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Chinese Studies: Primary Sources

The guide provides some starting points for your research of China at Duke

What is primary source?

A primary source is a first-hand account of an event, examples:

Historical Primary Source: In the field of history , a primary source is a document that gives historical evidence and, typically, was created at the time being studied, by someone with first-hand knowledge, example: local gazetteers 地方志; 新方志数据库

Scientific Primary Source: In science a primary source is an original report of an experiment or observation by the researche, example: 

  • Notes
  • Patents
  • Studies or Surveys
  • Technical Reports

Finding primary sources about China

Numerical dataHong Kong, Queen Road


Primary source databases

diariesDuke Library Catalog: use Subject Headings with

  • personal narratives
  • sources
  • correspondence
  • interviews
  • films 

Rubenstein library digital collections:

Primary sources in many formats--letters, diaries, oral histories, newspapers, pamphlets, zines, etc.--are available in Duke's Rubenstein Library, 316 Perkins.