Library Resources

Library and Copyright Services

Ask a Korean Studies Librarian
Virtual reference service provided by the members of the Korean Collections Consortium of North America. Reference inquiries may be emailed to and expert Korean Studies librarians provide answers in English or Korean within two business days.

INKSLIB (International Network of Korean Studies Librarians). Seoul: National Library of Korea.
This is a highly useful service to benefit overseas Korean Studies librarians, provided by of the National Library of Korea. Registered overseas librarians may request document delivery and reference services in English or Korean. The “Window on Korea” program provides substantial collections on Korea (up to 4,000 items of books, DVDs, CDs, etc.) to successful applicants. PLEASE NOTE: Intended for LIBRARIANS. Scholars do not have direct access to this service; they must request service through Ask a Korea Studies Librarian (above).

Han’guk Poksa Chǒnsongkwǒn Hyǒphoe | 한국 복사 전송권 협회 | Korea Reprographic and Transmission Rights Association (KRTRA).
Established in 2004 to facilitate the collection and distribution of copyright fees, this Association basically acts as a broker between the copyright owners and the users, thus relieving both of the onerous tasks of tracking each other down. This highly recommended service is open to all libraries. Please note that this service is provided via LIBRARIES. Scholars needing this service are encouraged to contact Ask a Korean Studies Librarian.

Open Access Databases and Portals

Research Information Service System (RISS)
(open access for bibliographic information; partially open access for full-text)
RISS is the scholarly arm of the Korean Education and Research Information Service (KERIS), a national service organization for education and research programs. As the largest academic bibliographic utility in Korea, as of July 2011 RISS’s databases included the union catalog of more than 9 million records from 663 academic libraries, over 2.9 million articles from 158,000 domestic journals (11,000 of them in full-text), more than 1.5 million domestic dissertations (913,000 in full-text) and more than 20,000 foreign dissertations on Korea or by Koreans. RISS International, a fee-based service for overseas libraries, provides interlibrary loan/document delivery services.

Han’guk yǒksa chǒngbo t’onghap sisǔt’em | 한국역사정보 통합시스템 | Korean History Online
Han’guk Yǒksa Chonghap Chǒngbo Sent’ō 한국역사정보 종합센터, ed. Kwach’chǒn: Kuksa P’yǒnch’an Wiwǒnhoe
This reputable portal site provides a one-stop search engine for numerous historical databases built and shared by nearly twenty organizations including the National Institute of Korean History, Academy of Korean Studies, Kyujanggak Institute of Korean Studies, etc. There is a directory organizing materials according to the type: historic books and documents, periodicals, classical translations, research data, bibliographies and catalogs, biographies, maps, dictionaries, chronologies, multimedia, historical relics and sites, epigraphs, the chronicles of the Chosǒn dynasty, and old newspapers. The federated search engine provides bibliographic information fetched from various sources—one can easily get carried away while exploring different interfaces and catalogs.

National Digital Library
(open access for bibliographic information; partially open access for full-text)
This portal site provides the holdings of the nine participating libraries and portal services: the National Library, the National Assembly Library, the Digital Science Library, the Korean Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI), RISS, the Korean Agricultural Science Digital Library, the Korean Knowledge Portal, and the National Defense Digital Library. A single search displays results separately for the nine participating databases, providing full text information when available to registered users.

National Assembly Library’s Digital Library
(open access for bibliographic information; partially open access for full-text)
One of the two national libraries in Korea, the National Assembly Library’s extensive books, journals, non-book materials, newspapers, dissertations, articles, and the legislative knowledge database are exceptionally strong in the social sciences. As of April 2011, its full-text or image resources included 136,000 books, 101 archaic books, 730,000 dissertations, and over 1 million articles in 22 million pages. The fulltext of copyrighted works is accessible through IP authentication, requiring a two-step process for access: Libraries must first register their IP addresses with the National Library of Korea, and then sign up for the copyright management service of the Korea Reprographic and Transmission Rights Association.

