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Sources for Modern and Contemporary China: Home

Purpose and Overview

The purpose of this research guide is to aid researchers who would like to conduct research on modern and contemporary Chinese, Taiwanese, and Hong Kong humanities subjects, such as literature, pop culture, film, theater, and music. The guide will be of particular use to researchers who have reading proficiency in Chinese, though English and other Western-language resources are also included. This tab includes some introductory information about conducting research for Chinese-language sources and locating important resources about modern and contemporary Chinese humanities that may come in useful. The following tabs contain, respectively: a list of helpful web portals and databases, a list of important tertiary resources in Van Pelt's collection, a list of helpful digital community resources, a listing of the location of Chinese-language books about different aspects of modern Chinese humanities in Van Pelt, and a similar listing of such books in English and other Western languages.

Frequent Links

Dictionary Resources

Print Resources at Van Pelt Library:

Hanyu da cidian 汉语大词典   (East Asia Seminar Room PL 1420 H36 1987)

How to Search for Chinese-Language Sources on Franklin

Chinese characters can be typed directly into the Franklin search box, using either traditional or simplified characters. In case the search engine does not recognize the search terms when they are entered as characters, they may also be entered as pinyin. When using pinyin to search, take care to use Library of Congress formatting. The main principles are that each separate syllable of pinyin  words should be separated (e.g. pin yin). The main exceptions are names of geographical entities and of people (e.g. Zhongguo, Shen Congwen). For a complete list of Library of Congress formatting principles regarding pinyin, see the following link:


Chinese Studies Librarian and Coordinator of Area Studies Collections

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Brian Vivier
Van Pelt Library 525

Other Useful Chinese Research Guides at Penn


This guide incorporates contributions by Gina Elia.  Many thanks to her for her hard work!