Reference Guide

A reference guide for Ming studies

Compiled by Leo K. Shin, Associate Professor, Departments of History and Asian Studies, University of British Columbia.

This guide is aimed to facilitate research by both beginning students and experienced scholars. Its main objective is to provide a useful starting point for the study of Ming-dynasty China (1368–1644), though many of the items below would be useful also to students of other periods. Particular emphasis has been placed on online resources. This project is intended to be a collaborative enterprise. Please send suggestions or corrections to leo.shin at


In compiling this guide, I have been inspired by Endymion Wilkinson’s Chinese History: A Manual and Benjamin Elman’s Classical Historiography for Chinese History. Especially for online resources, I have consulted the relevant subject guides produced by the librarians at UBC, Princeton, and Harvard.

Content and Technical Notes

I have organized the entries within each category roughly according to their usefulness or to chronology. The decisions are not entirely arbitrary, but users should note that different resources are useful for different purposes. Unfortunately, many of the indexes and databases listed below are proprietary; if necessary, please set your browser to connect through the proxy server of your institution. For citation management, see help for refworks or endnote.


General | Ming


Introduction | Current | Reviews | Catalog | Chinese | Japanese | Western | Dissertations | Periodicals

Research Tools

Encyclopedias | Romanization | Dictionaries | People | Time | Place | Institution | Arts & Archaeology | other categories to follow. . .


Guides | Catalogs | Databases | Collectanea | Epigraphy | Libraries | Archives | Official histories | other categories to follow. . .

Guides and Manuals

General Guides

  1. Chinese History: A Manual. 2000. By Endymion Wilkinson. Rev. and enl. ed. Cambridge, Mass., and London: Harvard University Asia Center. A comprehensive guide to the study of Chinese history up to 1949. find in ubc
  2. Classical Historiography for Chinese History. By Benjamin A. Elman. Updated periodically. Extensive lists of research tools and links to electronic resources for classical Chinese studies.
  3. Internet Guide to Chinese Studies. Sinological Institute, Leiden University, Netherlands. Updated frequently. Useful guide to web resources.

Ming Guides

  1. Chūgoku rekishi kenkyū nyūmon中国歴史研究入門 (Introductory guide to research on Chinese history). 2006. Edited by Tonami Mamoru 礪波護, Kishimoto Mio 岸本美緒, and Sugiyama Masaaki 杉山正明. Nagoya: Nagoya daigaku shuppankai. Chap. 8 covers the Ming. Note also:
    • Chūgoku shi kenkyū nyūmon 中国史研究入門 (Introductory guide to research on Chinese history). 1991-95. Edited by Yamane Yukio 山根幸夫. Rev. and enl. ed. 2 vols. Tokyo: Yamakawa shuppansha. Translated into Chinese by Tian Renlong 田人隆 and others as Zhongguo shi yan jiu ru men 中国史硏究入门 (Beijing: She hui ke xue wen xian chu ban she, 2000). Surveys modern scholarship (especially Chinese and Japanese) and includes annotations of selected sources. Vol. 1 covers up to the end of the Ming.
    • Zhongguo shi yan jiu zhi nan 中國史研究指南 (Guide to research on Chinese history). 1990. Edited by Gao Mingshi 高明士. 5 vols. Taipei: Lian jing. Translation of the 1st edition (1983) of Yamane with additonal references to scholarship from Hong Kong and Taiwan. Vol. 4 covers the Ming and Qing periods. find in ubc
  2. Ming History: An Introductory Guide to Research. 1994. Edited by Edward L. Farmer, Romeyn Taylor, and Ann Waltner. Minneapolis: Ming Studies Research Series, History Department, University of Minnesota. A research and document-reading guide to Ming history.
  3. Ming shi yan jiu bei lan 明史研究备览 (Handbook for research on Ming history). 1988. Edited by Li Xiaolin 李小林 and Li Shengwen 李晟文. Tianjin: Tianjin jiao yu chu ban she. “Contains an introduction to 330 primary sources, discussion of research themes and a bibliography of secondary scholarship from the Ming period itself up to 1985 (including scholarship in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, and the West)” (Wilkinson 2000:893). find in ubc
  4. Research Manual for Ming History. 1985. Edited by Frederick W. Mote and Howard L. Goodman. 2 vols. Princeton: Chinese Linguistics Project, Princeton University. A case-study approach to Ming history.