National Library of Korea’s Digital Library (NLDL)
(open access for bibliographic information; partially open access for full-text)
The largest national library in Korea, the NLDL is known for its strong humanities collections, early printed books, maps, foreign publications on Korea, and humanities dissertations (covering up to 1997). Its colonial collection (1894–1945) has been fully digitized for open access while other older serials have been microfilmed. The fulltext of copyrighted works is accessible through IP authentication, requiring a two-step process for access: Libraries must first register their IP addresses with the National Library of Korea, and then sign up for the copyright management service of the Korea Reprographic and Transmission Rights Association.

Gateway to Korean Studies
Provides links to 12 of the most important research resource centers on Korean Studies in Korea.

Kǔnhyǒndae yǒnsok kanhangmul | 근현대 연속 간행물
Korean historic magazines, newspapers, and gazettes
This authoritative site by the National History Compilation Committee provides browsable title listings to full-text images for 103 historic magazines, 104 newspapers, and 3 official government gazettes published from the late 19th to the early 20th century.

Korean Romanization

[ALA/LC Rules for] Korean romanization and word division
Based on the McCune-Reischauer System but further developed by the Library of Congress for the purpose of bibliographic description of Korean works, this is the bibliographic standard used by libraries in the western world for the Romanization of Korean. As such, knowledge of these rules is essential for all Korean Studies librarians as well as Korean Studies scholars and authors who publish their works in the western media. The major portion of this work is devoted to word division, an often neglected aspect in other Romanization rules of Korean. See also The Romanization of the Korean language, based upon its phonetic structure and “Tables of McCune-Reischauer System for the Romanization of Korean” (below).

The Romanization of the Korean language, based upon its phonetic structure.” G.M. McCune and E.O Reischauer. Transactions of the Korea Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, XXIX: 1-55. Seoul: Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch, 1939.
This work explains the widely used McCune-Reischauer Romanization system in detail with considerable linguistic information. See also [ALA/LC Rules for] Korean romanization and word division (above); and “Tables of McCune-Reischauer System for the Romanization of Korean” (below).

Tables of McCune-Reischauer System for the Romanization of Korean.Transactions of the Korea Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, XXXVIII: 121-128. Seoul: Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch, 1961.
This is an abbreviated version of the full article above, together with tables for ready consultation and convenient practical use. See also “The Romanization of the Korean language, based upon its phonetic structure”; and [ALA/LC Rules for] Korean romanization and word division (above).

The Revised Romanization of Korean. Seoul: National Academy of the Korean Language, Ministry of Culture & Tourism, 2000. 33 p.

The main thrust of this South Korean system was to eliminate the diacritics which have been a major source of criticism for the McCune-Reischauer System (The romanization of the Korean language, based upon its phonetic structure.) While this is not the bibliographic standard in the western world, it is gaining popularity due in part to the influence of the South Korean promotional efforts. South Korea-sponsored research projects and gift book catalogs generally use this system.


Note: Major Korean periodical and newspaper indexes have been converted and integrated into most online library catalogs and databases. Tables of contents and book reviews of current publications are available from online bookstores and various portal sites such as Naver index.nhn and Daum

Chǒnggi kanhaengmul kisa saegin | 정기간행물 기사색인 | 定期刊行物 記事索引 | Index to periodical articles. Seoul: Taehan Min’guk Kukhoe Tosǒgwan.
Chǒnggi kanhaengmul kisa saegin: haebangjǒn kanhaeng pun, 1910–1945 | 定期 刊行物 記事 索引: 解放前 刊行 分, 1910–1945 | Index to periodical articles, 1910–1945. Taehan Min’guk Kukhoe Tosǒgwan 大韓民國 國會圖書館. Seoul: Kukhoe Tosǒgwan, 1982. 306, 53, 17 p.

Created by the National Assembly Library of Korea, this database is the most comprehensive index to scholarly or otherwise “quality” articles published in Korea since 1910. It had been published serially until it ceased in 1998, around which time it was also published on CD-ROM in Kukhoe Tosǒgwan munhǒn chǒngbo, then became an online database. The retrospective compilation for the 1910-1945 articles was published as a book in 1982, as listed above. As of May 2011, ca. 2.9 million articles were indexed, of which more than 1.03 million articles, mostly in the social sciences, were in full-text.

