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SOAS Library

About the Collection

  • What’s in the collection?
    • The China and Inner Asia section contains material on China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Tibet, Mongolia, Eastern Siberia and East Asia in general.
    • The coverage of the collection is very wide and reflects the range of subjects taught in the School and the library’s national role.
    • The collection consists of some 200,000 volumes of printed materials, many items in microform and thousands of ebooks , some 5,000 periodical and newspaper titles, 1,100 pre-1949 local histories, and 600 congshu (collectanea)
    • A rich resources for modern and contemporary China studies and a solid working basis for the study of pre-modern China

    The following sections contain material that may also be of interest

  • Online Card Catalogue

    The Online Card Catalogue is a back-up covering some older material, acquired by SOAS Library before 1989, which are not yet available in the SOAS Library Catalogue.
    The catalogue is transcribed using the Wade-Giles Romanisation system with titles information in Chinese characters.

  • Location

    The majority of material relating to China and other areas covered by the Section is kept on Level C. Some Cong shu (丛书) and Fang zhi (地 方志) are kept on Level F.

    Materials in western languages on China and related areas arranged first by country or area codes and then by subjects.  For examples: CC 305.8 / 723516

    An in-house system of classification is used for Chinese language books, whose shelfmarks comprise of five parts. For example: c. 801. d. 3 / 648752

    List of Countries, regions and language shelfmarks


    **Books prefixed L or Ref are separately located
    Anhui - CCA             
    Beijing - CCFA
    China - CC
    East Asia - CF
    Fujian - CCD
    Guangdong - CCN
    Guangxi - CCM
    Guizhou - CCO
    Hainan - CCNA
    Hebei - CCF
    Henan - CCE
    Hong Kong - CE
    Hunan, Hubei - CCG
    Jiangsu - CCL
    Jiangxi - CCK
    Kansu - CCJ
    Macao - CEA
    Manchu - CK
    Manchuria - CCP
    Mongolia - CI
    Mongolian (Cyrillic script) - CJC
    Mongolian (Uighur script) - CJU
    Neimenggu  - CCH
    Ningxia - CCQ
    Qinghai - CCC
    Shaanxi - CCT
    Shangdong - CCS
    Shanghai - CCLA
    Shanxi - CCR
    Siberia - CG
    Sichuan - CCW
    Taiwan - CCX
    Tangut - CN
    Tibet - CL
    Tibetan - CM
    Xinjiang - CCV
    Yunnan - CCY
    Zhejiang - CCB

    For a full listing of classmarks and their location, please consult the Location List.

  • Notable collections

    Johnston Collection

    The library of Sir Reginald Fleming Johnston (1874-1938) was bequeathed to SOAS after his death.  He was a British administrator, first in Hong Kong (1898-1903) and then in Weihaiwei district, Shandong Province (1904-1918) and oversaw the District’s return to China in 1930.  He was English tutor to Puyi, last Emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1918-1925), and later joined SOAS as Professor of Chinese (1931-1937).

    The collection comprises some 16,000 volumes, mostly in Chinese and English, with some in Japanese and Sanskrit.  It is rich in Buddhism and 1920s Chinese literature, including mountain chronicles.  Johnston was well-connected to those in high positions, including well-known authors.  His collection includes autographed editions of Hu Shi (1891-1962) a Nationalist diplomat, philosopher and scholar, the poet Xu Zhimo (1897-1931) and an album of paintings by Chen Shu (1612-1682) dedicated to Johnston. 

    The Collection is closed access you can contact the Subject Librarian of China and Inner Asia and the list of Collection can be searched from our online catalogue Johnston Collection

    For more information about our Collections see SOAS Library: Why is it special?

  • Special Collection

    Morrison Collection

    Assembled by Dr. Robert Morrison (1782-1834), the first Protestant missionary to China, in Guangzhou and Macao from 1807-1823 and important in the history of cultural contacts between China and the West.  

    The collection contains over 800 Chinese titles, mainly 17th and 18th-century Chinese blockprints.  Subjects include medicine, astronomy, Buddhism, Daoism and literature as well as history and philosophy.

    To consult the collection please contact SOAS Archives and Special Collections