  1. Imperial China 900-1800. 1999. By F. W. Mote. Cambridge, Mass., and London: Harvard University Press. find in ubc
  2. The Cambridge History of China, vol. 7, The Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644, part 1. 1988. Edited by Frederick W. Mote and Denis Twitchett. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Political history of the Ming. Includes bibliographical notes, bibliography, and glossary-index. find in ubc
  3. The Cambridge History of China, vol. 8, The Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644, part 2. 1998. Edited by Denis Twitchett and Frederick W. Mote. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Thematic studies. Includes bibliographical notes, bibliography, and glossary-index. find in ubc

Current Trends

  1. H-Asia. Part of H-Net.
  2. Newsletters and Annual Meetings of the Association for Asian Studies. Note also related conferences.
  3. Zhongguo shi yan jiu dong tai 中国史研究动态 (Developments in Chinese historical research). 1979- (monthly). Published by Zhongguo she hui ke xue yuan li shi suo 中国社会科学院历史研究所. Includes state-of-the-field articles and book reviews. Full-text via China Academic Journals
  4. Han xue yan jiu tong xun 漢學研究通訊 (Newsletter for Research in Chinese Studies). 1982- (quarterly). Published by Center for Chinese Studies 漢學研究中心, National Central Library (Taipei).
  5. Society for Ming Studies. Publishes Ming Studiesand a clearing house for Ming-related information.
  6. Geiss Foundation. Founded in memory of James Geiss (1950-2000) to support the teaching and research of Ming history.
  7. Zhongguo Ming shi xue hui 中国明史学会 (Society for Ming History) (PRC). Publishes Ming shi yan jiu明史研究.
  8. Ming Qing yan jiu hui 明清研究會 (Ming-Ch’ing Studies Group), Academia Sinica (Taiwan).
  9. Zhongguo Ming dai yan jiu xue hue 中國明代研究學會 (Society for Ming Studies) (Taiwan). Publishes Ming dai yan jiu明代研究.
  10. Ming shi yan jiu xiao zu 明史研究小組 (Group in Ming Studies) (Taiwan). Publishes the periodical Ming shi yan jiu zhuan kan 明史研究專刊 and the Ming shi yan jiu cong kan 明史研究叢刊 series.


  1. Review of Bibliography in Sinology (Revue bibliographique de sinologie). 1983-. A selected annotated bibliography of current books and articles on China in all languages.
  2. China Review International . 1993- (quarterly). Reviews (mostly English-language) scholarship on all aspects of Chinese studies.
  3. Zhongguo li shi xue nian jian 中国历史学年鉴 (Annual survey of Chinese historical studies). 1980-. Edited by Zhongguo shi xue hui. Beijing: San lian chu ban she. Includes research trends, conference reports, and bibliographies. Also publishes quarterly Shi xue qing bao.
  4. Shigaku zasshi 史学雑誌. 1950-. Review essays appear annually in the May (no. 5) issue. Review of Japanese studies on Ming and Qing history in the preceding year. Translations have been carried in Ming Studies and Late Imperial China. See Joshua A. Fogel, Recent Japanese Studies of Modern Chinese History (II): Translations from Shigaku Zasshi for 1983-86 (Armonk, New York: M. E. Sharpe, 1989).

Union Catalog

  1. WorldCat (OCLC). Records of any type of materials cataloged by member libraries. Incorporates the databases of RLG (members).

Chinese Scholarship

  1. National Library of China 中国国家图书馆 (Beijing; info). Multiple databases. Links to contents (文献索取) available for some works. Englishinterface available.
  2. National Bibliographic Information Network 全國圖書書目資訊網 (info). Union catalog of public and academic libraries in Taiwan (list). Includes National Central Library 國家圖書館 (info) but not Academia Sinica 中央研究院 (catalog).
  3. China Academic Journals 中国学术期刊 (info | list). 1994-. Full-text.
  4. Century Journals Project 世纪期刊人文社科精品 (info | list). -1993. Selected titles. Full-text.
  5. China Online Journals 数字化期刊全文 (info | list). 1997-. Full-text.
  6. Fu yin bao kan zi liao 复印报刊资料 (Reprints of periodical literature). Information Center for Social Sciences, Renmin University 中国人民大学书报资料中心 (info). 1978- (Online 2001-). Selected periodical literature published in the PRC. Categorized by subjects 期刊. Online index searchable by author, title, or original journal. For the Ming, note the subject “K24 明清史” (index 2001- | abstracts 2001- | toc 2005-). Full-text 全文 available via Nanshan Library 南山图书馆. Note infofor CD-ROMs (index 索引总汇, 1978-; full-text, 1995-). find in ubc
  7. Quan guo bao kan suo yin shu ju ku 全国报刊索引数据库 (info | databases). Shanghai Library. Coverage varies. Indexes to periodicals, newspapers, and conference proceedings published in China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan). Advanced search and full-text not available through UBC.
  8. China Core Newspapers 中国重要报纸全文 (info | list). 2000-. Full-text not available through UBC.
  9. PerioPath: Index to Chinese Periodical Literature 中文期刊篇目索引影像系統 (info | list). 1998-. Index to periodicals published in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. Note also Taiwan Electronic Periodical Services 台灣電子期刊服務網 (list). 2000-. Full-text not available through UBC. Browsable by title.
  10. HKInChiP 香港中文期刊論文索引 (list) 1953-. index to Chinese and Chinese-English periodicals published in Hong Kong.
  11. Zhongguo jin ba shi nian Ming shi lun zhu mu lu 中国近八十年明史论著目录 (Bibliography of books and articles on Ming history in the last 80 years). 1981. Compiled by Zhongguo she hui ke xue yuan li shi suo Ming shi yan jiu shi 中国社会科学院历史硏究所明史硏究室. Nanjing: Jiangsu ren min chu ban she. Citations to 9,400+ articles and 600+ books on the Ming published from 1900 to 1978. Includes Hong Kong and Taiwan publications.
  12. Zhongguo jin dai qi kan pian mu hui lu 中国近代期刊篇目汇录 (1857-1919). Index of periodical holdings of the Shanghai Library. Searchable CD-ROM not available at UBC.
  13. Access China. Asian Library (UBC). Free delivery of Chinese academic information not available in Canada. Open to UBC faculty and students.
  14. Gateway Service Center of Chinese Academic Journal Publications . East Asian Library, University of Pittsburgh. “The Chinese East Asian Gateway Service will deliver documents to any individual researchers for research and teaching purpose or non-profit organizations who cannot find the needed item in any U.S. libraries.”