Indexes: Newspapers

Note: Most Korean newspapers, including many important historic titles, are available online in full-text or images in searchable databases, making print indexes rarely in demand.

Korean Integrated Newspaper Database System (KINDS)
This is an integrated searchable database for newspaper articles in full-text since 1990 including: Kyǒnghyang sinmun 경향신문, Kungmin ilbo 국민일보, Naeil sinmun 내일신문, Tonga ilbo 동아일보, Munhwa ilbo 문화일보, Sǒul sinmun 서울신문, Segye ilbo 세계일보, Hangyǒre sinmun 한겨레신문, Han’guk ilbo 한국일보, Asia Today 아시아투데이 and some English papers. For 1960–1989, scanned images of the four major dailies, Kyǒnghyang sinmun 경향신문, Tonga ilbo 동아일보, Sǒul sinmun 서울신문, Han’guk ilbo 한국일보 are viewable by date. Also includes historic newspapers, some searchable as image or text. Editorials are translated into English.

Naver nyusǔ raibǔrori | Naver 뉴스 라이브러리 | Naver News Library
This searchable database of major newspapers from 1920–1999 offers powerful full-text keyword searching, navigation functions, and three display options: the original text of mixed Hancha (Chinese characters) and Korean Han’gǔl, the all Han’gǔl version of the text, and the original images. The image quality of even older issues is highly legible. As of January 2012, Tonga ilbo 동아일보, Kyǒnghyang sinmun 경향신문, Maeil kyǒngje sinmun 매일경제신문, and Han’gyǒre sinmun 한겨레 신문 are currently available, with Yǒnhap news and Tongnip sinmun 독립신문 (both Korean and English eds.) scheduled to follow. While registration is required for detailed searching for domestic users in Korea, overseas academic institutions and libraries can register their IP addresses for direct access without the login and authentication process.

Han’guk kǔnhyǒndae sinmun charyo | 한국 근현대 신문자료 | Korean historic magazines and newspapers
This is an integrated database of many historic newspapers published from 1905–1931, offering browsable full images by specific dates. The following newspapers are included, which are also searchable individually: Kongnip sinbo 공립신보, Tonga ilbo 동아일보, Pusan ilbo 부산일보, Sidae ilbo 시대일보, Sinhan minbo 신한민보, Chayu sinmun 자유신문, Chosǒn chungang ilbo 조선중앙일보, Chosǒn sibo 조선시보, Chungang ilbo 중앙일보 (1931–1933), Chungoe ilbo 중외일보, and Sinmun sǔk’ǔraep charyo 신문스크랩자료 [Newspaper article clippings].

Tonga ilbo saegin | 東亞日報 索引 | Index to Tonga daily newspaper articles. Seoul: Tonga Ilbosa, 1970-

A full-image database of this representative newspaper of Korea with a long history. The entire run is searchable by various search options. PDF image files are accessible by specific dates.

Chosǒn ilbo saegin | 朝鮮日報 索引 | Index to Chosŏn daily newspaper articles. Seoul: Chosǒn Ilbosa P’yǒnjipkuk Chosabu. Annual.

(Subscription required) A full-text database of Chosǒn ilbo, a major newspaper with a long history. Supports various search options for precise retrieval. Highly legible PDF images are also accessible by selecting specific dates.

Chungang ilbo PDF kanp’yǒn kǒmsaek | 중앙일보 PDF 간편 검색 (1965- ) | Chungang daily newspaper articles in PDF
(Fee per view) The archive of the entire run (1965- ) is viewable on a fee per-issue basis.

Korean Studies Libraries

Academy of Korean Studies Library

Kyujanggak Institute of Korean Studies

Information Center on North Korea

Korean Collections. Committee on Korean Materials, Council on East Asian Libraries

Korean Collections Consortium of North America
Members of this cooperative collection development/resource-sharing program receive annual grants from the Korea Foundation to develop specialized subject collections and freely share them with any Korean Studies scholars or general users in North America. The website provides information about each member’s specialized subjects and websites, a comprehensive bibliography on Korean Studies Librarianship outside of Korea, and links to useful services of the Consortium such as the virtual reference service, “Ask a Korean Studies Librarian.”

