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East Asian Studies: EA 150


Images: (Clockwise from left to right) Hachiman in Buddhist robes, Statue of the legalist Shang Yang, Statue of Confucious in Manilla, A Baksu holding a gut, A Taoist Temple in Taiwan (All images sourced from Wikimedia commons)


Think Strategically about Your Research


  • Looking up background information first can save you time later - use Credo Reference or print dictionaries and encyclopedias

  • Use terminology and facts learned from the background information to search for articles in the Bibliography of Asian Studies, Academic Search Complete and other databases at right. Articles present an argument on a particular aspect of a topic, not facts alone.

  • Search for books in any of Colby's catalogs, expanding your search with subject linking. The longer form of a book provides greater breadth of general information or greater depth of argument.
  • Search for images in ArtStor and web sources.
  • Whenever you use web browsers, make sure to notice the url and consider what type of entity has created the web pages you are looking at. Try using Google Advanced Search, and Google Advanced Image Search.

  • Investigate the notes and bibliographies of every good source you find for leads to more

  • Think about what sorts of publications the information you need might be published in
If you need help with anything, don't hesitate to contact me:                              


Use Reference Sources to look for...

  • definitions
  • historical context
  • biographical information



Use scholarly journals to learn what arguments are being made in the area of your research and to help hone your own argument.

Scholarly journals...

  • report original research in a specific discipline
  • typically contain peer reviewed articles           

To identify a scholarly journal article, look for...

  • an abstract
  • in-text citations
  • a bibliography


                           Please Note!   Some journal articles are tricky to get to.  Korea Journal requires some navigational steps, using a search box to find the issue number and article title you want; then you can click on the File icon to pull up the article.   Please email me if you run into difficulty!



Colby has many e-books in the catalog. Here are a few tips for making the best use of any titles that bear on your topic.

  • Notice the wording of the link that takes you to the book. Does it say Cambridge Books Online? Or E-Book Central? SpringerLINK ebooks?
  • All of these platforms give the table of contents on the access page. The Index at the bottom of the list can be very useful!
  • All also provide a search box you can use to search within the book. With E-Book Central, you need first to click the button Read Online to reach a screen with a box to "Search within book."
  • Cambridge and most other platforms allow you to download pdf files chapter by chapter.
  • E-Book Central, however, has rather strict limits. You can download the entire book to hold in electronic form only for 21 days. Alternatively, you can download permanently, or print, a single chapter or a percentage of pages in  the book.  The third option is to read online without downloading or printing. There are no limits for you in doing this, but be aware that only 1 or 3 (depending on the book) people can read the book at once.


Don't neglect reference books, shelved around the new reading room that looks toward the chapel. In the DS call number section you will find books like those below:

Historical Dictionary of Revolutionary China, 1839-1976   REF DS740.2 .H57 1992  Articles 2-3 pages long on important people, events, concepts, such as a Hundred Flowers, the Long March, Peng Te-Huai. In English.

Japan  (in the series, Asia in Focus)  REF DS821 .E5127 2009 The focus of this book is culture, but economics and politics are covered, too. Lists of citations throughout and at the back of the volume are up to date through the early years of this century. The 40-page Facts and Figures section beginning on p.347 gives an idea of the sorts of statistics that are easily available.

Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Korea   REF DS904.8 .N34 2004  Look up events, concepts, people, and especially organizations and government departments. The extensive bibliography is divided by topic and includes periodicals, newspapers, and websites. 

The first segment of each of these call numbers will help you find good places to browse in the main stacks, too.


Tips for Using Historical Abstracts & MLA Bibliography:

  1.  Take advantage of folders and the ability to export citations 
  2.  Use search limits to refine your results
  3.  Explore MLA's Names as Subjects feature and Historical Abstract's chronologies under Clio Notes.
  4.  Add Subject Terms to narrow your search by topic.
  5.  NEVER GIVE UP! Almost every article will be available to you either online or through Interlibrary Loan (My ILLiad Account). If something looks good to you, be persistent in your hunt.


Constructing Citations: 

EXAMPLE of Chicago Style on a Works Cited page for an article retrieved from a database:

DuBois, Thomas. "Asia and the Old Wolrd Order." History Today 63,no.3 (2013): 12-19. Accessed February 16, 2014.

thus the formula is:

Author. "Title of Article." Title of Journal  volume #. issue # (year): page numbers. Date of access [month day, year]. [Stable URL or DOI.]

MORE EXAMPLES and explanations at Purdue's OWL site:     and at Hacker: History

and on this Colby Library guide page

Annotated Bibliographies:

Example from CUNY

Example in Chicago style from U of Washington


To request books from Bates, Bowdoin, or Colby Storage.

            Click where the arrow points; then fill in the form that appears with your name and the barcode number on the back of your Colby ID.


Search the CBB Collections:


Advanced Search

Expand your search to include articles by using OneSearch

Extend your search to libraries worldwide with WorldCat

How To : Requesting Books Through CBBcat

How to sign up for ILLiad

For Help Using the Library Website



1. Read the instructions and question your text carefully. What types of sources do you need?

2. After you do an initial keyword search in a catalog or database, examine the Subject lines for helpful vocabulary. These lines are hot-linked to all other records in the system that have that same subject.

3. Remember searching tricksconfuci* = Confucius, Confucian, Confucianism ; "Asian values" searches that exact phrase ; "economic miracle" AND Asia searches for records with both these terms. Adding NOT southeast eliminates articles on southeast Asia from your results.

4. Too many or too few results? Add more search terms, experiment with different words that have similar meanings, or broaden out your search. A general book on Confucius / Confucianism will probably have a section on women in Confucian thought and the history of scholarship on this topic. Use the index!

5. Notes and bibliographies! Remember to look for and use these. They will guide you in discovering the work done to date on any topic.



Search databases for newspaper, magazine & journal articles:


Use subject headings for finding books at Colby. Examples:

More leads to sources:

For Images:

  • ARTstor from all periods and world cultures, including architecture, painting, sculpture, etc.
  • Colby Imago - Colby's own image collection within ARTstor


For Cinema:


For more Primary Sources:

  • FBIS - Foreign Broadcast Information Service. Click on Asia and then select countries from the list at left, enter keywords at top. These are CIA reports on broadcast news around the world, 1941-96.
  • DNSA and   NSA - Explore both to find collections of declassified documents related to China, Japan, and the Koreas.

For Information about Music:


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