Japanese Scholarship

  1. Webcat Plus (info). National Institute of Informatics 国立情報学研究所 (info). Union catalog of academic libraries in Japan. Includes tables of contents of books (1986-).
  2. NII Scholarly and Academic Information Navigator NII 論文情報ナビゲータ (info | databases | English interface). Includes Zasshi kiji sakuin 雑誌記事索引 (index to periodicals; list) compiled by the National Diet Library (info).
  3. Tōyōgaku kenkyū bunken ruimoku 東洋学研究文献類目 (Bibliography of Oriental Studies). Documentation and Information Center for Chinese Studies, Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University 京都大學人文科學研究所附屬漢字情報研究センター (info). 1981-. Print version 1934-. Index to journal articles and monographs on East Asia in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Western languages. Searchable with plug-in.
  4. Mindaishi kenkyū bunken mokuroku 明代史研究文献目録 1993-2003 (A classified bibliography of Ming studies, 1993-2003). 2005. Edited by Yamane Yukio 山根幸夫. Tokyo: Kyūko shoin. Note also 新編 Shinpen Mindaishi kenkyū bunken mokuroku, which includes references to 307 books and 5,000 articles published in Japanese from the end of the 19th century to 1992 as well as 269 articles and 6 books published in Korean. The original 1960 edition includes Chinese but not Korean scholarship.
  5. Chūgoku kankei ronsetsu shiryō 中国関係論説資料 (Collected articles on China). Ronsetsu shiryō hozonkai 論說資料保存会 (Tokyo). 1964-. Photocopies of selected journal articles on China. Index 索引 not available at UBC.
  6. Books and Articles on Oriental Subjects Published in Japan 東方学関係著書論文目錄 (info). Institute of Eastern Culture 東方学会 (info). 1954-1996.
  7. MagazinePlus (info | list). Index to periodical literature. Not available through UBC.

Western Scholarship

  1. Bibliography of Asian Studies (info). 1971-. Updated quarterly. Includes monographs (up to 1992), journal articles, and chapters in edited volumes.
  2. Web of Science (info). 1965-. Includes Arts and Humanities Citation Index (list) and Social Sciences Citation Index (list). Search not intuitive (see help) but excellent indexes to periodical literature (including book reviews). Links to full-text available.
  3. Humanities and Social Sciences Index (list). 1984- (Humanities & Social Sciences Retrospective 1907-84). Links to full-text available.
  4. Academic Search Premier (list). 1975-. Links to full-text available.
  5. Historical Abstracts (list). 1954-. “World history from 1450 to the present excluding Canada and the United States.” Includes books and articles (no book reviews or chapters in edited volumes). Links to full-text available.
  6. Periodicals Index Online (info | list). 1770-1995. Index to periodicals in the humanities and social sciences in English, French, German and other Western languages. Useful for early studies on China. Not available through UBC.
  7. LexisNexis Academic (list). Full-text. Includes English-language newspapers, magazines, and various databases from China.
  8. Google Book | Google Scholar. Potential not fully realized.
  9. China Bibliography: The Ming Dynasty. By Marilyn Shea. Especially useful for students.


  1. Dissertation Abstracts . UMI ProQuest Digital Dissertations.
  2. CALIS 学位论文库 (PRC). 1998–.
  3. Dissertation and Thesis Abstract System 博碩士論文資訊網. National Central Library (Taipei). Includes abstracts and table of contents.
  4. Ming Dissertations: An Update.” 1998. Compiled by Dietrich Tschanz. Ming Studies 40: 111-16; see also Tschanz, comp., “Ming Dissertations,” Ming Studies 38 (1997): ?.
  5. Doctoral Dissertations on Asia. 1975-1993. Compiled by Frank Joseph Shulman. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Association for Asian Studies.