Kukka Kirogwǒn | 국가기록원 | National Archives of Korea
The holdings of this searchable database include 2.7 million archival sources including the colonial period, 2.3 million audio-visual and photographs, and 220,000 serials from government and non-government sources. It also holds presidential archives, foreign documents related to Korea, oral histories, etc.

Commercial Database Services

[A Guide to] Collective subscription of Korean e-resources. Miree Ku, ed.
This is a comprehensive guide to all major Korean commercial databases. Since its primary audience is the current and potential members of the collective subscription consortium which is partially sponsored by the Korea Foundation, the site includes information about the Korea Foundation, qualifications for membership, application forms, etc. Individual librarians and scholars who are not members will also find this site useful as a comprehensive guide to all major and relevant commercial Korean e-resources, complete with product information, contact information for each provider, etc.

E-Korean Studies (EKS)
This consortium of commercial database vendors for Korean Studies serving overseas libraries provides integrated searching for all the participating companies’ content described below.

  • Korean Studies Information Service System (KISS)
    Journal articles, e-books, and newspaper archives in full-text covering a wide range of disciplines, including Chosǒn ilbo daily newspaper archive, 1920-
  • KoreaA2Z
    E-books and online lectures on a wide range of subjects, including some reference works and classics.
  • Kdatabase
    Research articles and source materials on modern Korean history, 1945-
  • Kpjournal
    North Korean science journals, with two dictionaries (a biographical dictionary, and an encyclopedia)
  • Korean History & Culture Research Database
    Archaeology journals and excavation reports.
  • History Culture Series
    Archaeology and art history
  • LawnB’s Legal Information Service
    Law and business


  • DBpia
    Provides full-text articles in all subject areas.
  • KRpia
    Provides a wide range of classical texts and reference sources in Korean Studies.

Kyobo Scholar
Full-text articles database in all subjects.

Full-text articles database in all subjects.

KPM Chosǒn ǒllon chǒngbo kiji | 조선 언론 정보 기지
North Korean news and journal articles database.

Bibliographies: Korean Studies

Studies on Korea: A Scholar’s Guide. Han-Kyo Kim and Hong Kyoo Park, eds. Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii, 1980. 438 p.
Written by subject experts, this highly respected, annotated bibliography consists of 16 chapters corresponding to customary academic disciplines: archaeology, history, philosophy and religion, language and linguistics, literature and folklore, art-music-drama, education, geography, sociology and anthropology, economics, political science, law, and international relations, including general bibliographic information in chapter 1 and North Korean studies and Russian-language materials on Korea in chapters 15 and 16 respectively. Each chapter consists of two parts: an introductory essay and a bibliography. The essay presents an outline, a summary, or an overview of the subject area along with an assessment of the scholarly endeavors of the past, present, and future. The sole exception is the history chapter which opens with a general survey and historiography followed by four chronological sections, each with a narrative essay and bibliography. The appendix includes a chronology of the Korean rulers and an author index. The bibliographic information is romanized in the McCune-Reischauer system (with some exceptions.) See also the supplement, Korean History: A Bibliography (below)

Korean History: A Bibliography. Kenneth R. Robinson, comp.
An update and supplement to Studies on Korea: a scholar’s guide (See above), this is an up to date unannotated bibliography covering a wide range of Korean history scholarship including political, diplomatic, and economic history, historical linguistics, art history, literature, philosophy and religion, and overseas Koreans, etc. Includes publications that have appeared since the aforementioned annotated bibliography of 1980 and recent publications not cited in that work. Chronologically, coverage concludes in the 1960s.

