Monday, November 2, 2009

Chinese Studies on the World Wide Web

  • Search engines
  • Chinese Studies
  • Books online
  • Booksellers
  • Language and Literature
  • Government sites
  • Journals and newspapers online
  • History and Geography
  • Libraries
  • Virtual Libraries
  • Online library catalogues
  • Resources
  • Miscellaneous
  • The number of websites in Chinese is growing exponentially. Since the agreement in October 1998 between the UK academic network JANET and its Chinese counterpart CERNET, connectivity from academic sites in the UK to China has been very good. The speed varies according to the degree of congestion, but at best can be practically instantaneous.

    How to read and write Chinese on the web

    Chinese websites generally use one of two coding standards to represent Chinese characters: GB and Big-5. GB stands for guobiao (national standard) and is used to encode 6,763 simplified characters used in the People's Republic of China. Big-5 encodes 13,053 non-simplified characters and is used in Taiwan and Hong Kong. For example, this is what the three characters for "Mao Zedong" look like when encoded in GB: 毛泽东 and Big-5: を緼狥. Special software is required to convert these symbols into Chinese characters.

    Although it is possible to read Chinese websites using Chinese fonts provided in the latest versions of browsers such as Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer (instructions on how to do this are available from a number of websites), in order to write as well as read Chinese it is necessary to install a "Chinese enabler" (also known as a "Chinese front-end processor" or "Chinese platform") on your machine. There are a number of these on the market, among the most popular being RichWin, ChineseStar, TwinBridge and UnionWay. All these have their own sites, from which demo versions can be downloaded. Fuller details can be found here.

    Useful websites

    The web is a living organism, continually changing and evolving. Anything written about it is obsolescent if not obsolete as soon as it has been written. The list of URLs offered here is highly selective, and no guarantee can given as to the long-term validity of the information. The only way to keep up-to-date is constantly to explore the web for yourself, finding out what is useful to you. Most of the sites listed here are in Chinese only, but a few bilingual (Chinese/English) and English-language sites are included.

    Search engines

    It is possible to find Chinese sites by putting Chinese text (using a Chinese enabler) into the search box of any search engine, but it is more effective to use a special Chinese search engine, such as the Chinese version of Google. The Haiyan site evaluates and provides links to many Chinese search engines.

    [Baidu] [Google] [Yahoo] [Sohu] [Internet Great Download] [WebGather]

    Chinese Studies

    One of the best ways to explore the web is to look at sites which have assembled a number of links to sites on related subjects. The Internet Guide for Chinese Studies (IGCS) provides hundreds of links (with descriptions), including the Asian Studies Virtual Library.

    [IGCS] [European Centre for Digital Resources in Chinese Studies] [European Association of Chinese Studies]

    Books online

    Many books are now available online, some of which are not otherwise accessible for political or other reasons. There are also websites dedicated to particular authors. The Academia Sinica Computing Centre (ASCC) in Taipei contains the full text of many works in classical Chinese, including the 25 Dynastic Histories (39,969,533 characters) and the 13 Classics (8,600,316 characters). The Guoxue database provides free access to classical Chinese texts totalling 140 million characters.

    [List of full-text databases] [ASCC] [Guoxue] [Chineselib] [Read Online] [Chinese philosophy texts]
    [New Threads virtual library] [Classical Chinese literature (with English translations)]
    [Lu Xun] National Digital Library of China 《在线新华字典》 《全唐诗》 《续修四库全书》 《古代汉语》 《说文解字》


    Online bookselling is expanding very rapidly in China, and several booksellers will now take orders from overseas, payment being by credit card in US dollars. Some publishers (like Wenwu Chubanshe) also have their own websites, through which their books can be purchased.

    [Dangdang] [Beijing Tushu Dasha] [China Intl. Book Trading Corp.] [China Natl. Pub. Ind. Trading Corp.]
    [Zhongguo Shudian] [Joint Pub. Co. (Shanghai)] [Shanghai Shucheng] [Suiyazhai (Shanghai)] [Wenwu Chubanshe]

    Hong Kong
    [Chinese Books CyberStore] [Chiaoliu Pubs. Co.] [Dongquan] [INNOOS] [Joint Pub. Co. (HK)] [Mans Book Co.]

    [Hsin wen feng] [Sanmin]


    [China Modern Bookshop] [Mall of China]


    Language and Literature

    Many sites with materials for learning and teaching Chinese can be found at the links site listed here. Dictionaries on the web can be useful for learning as well as reference purposes, as they offer such features as animated characters (see Ocrat).