  1. Ming Studies. 1975- (semi-annual). find in ubc
  2. Late Imperial China. 1985- (semi-annual). find in ubc
  3. Ming shi yan jiu 明史研究 (Studies on Ming history). 1991- (irregular). Zhongguo Ming shi xue hui (PRC). See table of contentsfor vols. 1-8. find in ubc(incomplete)
  4. Ming shi yan jiu lun cong 明史研究论丛 (Collected studies on Ming history). 1982- (irregular). 6 volumes to date (2004). Zhongguo she hui ke xue yuan li shi yan jiu suo Ming shi yan jiu shi 中国社会科学院历史研究所明史研究室 (PRC). find in ubc(incomplete)
  5. Ming Qing lun cong 明清论丛 (Collected studies on the Ming and Qing dynasties). 1999- (annual). Gu gong bo wu yuan 故宮博物院 (PRC) and Beijing da xue 北京大学. find in ubc(incomplete)
  6. Ming dai yan jiu 明代研究 (Ming studies). 1998- (annual). Zhongguo Ming dai yan jiu xue hui (Taiwan). Some full-text. Formerly Ming dai yan jiu tong xun明代硏究通訊.find in a library
  7. Ming shi yan jiu zhuan kan 明史研究專刊 (Journal of Ming studies). 1978- (irregular). Ming shi yan jiu xiao zu (Taiwan). find in ubc(incomplete)
  8. Ming Qing shi ji kan 明清史集刊 (Bulletin of Ming-Qing Studies). 1985- (irregular). Department of Chinese, University of Hong Kong.
  9. Mindaishi kenkyū 明代史研究 (Studies on Ming history). 1974-2005 (annual). Mindaishi kenkyūkai 明代史研究会 (Japan). Especially useful for its review of scholarship (including Chinese and Korean). With the passing of Professor Yamane Yukio, this most useful publication has, unfortunately, come to the end of its life cycle. find in ubc
  10. Myŏng-Chʻŏng-sa yŏnʾgu 明淸史硏究 (Journal of Ming and Qing historical studies). 1992- (semi-annual). Society for Ming-Qing Historical Studies 명청사학회 (明淸史學會) (Korea). See table of contents(in Chinese) for nos. 1-22.

    Other Useful Journals:

    • 中央研究院歷史語言研究所集刊

Research tools


  1. Zhongguo li shi da ci dian 中国历史大辞典 (The great encyclopedia of Chinese history). Vol. 7: Ming shi. 1995. Edited by Wang Yuquan and Cao Guilin. Shanghai: Shanghai ci shu chu ban she. Contains short entries on events, people, reign names, emperors, institutions, laws, regulations, and book titles.


  1. Pinyin Conversion Project (Library of Congress). Guidelines for romanization.
  2. Romanization Converter . Converts Wade-Giles to Pinyin and vice versa.


  1. Wang Li gu Han yu zi dian 王力古漢語字典 (Wang Li’s dictionary of ancient Chinese characters). 2000. Compiled by Wang Li et al. Beijing: Zhong hua shu ju. Authoritative and convenient one-volume dictionary.
  2. Han yu da ci dian 漢語大詞典 (Comprehensive dictionary of Chinese). 1986-93. 13 vols. Edited by “Hanyu da cidian” bian ji wei yuan hui. Shanghai: Han yu da ci dian chu ban she; 3 vols., small-print edition, 1997. Note also Duo gong neng Han yu da ci dian suo yin 多功能汉语大词典索引 (Multi-function index to the Han yu da ci dian). 1997. Edited by Han yu da ci dian chu ban she and Zen bunka kenkyûjo. Shanghai: Han yu da ci dian chu ban she.
  3. Unihan Database. Maintained by John Jenkins. Provides image maps of the “unified Han” subset of the Unicode standard. Searchable by radical-stroke, definition, or one of six phonetic options: Cantonese, Mandarin, Tang, Sino-Japanese, native Japanese, and Sino-Korean. Provides dictionary definitions, indices to authoritative dictionaries (Kangxi, Morohashi, Dae Jaweon, Han yu da zi dian, Nelson, Matthews, and Meyer-Wempe), and extensive encoding information.
  4. Chinese Character Dictionary. By Thomas Chin et al. “Characters in this dictionary can be found using a number of dictionary search methods, including bushou (radicals), Mandarin (Hanyu) pinyin, Cantonese, Hakka, English, four corner, cangjie, and internal code.” Particularly useful for looking up stroke counts, pronunciations (including Japanese), four-corner, and cangjie codes. Part of Chinese Characters Dictionary Web.
  5. Dictionary of Chinese Character Variants . Mandarin Promotion Council, Ministry of Education (ROC).
  6. Lin Yutang’s Chinese-English Dictionary of Modern Usage . Chinese University Press (Hong Kong). “[B]ased on the first edition of the work . . . published in 1972 by the Chinese University Press. The dictionary comprises a total of 8,169 head characters, together with 44,407 explanatory entries of grammatical usage and 40,379 entries of Chinese words or phrases.”
  7. Matthews’ Chinese-English Dictionary. 1943. Revised American edition. By Robert H. Matthews. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press; 18th printing, 1996. As with all Chinese-English dictionaries, use with caution.
  8. Chinese On-line Searchable Dictionaries. Compiled by Marjorie. K. M. Chan. Updated periodically.
  9. Yuan Ming Qing wen xue fang yan su yu ci dian 元明清文学方言俗语辞典. 1998. Edited by Yue Guojun et al. Guiyang: Guizhou ren min chu ban she.


