EAST 304 Topics in Chinese Studies - Chinese Medical Tradition

Liaison librarian

  • mary.yearl [at] mcgill.ca (Email) 514-398-4475 x09847
  • McGill users only
  • Open access resource
  • Free resource
  • In-library-use only
  • Catalogue record

Starting your research

Have a topic that you might be interested in exploring? Need more background information about a particular reading? Here are some useful reference books to help you brainstorm and do preliminary research on potential areas of interest or provide general background information:

Dictionary of Medical Biography. This work has over 1,000 entries of practioners. Much of the coverage is of the Western medical tradition, but you will find entries on alternative and traditional Chinese, Indian and Islamic medicine.

Science and civilisation in China by Joseph Needham. Vol. 6, pt. 6, Biology and biological technology. Medicine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1954-2008.

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of China CambridgeCambridge University Press, 1991.

China Knowledge A universal guide for China studies.

Institute for Traditional Medicine Chinese medicine for practitioners.

Using the library catalogue and databases

Once you've brainstormed a topic and keywords, you can begin your search in the McGill library catalogue and in relevant article databases.

McGill has two library catalogues: Classic Catalogue and WorldCat (find one librarian's comparison here)

Here are some basic search tricks for all catalogues and databases:
Truncation symbol: * e.g. histor? will retrieve catalogue records containing the words history, histories, historical, etc.
Phrase searching: "___" e.g. "Chinese medicine" will retrieve only catalogue records containing the phrase Chinese medicine
Boolean operators: (), AND, OR, NOT
default: AND
e.g. history AND (acupuncture OR "Chinese medicine") will retrieve catalogue records containing the word history plus either Canada OR the phrase Chinese medicine. Remember: AND will make your search narrower and OR will make your search wider.

History of Science, Technology and Medicine HSTM provides access to journal articles, books, book reviews, and dissertations in the history of science, technology, and medicine, and related historical fields.

Web of Knowledge A multi-subject, general database, you can search for articles by author, source title, subject, etc. as well as limit your searching by discipline (such as history) to narrow down results. Also includes scientific articles going back to 1900 so it can be useful for primary resources.

Project Muse A full-text English-language scholarly journal database. Includes a subject list of Asian studies journals.

Bibliography of Asian Studies Contains citations on all subjects (especially in the humanities and the social sciences) related to East, Southeast, and South Asia published in Western-languages from 1971 to the present. **Citation information only. You will need to look up the full-text article in a different database or the McGill Library catalogue.

Remember different journal databases contain different journals, so you should always be checking more than one.

A note on connecting to databases from home:  You have easy, at-home access to McGill's subscription resources through a tool called EZproxy. Just remember that in order to access a database you must enter it through the McGill Library webpage.

Primary Resources and Digital Collections

Here are some sites that provide access to digitized primary resources:

Gynaecology in Traditional Chinese Medicine: Selected Texts From McGill, A full-text searchable database that provides access to rare books and manuscripts written in classical (literary) Chinese dealing with gynaecology.

China : Trade, Politics & Culture 1793-1980 Contains unique manuscript material relating to the activities and observations of British and American diplomats, missionaries, business people and tourists in China from 1793 to 1980.

Western Medicine in China, 1800-1950 An open access resource hosted by Indiana University, connects to digital collections of Chinese hospital reports, 19th-early 20th century books by medical missionaries, and other resources.

The Chinese Recorder and the Protestant Missionary Community in China, 1867-1941 Includes a complete run of the Chinese Recorder, an important missionary journal which was first published in Fuzhou in 1867 and then in Shanghai from 1874 till 1941.

Medicine and Childbirth A guide to reading original Chinese, including treaties, medical manuscripts, and even a lady's mirror. From the University of Michigan.

Medicine and Public Health, from Morning Sun: A Website about the Cultural Revolution Contains images, documents, and multimedia resources.

Chinese Pamphlets The Hunter Collection consists of mass education materials published in Hong Kong and in Mainland China, particularly Shanghai, in the years 1947-1954, including approximately 200 cartoon books, pamphlets, postcards, and magazines, heavily pictorial in content.

Classics of Traditional Chinese Medicine The digital version of an exhibition at the National Library of Medicine of 2,000 volumes of Chinese medical classics.

Medical Photographs from the Wellcome Institute One of the world's richest and most unique collections, with themes ranging from medical and social history to contemporary healthcare and biomedical science.

Important Journals

East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine
The European Journal of Oriental Medicine (EJOM)
The Journal of Chinese Medicine (JCM)
Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity
East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal

Research Toolkit

Here are a couple more practical resources for help with language skills, writing skills, and completing assignments.

For unfamiliar terms in Chinese or names:

Han dian 汉典 (Dictionary of Chinese characters, words and idioms)

Chinese English Online Dictionary

China Biographical Database Project

For citing sources and doing assignments:

Chicago Manual of Style Online

Writing an Annotated Bibliography (Guide from the University of Toronto)

For using reference management software such as Endnote or Zotero to store and organize your resources:

A comparison of citation managers

Endnote instructions (software supported by McGill)


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