Books on Korea. Korea Foundation.
Designed for foreigners interested in Korea, this website offers bibliographic and descriptive information about Korea-related materials published in Korean as well as in foreign languages. Non-English bibliographic information is translated into English (using the revised South Korean Romanization system). Subject specialists or librarians provide annotations in English and Korean for each title. The listings, browsable and searchable, are organized in three categories: Korean studies (3,746 titles as of spring 2011), Korean language (107), and Multimedia (603). Registered libraries or institutions can create and submit wish lists online for the Korea Foundation’s annual Reference Materials Distribution Program.

The Harvard Korean Studies Bibliography. Frank Hoffmann, Matthew J. Christensen, and Kirk W. Larsen comps. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.
This bibliography on CD ROM contains 83,143 references covering publications from the sixteenth century to 1997 in four database files: “Theses” contains 7,011 references; “Books, Book Sections, and Reviews” contains 26,388 references; and “Articles, 1786–1991” and “Articles, 1992–1997” together contain 49,744 references. About 90 percent of all the references are written in English.

Bibliographies of Dissertations

A Century of Doctoral Dissertations on Korea, 1903–2004: An Annotated Bibliography of Studies in Western Languages. Frank Joseph Shulman, comp. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2012; 5 v.
This comprehensive annotated bibliography of the Western-language doctoral dissertations on Korea or Koreans written from 1903–2004 includes 14,173 dissertations accepted by ca. 900 institutions worldwide written in English, French, German, Russian, and some other languages, including ca. 800 Doctorate of Ministry (D.Min.) dissertations written in Korean and accepted by US institutions. The dissertations are classified by subject, then by year of degree and then by each author’s family name alphabetically. Each entry includes all or part of the following information: Author (name, birth year, and gender; the McCune-Reischauer Romanization of Korean names is provided in the Author Index), title (with English translation for non-English titles), institution, year and type of degree, pagination, bibliographical citations to published abstracts, availability, URI or URL of an electronic version, annotation in English, table of contents (with English translation for those in Russian and other East European languages), bibliographical citations to books published by the author in a Western language (and, occasionally, in Korean) based on his/her dissertation, etc.

Han’guk Paksa mit Sǒksa hagwi nonmun ch’ong mongnok | 韓國 博士 및 碩士 學位 論文 總 目錄 | List of theses for the Doctor’s and Master’s degree in Korea [Union Catalog of Korean Dissertations and Theses] Seoul: Taehan Min’guk Kukhoe Tosǒgwan.

  • (partially open access)

After its 1945/68 issue, it had been published annually until it ceased with v. 29 (1997–1998). Since then, it was published on CD-ROM in Kukhoe Tosǒgwan munhǒn chǒngbo, then became open access database on the Web. Currently (2011) some 1.4 million dissertations are included and searchable by title, author, university name, keywords, and the table of contents. Many dissertations held by the Korean National Assembly Library (KNAL) are freely available in full-text. Those under the copyright are accessible once three-way license agreements are signed among the library (user), the Korean National Assembly Library (content supplier), and the Korean Reprographic and Transmission Association (copyright broker) as described in Han’guk Poksa Chǒnsongkwǒn Hyǒphoe
Research Information Service System (RISS).

Provides the largest number of domestic (the majority of them in full-text) and foreign dissertations on Korea or by Koreans.

National Library of Korea (NLK) Digital Library

The National Library offers open access to 7,816 humanities dissertations, covering to 1997. The copyrighted works are accessible once three-way license agreements are signed among the library (as the user), the Korean National Assembly Library (the supplier), and the Korean Reprographic and Transmission Association (the copyright broker) as described in Han’guk Poksa Chǒnsongkwǒn Hyǒphoe

Dictionaries: Online Open Access

The following dictionary sites offer many languages with convenient search options.

Daum sajǒn | Daum 사전 | Daum dictionaries

Naver sajǒn | Naver사전 | Naver dictionaries

Nate sajǒn | Nate 사전 | Nate dictionaries

Paran sajǒn | Paran 사전 | Paran dictionaries]

Yahoo! Korea tonghap sajǒn | Yahoo! Korea 통합 사전 | Yahoo! Korea integrated dictionaries.