  1. Er shi wu shi ren ming da ci dian 二十五史人名大辞典. 1997. 2 vols. Edited by Huang Huixian. Zhengzhou: Zhong zhou gu ji chu ban she. Arranged by dynasty and searchable by stroke-count and stroke-order of simplified characters. A more convenient alternative is to search the twenty-five official histories through Scripta Sinica or Hanquan. See also Ming shi ren ming suo yin . 1985. 2 vols. Edited by Li Yumin. Beijing: Zhong hua shu ju.
  2. Li dai Ming ren shi ming bie hao ci dian 历代名人室名别号辞典(Alternative names for notable historical persons). 1998. Enlarged and revised ed. Edited by Chi Xiuyun. Taiyuan: Shanxi gu ji chu ban she.
  3. Dictionary of Ming Biography, 1368-1644. 1976. 2 vols. Edited by L. Carrington Goodrich and Chaoying Fang. New York and London: Columbia University Press. Authoritative. Includes indexes to names, books, and subjects. For a chronological listing, see Daniel Bryant, “A DMB Chronology,” Ming Studies 8 (1979): 27-40.
  4. Eminent Chinese of the Ch’ing Period. 2 vols. 1943-44. Edited by Arthur W. Hummel. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. Includes some Ming-dynasty figures not featured in DMB.
  5. Ming dai zhuan ji cong kan suo yin 明代傳記叢刊索引 (Index to biographical collections of the Ming dynasty). 1991. 3 vols. Edited by Zhou Junfu. Taipei: Ming wen shu ju. index to Ming dai zhuan ji cong kan , “a collection of 62 separate Ming biographical collections reprinted under Zhou’s editorship in 1991 in 160 vols.” (Wilkinson 49.5.2).
  6. Ba shi jiu zhong Ming dai zhuan ji zong he yin de 八十九種明代傳記綜合引得 (Combined indices to eighty-nine Ming-dynasty biographical collections).
  7. Ming ren zhuan ji zi liao suo yin 明人傳記資料索引 (Index to biographical materials of Ming-dynasty persons). 1965. Reprint 1978. 2 vols. Compiled by Chang Bide et al. Taibei: Zhong yang tu shu guan; reprint 1987, 1 vol. Beijing: Zhong hua shu ju.
  8. Ming dai di fang zhi zhuan ji suo yin 明代地方志傳記索引. 1986. 2 vols. Taibei: Da hua shu ju. Indexes to collections in Taiwan and Japan.
  9. Tianyige cang Ming dai fang zhi xuan kan: ren wu zi liao ren ming suo yin 天一閣藏明代方志選刊:人物資料人名索引. 1997. 2 vols. Edited by Hua dong shi fan da xue tu shu guan. Shanghai: Shanghai gu ji chu ban she.
  10. Ming Qing jin shi ti ming bei lu suo yin 明清進士題名碑錄索引. 1980. 3 vols. Edited by Zhu Baojiong and Xie Peilin. Shanghai: Shanghai gu ji chu ban she.
  11. Gu jin tu shu ji cheng zhong Ming ren zhuan ji suo yin 古今圖書集成中明人傳記索引 (Index of biographies of the Ming period in Gu jin tu shu ji cheng). 1963. Edited by Zhang Qun 章羣. Hong Kong: Ming dai zhuan ji bian zuan wei yuan hui.


  1. Chinese-Gregorian Calendar Converter (Academia Sinica)
  2. A Synchronic Chinese-Western Daily Calendar 1341-1661 A.D. 1984. Revised 1985. By Keith Hazelton. Minneapolis: Ming Studies Research Series, History Department, University of Minnesota.


  1. China Historical GIS . Harvard-Yenching Institute. Most useful datasets and tools. Essential.
  2. Zhongguo li shi di tu ji 中国历史地图集. 1982. 8 vols. Edited by Tan Qixiang et al. Shanghai: Di tu chu ban she; traditional-character ed., 1987. Hong Kong: San lian shu dian.
  3. Zhonghua renmin gongheguo di ming da ci dian 中华人民共和国地名大词典 (Comprehensive dictionary of place-names of the People’s Republic of China). 1998-2000. 3 vols. Edited by Cui Naifu et al. Beijing: Shang wu yinshuguan. Exceptional detailed descriptions with historical references.
  4. Zhongguo di fang zhi zong mu ti yao (Chinese local histories: a collection of 8577 annotated titles). 1996. 3 vols. Edited by Jin Enhui and Hu Shuzhao. Taipei, New York, and Los Angeles: Sino-American Publishing Co.
  5. Xu Xiake you ji 徐霞客遊記 (The travel diaries of Xu Xiake). 1987. 2 vols. Enlarged and revised edition. Shanghai: Shanghai gu ji chu ban she. See also Xu Xiake you ji ren ming di ming suo yin 徐霞客遊記人名地名索引 (Index to personal and place names in Xu Xiake you ji). 1993. Compiled by Feng Junian and Xiao Qi. Shanghai: Shanghai gu ji chu ban she; Xu Xiake (1587-1641): The Art of Travel Writing. 2001. By Julian Ward. Richmond, Surrey, UK: Curzon Press.

