks like this:

  • Chinese materials are shelved under .8951(...) or C (...)
  • Japanese materials are shelved under .8956 (...) or J (...)
  • Korean materials are shelved under .8957(...) or K (...).

Books with shelfmarks beginning with the decimal or CJK prefixes are inter-filed on the shelves, in sequence of numbers within brackets. Those numbers denote the subject areas within each language:

1 - 99 Bibliography & general collections
100 - 199 History & biography
200 - 249 Geography & local history
250 - 299 Archaeology & epigraphy
300 - 399 Social sciences
400 - 499 Language
500 - 699 Literature
700 - 899 Philosophy and religion
900 - 949 Fine arts
950 - 999 Science & technology

Since 2002, the East Asian Collection has been using the Library of Congress (LC) classification scheme for consistency with the Main Library general collections. For example, PN is for literature and DS for history.

Other collections

The Undergraduate Resource Centre of the LLC School

The UG Resource Centre is located on the first floor of the LLC School building at 50 George Square. There is a small collection of Chinese reference books, mainly duplicates of the East Asian Collection in the Main Lbrary. The items in the UG Resource Centre are not indexed in DiscoverEd.

Confucius Institute Library

This has a collection of about 1,000 books published recently in China. They are mostly Chinese language textbooks, audio visual materials, books about Chinese history, culture, modern society as well as travel guides.

Law & Europa Library

Thiere is a small specialist collection of Chinese language books on Chinese laws in the Law Library, all listed in DiscoverEd.