Dictionaries: Korean Studies

Korea: a historical and cultural dictionary. Pratt, Keith and Rutt, Richard, eds. Surrey, England: Curzon Press, 1999. 568 p.
Contains approximately 1500 entries covering Korean civilisation from early times to the present day. The subjects include politics, history, art, archaeology and literature. There are illustrations and maps.

Basic glossary of Korean studies | Han’gukhak kibon yongǒjip | 한국학 기본 용어집. Ki Joong Song, ed. Seoul: Korea Foundation, 1993. 338 p.
Selected by Professors of archaeology, art, education, folkore, language, literature, music and dance, philosophy, political science, public administration, and religion, the terms are arranged in the Korean alphabet order. The general terms found in English dictionaries were excluded. Each entry consists of 1) the term in Korean, 2) Hancha (Chinese characters) if applicable, 3) the McCune-Reischauer romanization, 4) classification in angle brackets, and 5) English translation(s). Untranslatable terms (e.g. official titles, music terms, proper names, etc.) are briefly explained.

Glossary of Korean Studies | Han’gukhak Yǒngmun yongǒ yongnye sajǒn | 한국학 영문 용어 용례 사전. Sǒngnam: Academy of Korean Studies.
An attempt to “standardize English terms of Korean Studies,” this online database currently contains 14,000 terms and phrases, with no proper nouns included. Each entry includes: the term in Korean, Hancha (Chinese characters), South Korean Romanization, McCune-Reischauer Romanization, Korean and English definition(s), usage examples, and a bibliography of sources.

Han’gukhak sajǒn | 한국학 사전 | Dictionary of Korean Studies. Hwang, Ch’ung-gi 黃忠基, ed. Seoul: Kukhak Charyowǒn, 2002. 1052 p.
This enlarged ed. of Han’gukhak chusǒk sajǒn compiles Korean terms originating from Hanmun (Chinese) to aid the new generation of students and scholars with limited knowledge in Hanmun who find it difficult to understand historic Korean texts. Each entry includes the term in Hancha (Chinese characters), the Korean equivalent, and definition(s) in Korean. The source and the term’s contexts are provided where appropriate.

Pukhan taesajǒn | 북한 대사전 | Dictionary of North Korea. Seoul: Pukhan Yǒn’guso, 1999. 1309 p.

This encyclopedic dictionary on North Korea lists over 5,000 entries on politics, economics, society, culture, geography, defense, inter-Korea relations, 300 major North Korean figures, annotations of major publications of top party leaders, North Korean periodicals and scholarly publications. The entries were written and signed by South Korean scholars. The appendix includes the constitution, treaties, chronology, events calendar, etc. The online version is searchable and browsable.

Tongyanghak taesajǒn | 동양학 대사전 | Dictionary of Korean and East Asian studies. Im, Chong-uk 임종욱, ed. Seoul: Kyǒngin Munhwasa, 2006. 4 v.
More than 95,500 terms related to the study of Korea and East Asia are listed in Korean along with Hancha (Chinese characters) or the original script equivalent, with definitions in Korean. It can be used as a simple biographical dictionary as well. Vol. 4 includes Han’guk yǒktae munjip ch’ongsǒ mongnok 韓國 歷代 文集 叢書 目錄, a catalog of the 3000-volume reprint set of early collected works by Korean authors, with brief annotations to each.

Online Who’s Who

(Otherwise indicated, basic information is free; detailed information may require a fee)

Chosǒn ilbo inmul chǒngbo | 조선일보 인물정보 | Chosǒn Daily’s bio database

Dong-a news inmul chǒngbo | 동아뉴스 인물정보 | Tonga Daily’s bio database

Joins inmul chǒngbo | 조인스 인물정보 | Joins bio info database

Naver inmul kǒmsaek | 네이버 인물검색< | Naver bio info database (open access)

Yahoo! directory inmul chǒngbo | 야후! 인물정보 | Yahoo! Directory’s bio database

Yǒnhap news inmul chǒngbo | 연합뉴스 인물정보 | Yonhap News Agency’s bio database (open access)