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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. Historical Abstracts

The two main article databases for history are Historical Abstracts and America: History and Life. One or the other of these databases is usually the best starting place to search for scholarly articles in English on topics in history.

America: History and Life covers articles, book reviews, and dissertations on all periods of North American history published since 1964, and in some cases it provides links to the full text of the articles online. Historical Abstracts covers articles, book reviews, and dissertations published since 1954 on all aspects of world history, excluding North America, from 1450 to the present.

If you select the Easy Search tab on the Library Gateway, your search will be run in America: History and Life and Historical Abstracts, as well as several other multidisciplinary sources. In addition, you can click on “Easy Search” under Quick Links on that page to get the option to limit your search to articles on history.

Searching these databases directly, rather than through Easy Search, offers you more search options. You can browse a list of subject terms by clicking on "Index" on the left side of the blue bar across the top of the screen.  (Choose "Subject terms" from the drop-down menu and enter your term in the "Browse" search box.)  You can construct Boolean searches by using the Advanced Search option and combine keywords or subject terms or both. 

Your search results display as short records, which you can expand by clicking on the title. The full entry shows you an abstract or summary of the article. Some of the records provide a link to the full text of the article.

2. Other Article Databases

Multidisciplinary Databases

here are several specialized or multidisciplinary article databases that provide indexing of scholarly articles on historical topics.

Related Disciplines

Article databases designed for other disciplines may also be useful to historians. Examples include:

3. Ejournals

There are several major collections of full-text electronic journals. In these databases you can browse individual issues of journals, or you can do a search across the entire database.

For older journals, use JSTOR ("journal storage"). This is a digitized, fully searchable version of the full content of more than 700 scholarly journals from their inception (sometimes as early as the 18th century) up to the last 1-5 years (recent issues are excluded). To get to JSTOR, go to the "Quick Links" on the History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library web site, or go to Online Research Resources and type "JSTOR" in the search box. Some of the titles you will find in JSTOR:

  • China Journal
  • China Quarterly
  • Economic and Political Weekly
  • Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies
  • Journal of Asian Studies
  • Modern China
  • American Journal of International Law
  • American Journal of Legal History
  • International and Comparative Law Quarterly
  • Journal of Interdisciplinary History
  • Law and History Review
  • Journal of Marriage and the Family

Periodicals Archive Online is another full-text source of journal literature in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Coverage extends back more than 200 years.

For the full text of more than 300 recent scholarly journals, use Project Muse. These too are fully searchable. In most cases, only the issues from the last few years are available. Here you will find, for example,

  • China: An International Journal
  • China Review International
  • Late Imperial China
  • Twentieth Century China
  • Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies

To get to Project Muse, go to the "Quick Links" on the History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library web site, or go to Online Resources from the Library Gateway and type "Project Muse" in the search box.

The full text of recent issues of twenty scholarly journals in history is available through the History Cooperative, which includes the American Historical Review, Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Oral History Review, Journal of American Ethnic History, Journal of Social History and Health and History. To get to History Cooperative, go to the "Quick Links" on the HPNL web site.

Still other full text collections cover more popular periodicals. For American periodicals published between 1740s and 1930s, use American Periodicals Series Online. For British periodicals, try British Periodicals (covers 1680s to 1930s) and 19th Century U.K. Periodicals. You'll find 19th Century U.K. Periodicals especially useful for its subcollection on "New Readerships", which includes women's and children's periodicals (see the collection's Topic Guide for more information).

Also of interest:

4. Legal History Journals

5. Periodicals on Microfilm