Skip to main content

China and Inner Asia: Home

Induction to Chinese Studies e-resources


Minh Chung (Teaching Collections)
tel: +44 (0)1865 280432

Dr. Mamtimyn Sunuodula (Special Collections and Research Collections)
tel: +44 (0)1865 277217

Charles Manson (Tibetan and Himalayan Collections)
tel: +44 (0)1865 277083


Guides to PCAS: printing, copying & scanning facilities in the Bodleian Libraries

Guidance on using the PCAS Printing, Copying and Scanning Service (opens in a new window)

Other links

Bodleian iSkills - Workshops in Information Discovery and Scholarly Communications These workshops are aimed at researchers, academic staff, research students and librarians from across the University.

Research and Resources Guides -  a wide range of research, resource and library guides are available from our  LibGuides service.

Collection overview

The Chinese and Inner Asian collections contain material on the languages and cultures of China, Mongolia and Tibet.

Chinese books were among the Library's earliest acquisitions after its foundation in 1602 and numbered over 100 volumes by the end of the 17th century. By the 1920s, following the acquisition of key collections in the 19th century, including 1,500 Protestant missionary publications, Oxford had one of the finest Chinese book collections outside the Far East. The modern sinological collection, which began to develop after the Second World War, concentrated on traditional literature, history, philosophy and religion. More recently, the Library has begun systematically to acquire materials relating to the study of modern China, including local gazetteers, reproductions of 20th century newspapers and a wide range of electronic resources in Chinese. It is now one of the largest and fastest-growing Chinese collections in Europe.

The Library has a handful of Mongolian manuscripts. Printed resources are more numerous and include works produced in China, Inner and Outer Mongolia and other areas with Mongolian-speaking populations, together with a wide range of supporting material.

The Bodleian Library has a significant collection of Tibetan manuscripts, many of which were acquired in the 19th century. In recent years, substantial bequests from two Tibetologists, Michael Aris and Hugh Richardson, have greatly strengthened resources for modern Tibetan and Himalayan studies, in terms of both archival and printed materials.

See more information about Oriental Manuscripts & Rare Books at

Libraries and reading rooms

The main reading rooms are the Bodleian KB Chen China Centre Library (libguide), and the Eastern Art collection of the Sackler Library (third floor).  The research collection is held off-site in the book storage facility and readers may request materials to the reading rooms.

The pre-modern Chinese collections which include many rare and interesting works from the late Ming to the end of the Qing (late 16th to early 20th centuries) are consulted in the Charles Wendell David Reading Room of the Weston Library. No part of this collection is borrowable.

Teaching material for undergraduate and initial postgraduate study is kept in the China Centre Library. This collection aims to provide a solid foundation for all study and course work on the University's curriculum, and most of the material may be borrowed, as can China-related social science materials in the Social Science Library.

The location of particular items can be determined by SOLO in the case of western language materials, and the Chinese catalogue in the case of materials in Chinese. Parts of the Chinese language teaching and research collections are still catalogued on cards only, so the absence of an entry in the allegro catalogue does not necessarily indicate that the item is not held. The card catalogue is available in the China Centre Library. Items which are held off site and are listed either in the Chinese catalogue can be requested using SOLO.


The teaching collection relating to Tibet and the Himalayas is currently housed in the Oriental Institute Library.

Essentials of the Tibetan research collection are in the David Reading Room (Weston Library), and the rest of the research collection is stored in Swindon - the latter books can be ordered through SOLO to be read in the Oriental Institute Library, or other reading rooms of your choice.

Following the Library of Congress decision in April 2015 to use the Wylie transliteration system for romanization of Tibetan letters, new library records for Tibetan language works are henceforth in Wylie. We are assured that old records, and old authority records, will eventually be in Wylie, but in the meantime searches should be done in both the Wylie and the old ALA-LC systems (only 4 Tibetan letters are differently transliterated: nga, nya, zha, sha).

SOLO has a facility for searching for only Tibetan language books (adjust the 'language' menu in 'advanced search').

Information on the Tibetan manuscripts collection is here ,

a digital catalogue for the Tibetan manuscripts collection is known as Karchak:

and a descriptive catalogue of the Tibetan manuscripts at Bodleian (created by John Stapleton Driver and David Barrett) is here.

See also Archives Hub

The Bodleian Library has the hard drives for the early TBRC digital collection (Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center) files of Tibetan texts, TBRC Core Collections 1-13.

Access to the subsequent Buddhist Digital Resource Collection (BDRC) is here

Gene Smith's Green Books (TBRC/BDRC) are available here with Oxford sign-in.

The PL-480 Tibetan Literature microfiche collection is in the David Reading Room (Weston Library), a useful search tool for it (use Wylie) is here.

Teaching and research materials relating to Chinese and Tibetan art and archaeology are kept in the Eastern Art collection at the Sackler Library.


Important eResources

Chinese Studies:

Please see the list of Chinese Studies e-resources on the website of the China Centre Library.


Tibetan and Buddhist Studies

For Tibetan Buddhism texts, please see BDRC (Buddhist Digital Resource Center), and its earlier incarnation is TBRC (Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center), both searchable with Wylie transliteration, or in Tibetan.

Also available, Srid pa rgyud Bon-po manuscript scan, from the H.E. Richardson collection.

and Gene Smith Green Books (Wylie).

TBRC/BDRC explanatory videos are here

ORA (Oxford University Research Archive) website has photographic images of recently found rNying ma’i rgyud ‘bum (43 volumes) from Sangs rgyas gling dgon pa, presented by Dr R. Mayer. The initial web page is here

ORA also has website access to Two Family Libraries from Pemako (padma bkod), presented by Dr. R. Mayer, see here

PL-480 Tibetan Literature microfiches text/author search tool (Wylie)

For photographic resources for Tibet pre-1950, see the Pitt Rivers Museum's Tibet Album site here 

For updates on the Tibetan Collection see Facebook page 

or for less frequent notices, Bod Blog