    [Language links] [Tang poetry]

    [Kangxi Zidian] [Lin Yutang] [Xinhua Zidian] [Ocrat] [Chinalanguage] [Zhongwen] [Variant Characters] [Hanzi Normative Glyphs]

    Government sites

    Government sites are an important source of official information, some of which is published first on the web, or may not be easily accessible elsewhere, but one should always bear in mind that information on sensitive subjects from such sources is liable to be tendentious.

    [Links] [Government statistics] [Ministry of Railways] [Foreign Ministry] [Ministry of Information Industry] [Beijing Post Office]
    [PRC Embassy in UK]

    [Links] [Office of the President] [Taipei Representative Office in UK (Cultural Division)]

    Hong Kong


    Journals and newspapers online

    Large numbers of Chinese journals and newspapers are now available online. The full-text databases of the most important newspapers such as Renmin Ribao and Guangming Ribao are particularly useful. The site of the All-China Journalists Association (ACJA) has links to hundreds of provincial newspapers and Chinajournal Net to hundreds of online journals.

    [ACJA] [Chinajournal Net] [Cathay Net] [CNKI] [Creaders] [Chinabook] [NewsHoo]
    [Oxford Centre for Teaching Chinese]

    [Renmin Ribao] [Guangming Ribao] [Nanfang Ribao] [Wenhui Bao] [Xinmin Wanbao] [Zhonghua Xinwenbao]

    [Xinhua News Agency] [Xinhua News Agency (photos)]

    [China Daily] [China News Digest] [New Threads] [Feng Hua Yuan] [Sunrise Chinese Library]

    History and Geography

    This is a very small sample of the vast and ever-growing amount of historical and geographical information available on the web.

    [China - A Country Study (CIA)] [Chinese Maritime Customs Project] [International Dunhuang Project] [Yuanmingyuan] [Beijing information]

    [Online Maps of China] [China Dimensions] [Ditu Chubanshe] AMS Maps of China (1:250,000)

    Local histories (difangzhi)
    [Oregon] [Hunan]


    The site of the European Association of Sinological Librarians (EASL) has links to the main Chinese collections in Europe, and the first place to look for holdings of Chinese journals and newspapers in European libraries is the Sinological Serials in European Libraries Project (SSELP). The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) provides a gateway to libraries in China.

    [EASL] [SSELP] [Internet Chinese Librarians Club] [Chinese Library Resources]

    [CASS] [CERNET] [Datatrans] [Qinghua] [Sohu] [Libnet]

    Virtual Libraries

    The Superstar Digital Library contains the scanned texts of over 600,000 books; access requires a password. The China National Knowledge Infrastructure Chinese Academic Journals (CNKI/CAJ) database contains scanned images of 1,856 journals in the humanities; access requires a password, except for the index of article titles (click on "Bibliographic Database"). The Universal Digital Library Million Book Project contains over 970,000 Chinese book titles (including 《续修四库全书》.

    [Superstar Digital Library] [CNKI/CAJ] [Million Book Project] [Daoist texts]

    Online library catalogues

    More and more libraries are making their Chinese catalogues searchable online, but the quality of the data provided is variable. The UK Union Catalogue of Chinese Books contains holdings from the seven main Chinese collections in the UK.

    [Academia Sinica] [Bei Shida] [Beida] [National Library of China] [Fudan] [Nanda] [Nankai] [Qinghua] [Shanghai Library]

    [Links] [National Central Library]

    Hong Kong
    [Links] [HKU]

    [Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo]


    [UKUCCB] [Bodleian] [Needham Research Institute] [SOAS] [Chinese yearbooks]

    [Links] [Harvard-Yenching Library] [Library of Congress] [UCLA]


    Under this heading are grouped miscellaneous sites which provide information on a wide variety of subjects. Many of them include links to other sites, and the list could be expanded indefinitely.

    [Links to over 6,000 China-related sites] [General information]


    [Peking University] [Peking University Law School] [Fudan University] [Qinghua University] [Renmin Daxue]
    [Shanghai Jiaotong Daxue]

    [Art] [Culture] [Classical drama] [Economic Information Network] [Wine]

    [Academia Sinica] [National Central Library databases] [Center for Chinese Studies] [Ricci Institute] [National Taiwan University]

    Hong Kong
    [University of Science & Technology]

    [China in Britain] [Great Britain-China Centre]

    [China Democracy Information Network] [Laogai Research Foundation]


    [Chinese posters] [More Chinese posters] [Map of Peking]

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