Bibliotheca Sinica 2.0 explores Sino-Western encounters by ways of texts and images published before 1939 and is intended as an extension of the bibliography Western Books on China in Libraries in Vienna/Austria, 1477-1939.

Bibliotheca Sinica 2.0 aims to provide information on digitized books on China (published up to 1939) freely available in digital repositories (see: references) all over the world. By this means our project wants to facilitate further research on the various aspects of the history of Western perceptions and Sino-Western relations. To maintain this, references to some major bibliographies are provided.

At the very beginning of the project (in 2003) we started to compile lists of old and rare books in the holdings of the Austrian National Library (Vienna) and the Library of the University of Vienna. In spring 2004, a first version of this lists was published on-line (since October 2004 on the pages of the Department of History, University of Vienna), referring to about 2000 titles that have been retrieved in searching the various catalogs of the two major libraries of Vienna. In further developing these lists, we also included printed material available in the Library of the Austrian State Archives.

Considering the numerous efforts of digitization that have been developed during the last years, the next stage of the project was to include information on digitized versions of old and rare books on China to be found in freely accessible digital repositories around the globe. In 2006-7, these lists were considerably augmented (now containing about 3000 titles of Western books on China published before 1939). The search for digital resources on the history of Sino-Western encounters was stimulated in summer/fall 2009 by the preparation of a course on the history of Sino-Western cultural relations held at the Department of History, University of Vienna.

For most of the titles referring to some major bibliographies this site intends to facilitate further research on the vast field of the history of Western perceptions of China and Sino-Western relations. As mass digitization projects go on and our project is a kind of work in progress, we will continuously expand the lists of/links to digitized versions given in single entries.

While we try to keep the links up to date and use permanent links whenever possible, we do not guarantee permanent accessibility.
Reports of broken links, corrections, and suggestions are appreciated.


From the description of „Western Books on China in Libraries in Vienna/Austria, 1477-1939“

Over centuries, Viennese libraries acquired – among many other treasures – rich materials on China: Dictionaries, early translations of Chinese classics, travelogues, maps, atlanti. The earliest examples for materials dealing with China date from the late 15th century (first printed edition of a German version of Marco Polo’s account). Over four centuries – until the 1850s – Viennese libraries collected books on China (and on Asia in general), in a variety of languages. The existence of these treasures in Vienna is widely unknown to the scientific community. This project intends to list all China-related holdings of printed books (published up to 1939) held in the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Austrian National Library), the Universitätsbibliothek Wien (Vienna University Library; including the main library and the holdings of the various department libraries as well), and the Library of the Austrian State Archives. All copies existing in the holdings of these libraries will be included in this bibliography

This special bibliography aims to enhance research on the history of relations between China and Europe. The data of this project once will be useful for further research (e. g. history of Chinese studies in Europe, the analysis of cultural exchange, the development of images of „the other“).The listing of all China-related printed books in the above-mentioned libraries will provide an inventory of these works distributed over several sites in Vienna. This will show the scope of these hitherto widely unknown holdings. As access will be very quick and convenient, this project will lead to an effective use of these materials.

The bibliography includes all printed Western-language material on China displayed in the various library catalogues – including printed maps, offprints (of journal and newspaper articles). According to the changes in European minds „China“ will be extended to „India orientalis“ as seen in early modern Europe, including publications on Qing Inner Asia and on other regions participating in the Qing „tributary system“. Besides scholarly publications in their widest sense belletristic works will also be included.

Recently finished projects providing inventories of China-related library holdings took place at Leipzig (holdings of Western books of China (published up to 1939) at Leipzig University Library; East Asian Institute/Leipzig University) and at Erfurt (catalogue of East Asia related holdings (586 different titles) at the Forschungsbibliothek Gotha; maintained by the Department of East Asian History, Erfurt University).