Official Institution

  1. A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China. 1985. By Charles O. Hucker. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Essential.
  2. Ming du fu nian biao 明督撫年表. 1982. 2 vols. By Wu Tingxie. Beijing: Zhong hua shu ju.

Arts & Archaeology

  1. Wen wu 500 qi zong mu suo yin (Index to the 500 issues of Wen wu). 1998. Compiled by Wen wu bian ji bu. Beijing: Wen wu chu ban she. Comprehensive index for 1950 to 1998.

More categories to follow . . .



  1. Si ku da ci dian 四库大辞典 (Dictionary of Chinese books). 1996. 2 vols. Edited by Li Xueqin 李学勤 and Lü Wenyu 吕文郁. Changchun: Jilin da xue chu ban she. Includes abstracts and information on editions for more than 20,000 works published before 1911. find in ubc
  2. An Introduction to the Sources of Ming History 明代史籍彙考. 1968. By Wolfgang Franke. Kuala Lumpur and Singapore: University of Malaya Press. A superb guide to more than 800 sources from the Ming period. See also the author’s chapter in the Cambridge History of China, vol. 7. find in ubc
  3. The Ming-Qing Conflict, 1619-1683: A Historiography and Source Guide by Lynn A. Struve. Monograph and occasional paper series, no. 56. Ann Arbor, Mich: Association for Asian Studies. Updated electronic edition here.

Ming Catalogs

  1. Qianqingtang shu mu 千頃堂書目. By Huang Yuji (1629-91). See also Senkeidô shomoku choshamei sakuin 千頃堂書目著者名索引 (index to authors in Qianqingtang shu mu). 1996. Compiled by Mindaishi kenkyû iinkai. Tokyo: Tôyô bunko.
  2. Ming dai shu mu ti ba cong kan 明代書目題跋叢刊 (Collection of prefaces and colophons from Ming-dynasty book catalogs). 1994. 2 vols. Edited by Feng Huimin 馮惠民 and Li Wanjian 李萬健. Beijing: Shu mu wen xian chu ban she. 30 titles. Catalogs included. find in ubc
  3. Song Yuan Ming Qing shu mu ti ba cong kan 宋元明清書目題跋叢刊 (Collection of prefaces and colophons from book catalogs from the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing periods). 2006. 19 vols. Beijing: Zhonghua shu ju. 95 titles (47 for the Ming). Catalogs included.

Online Databases

  1. Scripta Sinica 漢籍電子文獻 (info) Academia Sinica 中央研究院. Full-text searchable and browsable. Access to full database (excel list) by subscription. Freely available texts include: 二十五史, 十三經, 諸子, 通典, 朱子語類, 四書章句, 元刊雜劇三十種, 文獻通考, and 清代經世文編. Worth searching the full database (even for non-subscribers) to check if a particular title is accessible.
  2. Han quan寒泉古典文獻全文檢索資料庫. National Palace Museum 國立故宮博物院 (Taipei). Full-text searchable. Includes: 十三經, 先秦諸子, 全唐詩, 宋元學案, 明儒學案, 四庫總目, 朱子語類, 紅樓夢, 白沙全集, 資治通鑑, and 續通鑑.
  3. CHANT (CHinese ANcient Texts) 漢達文庫. Research Centre for Chinese Ancient Texts 中國古籍研究中心, Chinese University of Hong Kong. Full-text searchable. Texts to the sixth century. Plans to include 永樂大典 (details) and other encyclopedias 類書 of later dynasties.
  4. Guo xue bao dian 國學寶典 (link | info). Full-text. Collection of nearly 4,000 classical works. Categorized into classics 經, history 史, philosophy 子, belle-lettres 集, and special topics 專題. Not available through UBC.
  5. Center for Chinese Studies 漢學研究中心 (National Central Library, Taipei). Includes:
    Union catalog of collected writings of Ming literati 明人文集聯合目錄. Provides bibliographical information and tables of contents.


