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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

East Asian Languages and Cultures 550: Legal History of China

A course guide.

1. The Online Catalog

Use the Online Catalog to find books. In the Online Catalog you can search for books by subject, or you identify the location within the Library of a particular book or journal.

Books and journals are organized in the library by subject. Each item is assigned one or more subject headings and a unique call number. Subject headings are standardized terms from the Library of Congress. The call number is based on the Dewey Decimal Classification.

2. I-Share

The UIUC Library is one of 70+ member libraries comprising the I-Share consortium. I-Share libraries share an online catalog, I-Share, and UIUC students, staff, and faculty can borrow directly from the other libraries in the consortium by placing a request through the catalog.

You can also search the UIUC catalog separately. When you use the Library Gateway, this is the first option under “Library Catalogs,” and normally you will want to start by searching UIUC only.

3. Center for Research Libraries

The Center for Research Libraries complements the collections of the Library here at Illinois by collecting materials otherwise difficult for North American research libraries to acquire. See their topic guide on materials from and related to China. You can search their Catalog using the same search strategies you would use in our catalog (see below). To borrow materials from the Center for Research Libraries, request them through our Library's Interlibrary Loan service.

Below are some examples of the kind of monographic material available through CRL.

4. Why Bother with Subject Headings?

Why bother with subject headings when one can do keyword searches in the online catalog?

It’s true that you can find sources on a topic by doing keyword searches. But if you limit yourself to keyword searching, you are likely to miss important material on your topic that uses other terms. If you only need two or three books, you can probably find what you need by doing keyword searches, but if you are doing historical research, you can’t afford to miss critical material on your topic. For a comprehensive subject search, search with subject headings as well as keywords.

A good way to identify subject headings for a topic is to do a keyword search in the online catalog using terms you think describe the topic and try to identify a few relevant books. Look at the full record for those books to see what subject headings were used, then do another search on those headings.

As a rule of thumb, use fairly broad headings, as well as the specific ones that describe your topic, in order to make sure you haven't inadvertently eliminated relevant material that is contained within works of larger scope. Most likely you will find multiple headings to describe your topic, and you should use all of them. You can narrow your search in the online catalog by combining subject headings (as a phrase) with keywords, using the “Advanced Search” option.

5. Example Subject Headings

  • Law--China.
  • Law--China--Bibliography.
  • Law--China--History.
  • Law--China--History--20th century.
  • Law--China--Hong Kong.
  • Law reform --China.
  • Practice of law--China--History.
  • Constitutional law--China.
  • Civil law--China--History.
  • Marriage law--China.
  • Family policy--China.
  • Family size --Government policy --China.
  • Birth control --Government policy --China.
  • Abortion --Government policy --China.
  • China--Population policy.
  • Women--Legal status, laws, etc.--China--History.
  • Children--Government policy--China.
  • Medical policy--China.
  • Practice of law--China--History.
  • Justice, Administration of--China.
  • Judicial process--China.
  • Criminal law--China--History.
  • Criminal justice, Administration of--China--History.
  • Drug traffic--Government policy--China--History.
  • Local government--China.
  • Inheritance and succession--China--History.
  • Right of property--China--History.
  • Land tenure--China--History.
  • Land use--Government policy--China.
  • Contracts--China.
  • Fiscal policy--China--History.
  • Banks and banking--Government policy--China.
  • China--Economic policy.
  • Monetary policy--China.
  • International law--China--History.
  • China--Foreign relations.
  • China--Military policy.
  • Terrorism--Government policy--China.
  • Legislation--China.
  • China--Politics and government.
  • Environmental policy--China--History--20th century.
  • Telecommunication policy--China.
  • Mass media policy--China.
  • Government and the press--China.
  • Social engineering--China.
  • China--Social policy.
  • Public welfare--China.
  • Poor--Government policy--China.
  • Ethnicity--Government policy--China--History.
  • Minorities--Government policy--China--History.
  • China--Cultural policy.
  • Literacy--Government policy--China--History.
  • China--History--Republic, 1912-1949--Sources.
  • Women--China--Social conditions.
  • Women--China--History.
  • China--Statistics.

6. Searching the Online Catalog

To search the online catalog, go to the Library Gateway and click on Library Catalog. The online catalog offers both “Quick Search” and “Advanced Search” options. Use “Advanced Search” to identify subject headings on your topic, to combine subject headings (or elements from subject headings) in a Boolean search, or to combine keywords from any part of the record with subject headings to narrow your search.

Use “Quick Search” to browse a subject heading, to search a title when you know exactly how it begins, to locate a work or works by a particular author, or to search by call number for a specific book.

7. Ebooks

In addition to the 10 million+ printed books available to you here in the Library, we also have a rapidly growing collection of digitized books.

Internet Archive and Google Books.
Hundreds of thousands of books digitized from the collections of North American and British research libraries, including University of Illinois. These are the two largest digitized book collections that are free to use.

Archive of Americana.
Includes Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans, 1639-1800, and Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801-1819, as well as 3 major government documents collections: American State Papers, 1789-1838, U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1980, and Serial Set Maps, 1817-1980.

Early English Books Online (EEBO).
Digital facsimiles of almost every book printed in the English-speaking world from 1473-1700.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO).
Fully searchable collection of nearly 150,000 English-language works published between 1701 an 1800. Search Tip! Try limiting your search to the “front matter” of books (tables of content, prefaces, forewords) or the “back of book” indexes.
ACLS Humanities E-Book (formerly History E-Book Project).
Includes more than 2,000 scholarly books (as of January 2009) in the humanities, made available in digital format by the   American Council of Learned Societies.