Collections and resources at the K B Chen China Centre Library

A scroll manuscript in Chinese with illustrations

Image of Wang Xizhi and his father Wang Xianzhi by Zhao Mengfu, calligraphy by others. 1313 © Bodleian Libraries. Backhouse Rolls a.31

Due to staff shortages, Scan & Deliver services at the KB Chen China Centre Library are currently suspended.



The Bodleian Libraries’ Chinese Studies collections are comprised of teaching and reference collections held in KB Chen China Centre Library, Chinese research collections in the Book Storage Facility, rare books and special collections in the Weston Library, and art and archaeology collections in the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library.



The Bodleian Libraries' holdings of books and journals are discoverable in SOLO. When searching Chinese language items, please use Chinese characters or disaggregated pin yin (ie pin yin, not pinyin).


The Chinese allegro catalogue has not been updated since 2019 but will continue to be available for a transitional period. It can be searched using traditional Chinese characters or non-aggregated pin yin. Alternatively, use the four corner catalogue (四角目錄).

Chinese rare books and manuscripts

Serica is a subset of the Chinese allegro catalogue giving details of the Chinese pre-modern (pre-1912) and special collections.

The card catalogue of Asian and Middle Eastern manuscripts is available as a fully searchable database, the Catalogue of Asian and Middle Eastern Manuscripts. The content of the Chinese section of this catalogue will gradually be added to the main Chinese catalogue and the Serica catalogue.

The conspectus of Chinese shelfmarks records information on date of acquisition, provenance, current and obsolete shelfmarks for selected items in the Chinese collection.

Chinese material acquired before 1992 is entered in the author/title card catalogue (Wade-Giles transliteration). The author and title catalogue also lists the works of congshu held in the library.

Finding aids for Asian and Middle Eastern manuscripts and rare books

Visit our guide to the finding aids available for Asian and Middle Eastern manuscripts and rare books in the Bodleian Library.

Find out more about catalogues on our guide.

Chinese rare books and manuscript enquiries

Dr Mamtimyn Sunuodula


Chinese Studies subject guide

A guide to resources for Chinese Studies.

Databases A-Z: Chinese Studies

A list of Chinese Studies e-resources available through the Bodleian Libraries. Some resources will require an Oxford SSO to access.

Digital Bodleian

Discover almost a million images of rare books, manuscripts, and other treasures from the Bodleian Libraries and Oxford college libraries.


Our Chinese e-resources have been purchased by the Bodleian Libraries for our readers. They may be used while in the library, and University members may also gain access to them from elsewhere.

In most cases, access to the resources is limited to one or two simultaneous users, so please fully exit these databases (by clicking the 'log off' button if there is one, and not simply closing the browser). This is to ensure that the next user will not experience a delay while the database resets itself.

If you are having trouble viewing or accessing e-resources, please check the following:

  • Are you using Internet Explorer? Most Chinese e-resources will not work properly, if at all, with other browsers.  
  • If you are not in either the China Centre Library or connected to the Oxford University network, have you remembered to load the VPN?  
  • Are you trying to access the resource at a time of day when others are likely to be using it? In the interests of economy, our access is in most cases limited to a single user or two concurrent users.

If the problem persists, please contact the China Centre Library team.