  1. Yongle da dian永樂大典 (Yongle encyclopedia) 1408. Edited by Xie Jin 解縉 (1369-1415) and others. 22877+60 juan (only about 4% of the original are extant). Reprinted in 10 vols. Beijing: Zhonghua shu ju, 1986.
    • Yongle da dian suo yin 永樂大典索引 (Index to the Yongle da dian). 1996. Compiled by Luan Guiming 欒貴明. Beijing: Zuo jia chu ban she.
    • Eiraku taiten sakuin 永楽大典索引 (worldcat). 2001. Compiled by Kinugawa Tsuyoshi 衣川強. Tokyo: Hakuteisha.
    • Yongle da dian fang zhi ji yi 永樂大典方志輯佚 (Compilation of materials from the local gazetteers in the Yongle da dian). 2004. Edited by Ma Rong 馬蓉 et al. 5 vols. Beijing: Zhonghua shu ju.
    • Yongle da dian yan jiu zi liao ji kan 永樂大典硏究資料輯刊 (Materials for research on the Yongle da dian). 2005. Edited by Zhang Sheng 張昇. Beijing: Beijing tu shu guan chu ban she.
    • “Yongle da dian” bian zuan 600 zhou nian guo ji yan tao hui lun wen ji 《永樂大典》編纂600周年國際硏討會論文集 (Proceedings of the international conference on the 600th anniversary of the compilation of the Yongle da dian). 2003. Edited by Zhongguo guo jia tu shu guan 中國國家圖書館. Beijing: Beijing tu shu guan chu ban she.

  2. (Qin ding) Gu jin tu shu ji cheng (欽定)古今圖書集成 (Compendium of illustrations and texts past and present). 1726-28. Edited by Chen Menglei 陳夢雷 (b. 1651) and others. 10,000 juan. Reprinted in 82 volumes (1: contents 目錄; 81: textual studies 考證; 82: index 索引). Chengdu: Ba Shu shu she, 1985.
    • Gu jin tu shu ji cheng ge bu lie zhuan zong he suo yin 古今圖書集成各部列傳综合索引 (Consolidated index of biographies in Gu jin tu shu ji cheng). 1988. Edited by Yang Jialuo 楊家駱. Taipei: Ding wen shu ju.
    • Gu jin tu shu ji cheng zhong Ming ren zhuan ji suo yin 古今圖書集成中明人傳記索引 (details).
    • Gu jin tu shu ji cheng yan jiu 古今图书集成硏究 (Study of Gu jin tu shu ji cheng). 2002. By Pei Qin 裴芹. Beijing: Beijing tu shu guan chu ban she.
    Three full-text searchable editions:
  3. (Wen yuan ge) Si ku quan shu (文淵閣)四庫全書 (The complete four treasuries). Full-text searchable. See table of contents (searchable in Han quan). Selected titles are available in PDF format through
    Si ku quan shu zong mu ti yao (zheng li ben) 四庫全書總目題要整理本. 1997. 2 vols. By Lu Guangming and others. Beijing: Zhonghua shu ju.
    Wen yuan ge Si ku quan shu shu ming ji zhu zhe xing ming suo yin 文淵閣四庫全書書名及著者姓名索引 (Index to titles and authors in the Wenyuange Si ku quan shu). 1986. Taipei: Shang wu yin shu guan.
    Si ku quan shu wen ji pian mu fen lei suo yin 四庫全書文集篇目分類索引. 1989. 5 vols. Taipei: Shang wu yin shu guan.
    Si ku quan shu zhuan ji zi liao suo yin 四庫全書傳記資料索引 (Index to biographical materials in the Si ku quan shu). 1991. 2 vols. Taipei: Shang wu yin shu guan.
    The Emperor’s Four Treasuries: Scholars and the State in the Late Ch’ien-lung Era . 1987. Cambridge, Mass.: Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University.
  4. Si bu cong kan 四部叢刊 (Collection of the four traditional divisions of texts). 1919-36. 3 series (初編/縮本, 續編, 三編). 504 titles (list 1 | 2). Shanghai: Shang wu yin shu guan. Reproduction of the earliest available editions. Note also full-text searchable edition 四部叢刊電子版 (info).
  5. Si bu bei yao 四部備要 (Essentials from the four traditional divisions of texts). 1937. Rev. ed. 336 titles (list).
  6. Cong shu ji cheng叢書集成.
  7. Xu xiu Si ku quan shu續修四庫全書.
  8. Union List of cong shu. Compiled by Cambridge University Libraries. Some with tables of contents.


  1. Beijing tu shu guan cang Zhongguo li dai shi ke ta ben hui bian 北京圖書館藏中國歷代石刻拓本匯编 (Collection of historical stone rubbings held at the Beijing [National] Library). 1989-91. Edited by Beijing tu shu guan jin shi zu 北京圖書館金石組. 101 volumes (incl. indexes). 20,000+ rubbings (2,000 from the Ming). Zhengzhou: Zhongzhou gu ji chu ban she. find in ubc
  2. Shi ke shi liao xin bian 石刻史料新編 (New collections of historical stone inscriptions). 1977[1982], 1979, 1986, 2006. 4 series. 100 vols. Taipei: Xin wen feng. find in ubc
  3. Zhongguo li dai shi ke shi liao hui bian (quan wen jian suo ban) 中國歷代石刻史料匯编 (全文檢索版) (Collection of historical stone inscriptions). 2004. CD-ROM (info). Beijing: Beijing shu tong wen shu zi hua ji shu you xian gong si. 15,000+ items. Full-text searchable.
  4. Specialized collections, such as:
    • Zhongguo xi nan di qu li dai shi ke hui bian 中國西南地區歷代石刻匯編 (Collection of historical stone inscriptions from Southwest China). 1998. Edited by Hu Renzhao 胡人朝, Wu Enyang 吴恩揚, and 張瑋. 20 vols. Tianjin: Tianjin gu ji chu ban she.

