Databases and Repositories for the Study of Christian-Muslim Relations in East Asia: A Preliminary List (Part 2)

In the first part of this post, I provided readers with a list of resources for discovering texts and authors that are potentially relevant to Christian-Muslim Relations (CMR) in China and Japan. In this part, I will provide a list of databases and repositories where digitized versions of relevant texts can be read. This reflects the two-part process of the research that I have been conducting as part of Brill’s Christian-Muslim Relations: A Bibliographical History and related projects. First, I seek to discover the names of potentially relevant authors and texts. Secondly, I seek to locate, where possible, digitized (or physical) versions of those texts. As noted in the last post, this series of posts is based on earlier lists published in Digital Orientalist such as “Online Searchable Dictionaries for Islamic Studies: A Preliminary List” and “Full-Text Online Arabic Sources: A Preliminary List“.

Finding Digitized Texts

1. Bibliotheca Sinica 2.0 – A bibliography of texts pertaining to Sino-Western encounters before 1939. The bibliography contains links to digitized versions of each text in digital repositories from around the world. Free.

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2. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has the largest digital collection of any German Library. I have found it particularly useful for accessing digitized versions of older, German-language texts that pertain to CMR in China. Available in English and German. Free.

3. Gallica – Gallica is the digital repository of Bibliothèque nationale de France. I have used it to access digital versions of older, French-language texts. The repository is particularly useful due to the prominence of French missionaries in China between the 17th and early 19th Centuries. Available in French, English, and Italian. Free.

4. Google Books – Most readers will be familiar with Google Books. Its search function can be useful, but has limitations. Since I prefer the interfaces of some of the other databases and repositories in this list, I generally only opt to use Google Books if the text I need to access is unavailable elsewhere. Available in multiple languages. Free and paid.

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5. HathiTrust – The HathiTrust Digital Library contains a large number of digitized texts. In my experience, it often contains digitized texts which are not found in the other databases and repositories on this list. Moreover, the HathiTrust regularly provides multiple versions of a text from different libraries. Free.

6. Internet Archive – The Internet Archive is the primary repository that I have used whilst researching CMR in China and Japan. The fact that texts come in multiple formats and can be searched is particularly useful especially for finding obscure references to CMR within texts that pertain primarily to other topics. Internet Archive is usually my first port of call before turning to other databases and repositories. It is primarily useful for accessing texts written in European languages. Free.

7. Monumenta Historica Societatis IesuArchivum Romanum Societatis Iesu provides some digitized volumes of Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu on its website through links to the HathiTrust (see above). Particularly useful for the study of CMR in East Asia in the 16th Century are Monumenta Xaveriana and Documenta Indica. Available in English and Italian. Free.

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8. National Diet Library Digital Collections – The National Diet Library Digital Collections or Kokuritsu Kokkai Toshokan Dejitaru Korekushon 国立国会図書館デジタルコレクション is the digital repository for Japan’s National Diet Library. It contains numerous texts pertaining to CMR in China and Japan from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, as well as some earlier texts and their reprints. It is particularly useful for accessing Japanese language resources. Available in English and Japanese. Free.

Closing Thoughts

Building on my previous post on the topic, this post has sought to introduce readers to some repositories and databases that I have used to access textual sources pertaining to Christian-Muslim Relations in East Asia. As I noted in the previous post, the publication of the Christian-Muslim Relations: A Bibliographical History series means that many relevant textual sources pertaining to CMR in East Asia can be identified through recourse to the book series and its online counterpart, however, the resources listed above remain indispensable for those who wish to read the primary sources noted in the series in their entirety and who lack access to physical copies.

I hope this list (and its first part) may be useful for other researching Christian-Muslim Relations and the history of Islam in China and Japan.

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