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Asian Studies: Start Here

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Asian images banner by Melissa Rothman (2022)


This page contains general resources for conducting research in Asian Studies. For more specific primary and secondary sources, take a look at the region-specific resources for Asian Studies.

Recommended Databases

Use these databases to find articles and/or essays in scholarly journals and books.


Open Access

This online newspaper directory offers a directory to thousands of newspapers from around the globe. Organized by country & region, users can easily find media through direct links for each region in Asia.


For resources involving Asian American culture, check out our virtual book display for AAPI Heritage Month. 


AAPI Home page


Note that some of the primary source materials contain content that is considered offensive today. These materials are a reflection of the cultural attitudes of the period and in no way reflect the values of the creator of this guide or the University of Louisville. For any feedback on improving or adding to this guide, please contact

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Melissa Rothman


Encyclopedia Britannica Logo

Asia - Encyclopedia Britannica

Information on the land, people, economy, administration and social conditions, cultural life, and history. 

World Factbook logo

The CIA World Factbook The World Factbook provides basic intelligence on the history, people, government, economy, energy, geography, environment, communications, transportation, military, terrorism, and transnational issues for 266 world entities.

asia for educators logoAsia for Educators

Asia for Educators (AFE) of Columbia University provides educational materials on world history, culture, geography, art, and literature at the undergraduate and pre-college levels. 

BBC Logo

BBC Country Profiles
Full profiles provide an instant guide to history, politics and economic background of countries and territories, and background on key institutions.

uofl libraries logoUofL Government Resource Guide 

Our Government Resources guide provides an extensive list of articles related to politics, culture, and society for every country across the globe.

Recommended Books

Encyclopedia of Global Studies
Encyclopedia of Modern Asia
Encyclopedia of Asian History
Encyclopedia of Asian Theatre
A Dictionary of Asian Mythology
Becoming Asia
The Eastern Frontier
Central Asia in World History

Primary Sources

These databases provide access to digital archival materials such as manuscripts, letters, photographs, moving image and sound materials, artwork, books, diaries, and other artifacts. We also have many more that cover specific regions such as China, Japan, and India. Visit the subpages for each country to find more focused resources on your region of study.

loc collections Library of Congress Digital Collections

Many items in these digital collections are rare materials, some of which are the most valuable titles and editions dating back to the 11th or 12th century and are the only extant copies in the world....

Colonial Films: Moving Images of the British Empire

This website holds detailed information on over 6000 films showing images of life in the British colonies. "Search Film By Country" to locate South Asia content. Over 150 films available for viewing online.

The Smithsonian's Museum of Asian Art

The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives is a manuscript and photograph repository dedicated to furthering the study of Asian and Middle Eastern art, archaeology and culture.

Brooklyn Museum: Arts of the Islamic World

The Brooklyn Museum is one of the largest art museums in the United States and one of the premier art institutions in the world.

Asia Art Museum

The Asian Art Museum–Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture is one of San Francisco's premier arts institutions and home to a world-renowned collection of more than 18,000 Asian Art treasures spanning 6000 years of history

The Silkroad Foundation

A non-profit organization, established in 1996, to promote the study and preservation of cultures and art on Inner Asia and the Silk Road. The Silkroad Foundation provides resources, information, and interactive exchange toward the pursuit of educating communities about Inner Asia and the Silk Road.

Asia Art Archive

With one of the most valuable growing collections of material on the recent history of art from Asia, freely available from our website and onsite library, AAA builds tools and communities to collectively expand knowledge through research, residency, and educational programmes.

CrossAsia Digital

CrossAsia offers access to specialised information from the entire spectrum of humanities and social sciences from and about Asia.CrossAsia supports the Asia-related studies in research and teaching in Germany and beyond. Digitized collections for South Asia include: Literature on South Asia, Sontheimer Slide Collection, Early Bengali Literature, and Documenta Nepalica.

Books - Religion & Philosophy

A Dictionary of Asian Christianity
Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy
Digital Culture and Religion in Asia
The Bible and Asia
Buddhism and Its Religious Others
Buddhists - Understanding Buddhism Through the Lives of Practitioners (eBook)
Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions (eBook)
Zen Pathways -  An Introduction to the Philosophy and Practice of Zen Buddhism
From Stone to Flesh - A short History of Buddha
The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism
Buddhist and Islamic Orders in Southern Asia

Religion & Philosophy


A large network of Buddhist information and education including directories of Buddhist centers and temples worldwide, electronic publishing of Buddhist teachings and scriptures, study guides and open access eBooks and articles.

The Buddhist Digital Archives

A cooperative platform for expanding access to Buddhist literature. Explore the millions of pages of texts contributed by BDRC and its many partners.

Encyclopedia of Shinto

A collection of resources about Shinto, provided by the Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics, Kokugakuin University, Japan.

Hinduism Today

The magazine presents through a Hindu perspective a wide range of topics including education, culture, cosmology, philosophy, ethics, sociology, film, music, spirituality, food, and travel. 

NTU Digital Library of Buddhist Studies

A guide created by the National Taiwan University containing a database of 106,647 full-text Buddhist articles in 45 languages


Khamseen: Islamic Art History Online is a free and open-access online platform of digital resources to aid the teaching of Islamic art, architecture, and visual culture