Libraries and Catalogs

  1. WorldCat. Useful for locating a text.
  2. Hollis (Harvard). Useful for bibliographical information.
  3. National Library of China 中国国家图书馆 (Beijing).
  4. Chinese Rare Book Catalog 中文古籍書目資料庫. National Central Library (Taipei). Catalog of rare books held by member libraries.
  5. 全國漢籍データベース. Union catalog of classical Chinese texts held by member librariesin Japan. Searchable with Chinese or Japanese.
  6. UK Union Catalog of Chinese Books. Incorporates records from the British Library, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Oxford, and SOAS. Searchable with the original script.
  7. EVOCS(European Virtual OPAC for Chinese Studies). Union catalog of major Chinese collections in Europe.
  8. Other major libraries for Chinese studies.


  1. Zhongguo Ming chao dang an zong hui 中國明朝檔案總匯 (Collection of archival documents from the Ming dynasty). 2001. Edited by Zhongguo di 1 li shi dang an guan 中國第一歷史檔案館 and Liaoning Sheng dang an guan 遼寧省檔案館. 101 vols. Guilin: Guangxi shi fan da xue chu ban she. 3,000+ documents from the First Archive; 900+ from Liaoning. Covers the entire span of the Ming period. Very important. find in ubc

Official Histories

  1. Ming shi lu 明實錄 (Veritable Records of the Ming). 1418 to mid-17th century. 3,045 juan(133 volumes). Reprint ed. Taipei: Zhong yang yan jiu yuan li shi yu yan yan jiu suo, 1984 (1961-66). Accompanied by 29 volumes of comparative notes and 21 volumes of appendixes; reprinted by Zhonghua shuju (1987). Invaluable records of the Ming reigns based on court diaries and daily administrative records.
    Scripta Sinica (Academia Sinica). Full-text searchable database. Restricted.
    Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: An Open Access Resource. Ed. and trans. Geoff Wade. Singapore: Asia Research Institute and the Singapore E-Press. Under continual development.
    Franke, Wolfgang. “The Veritable Records of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).” In Historians of China and Japan , edited by W. G. Beasely and E. G. Pulleyblank, 60-77. London: Oxford University Press, 1961.
    Ming shi lu yan jiu (Study of Ming shi lu). By Xie Guian. Taipei: Wen jin chu ban she, 1995. Author’s dissertation. A good place to gather basic information.
  2. Ming shi 明史 (History of the Ming). 1739. Edited by Zhang Tingyu (1672-1755) et al. 332 juan. Reprint ed. Beijing: Zhong hua shu ju, 1974. A standard reference compiled by early Qing scholars. The sections on Ming’s activities in Jianzhou should be used with care. A number of tools are available:
    Scripta Sinica (Academia Sinica). Full-text searchable database of the twenty-five official histories.
    Hanquan database (Palace Museum, Taipei). Compiled by Chen Yufu (Ch’en Yu-fu). Fully searchable text based on the Zhonghua shuju edition. Other standard histories are also available.
    Ming shi bian zuan kao 明史編纂考 (Studies of the compilation of Ming shi). 1968. By Huang Yunmei et al. Taipei: Xuesheng shuju. A collection of classic studies.
    Ming shi kao zheng 明史考證 (A textual study of Ming shi). 1979-86. 8 vols. By Huang Yunmei. Beijing: Zhong hua shu ju. Erudite emendations. Available online through Superstar.
    Wilson, Thomas A. “Confucian Sectarianism and the Compilation of the Ming History.” Late Imperial China 15.2 (1994): 53-84.
    Ming shi ren ming suo yin 明史人名索引 (Index of personal names in Ming shi). 1985. 2 vols. Edited by Li Yumin. Beijing: Zhong hua shu ju. Available online through Superstar.
    Minshi keihôshi sakuin 明史刑法志索引 (Index to “Essay on Punishments” in Ming shi). 1981. By Noguchi Tetsurô. Tokyo: Kokusho kankôkai.
    Ming shi shi huo zhi jiao zhu 明史食货志校注(Notes on “Essay on Food and Money” in Ming shi). 1982. 2 vols. Edited by Li Xun. Beijing: Zhong hua shu ju. Passages from the text followed by notes.
    Minshi shokkashi yakuchû 明史食貨志訳注 (Annotated translation of “Essay on Food and Money” in Ming shi ). 1996. 2 vols. Revised ed. Edited by Yamane Yukio. Tokyo: Kyûko shoin. Original edition by Wada Sei (1890-1963) was published in 1957 by Tôyô bunko. Includes indexes, tables, and maps; now with corrections and updated bibliography.

More categories to follow . . .

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