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Korean Studies: Home


The Korean collection on the 5th floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center houses monographs and bound journals in Korean. The Derk Bodde East Asian Seminar Room collects core reference works in Korean. The Current Periodicals Section on the first floor of Van Pelt maintains unbound Korean periodicals of a general nature as well as periodicals on Korean studies in European languages. The University Museum Library and the Fisher Fine Arts Library hold a number of Korean monographs in anthropology, archaeology, and art/architecture. 

East Asian Seminar Room

Located on the fifth floor (room 526) of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, the Derk Bodde East Asian Seminar Room houses more than 3,400 reference books in East Asian studies and 46 unbound core academic journals in Chinese and Japanese (other current journals are housed in Current Periodicals Section on the first floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center). Although these reference resources do not circulate, East Asian Studies professors and graduate students may borrow items with the Chinese or Japanese bibliographer's special written permission

Korean Collection at Penn

Welcome to the Korean Studies LibGuide

Our collection primarily supports the faculty and students who research and teach Korean studies at the University of Pennsylvania. This LibGuide is designed to help you to find Korean studies materials.  


The Korean studies faculty set the direction of the Korean collection. Four major academic subject areas evolve through this basic curricular/research framework:

  1. Archaeological and architectural investigations centered on the Koguryo Kingdom, particularly the Koguryo tomb and monastery;
  2. Pre-modern, modern, and contemporary Korean history;
  3. History of art focused on Korean ceramics and Korean gardens, studied comparatively with those in China and Japan; and
  4. Pre-modern, modern, and contemporary Korean literature.

The curricular content of Korean studies is interdisciplinary and simultaneously comparative, though the range of comparison is limited geographically to Asia: that is, the majority of Korean studies courses are taught in comparison with both Japan and Chinese elements. The current Korean collection reflects the interdisciplinary and comparative nature of the academic and research direction that is prevalent today.


The first priority of the Korean collection is to acquire the current core materials of the highest academic quality in supported Penn's academic programs with special emphasis on reference works including bibliographies and indexes as well as essential academic journals. These core materials cover anthropology, archaeology; art and architecture; history of art; and Korean history, civilization, and literature encompassing all periods. Recommendations and requests from faculty members and students are given serious consideration. Materials bearing direct relevance to the academic programs and research receive the highest priority in purchasing. Each title must meet the following selection criteria: the title is essential to the curricular mission and needs of the Korean studies faculty, and the title contributes to current collection balance in a subject area. At present the Korean collection holds more than 7000 volumes of monographs and subscribes to 18 journals. In addition to the Korean collection at Van Pelt Library, a number of branch libraries within the university library system collect and maintain materials on Korea both in European and Asian languages, most notable of which are the University Museum Library and the Fisher Fine Arts Library.

Subject Guide