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Tibetan Studies Resources: Primary Sources

Resources for Tibetan Studies

What is a Primary Source?

"A primary source is a document, image, or artifact that provides evidence about the past. It is an original document created contemporaneously with the event under discussion. A direct quote from such a document is classified as a primary source. A secondary source is a book, article, film, or museum that displays primary sources selectively in order to interpret the past." (Robert C. Williams, The Historian's Toolbox: A Student's Guide to the Theory and Craft of History, p.58 ). Examples include:

  • Magazine and newspaper articles published at the time
  • Hand-written documents like diaries and journals
  • Maps
  • Laws & court cases
  • Speeches, interviews, letters
  • Memoirs and autobiographies
  • Literary manuscripts
  • Records of government agencies
  • Records of organizations
  • Public opinion polls
  • Fiction from a particular time and place
  • Research data
  • Religious or philosophical texts
  • Artifacts of all kinds: physical objects, furniture, tools, clothing, etc.
  • Photographs, audio recordings, movies, and videos
  • Art, including paintings, prints, and other media


Finding Primary Sources

Off-campus access to some resources is limited to UNC faculty, students, and staff. You can click here to find more related resources at UNC


+ Foreign Office Files for China, 1949-1980

From the British National Archives, this digital collection consists of British Foreign Office (FO) fies covering the period 1949-1980. It addresses a crucial period in Chinese history, from the foundation of the People’s Republic in 1949, to the death of Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong, the arrest of the Gang of Four, and the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976.

+ South Asian Newspapers (1864-1922)

online access to a select group of South Asian newspapers from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

+ Wall Street Journal - Asia (1991+)

A version of The Wall Street Journal provides news and analysis of global business developments for an Asian audience.

+ Asia Times online (1996+)

A Hong Kong/Thailand-based bilingual English‒Chinese, Internet-based newspaper covering geopolitics, politics, economics and business "from an Asian perspective"

+ BBC News: China

A version of BBC News provides news and analysis of China

+ Factiva

1,500+ newspapers - same-day and archival coverage of the world's most influential newspapers, including Barrons, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, South China Morning Post, Le Monde, Les Echos, The Guardian and New York Times. Factiva also includes local newspapers from every corner of the globe.

+ World newspaper archive (from 19th century)

A large and growing collection of digitized newspapers from around the world from the 19th and 20th centuries. Components include: African Newspapers, more than 40 papers published from around 1800 to the 1920s Latin American Newspapers, more than 35 papers published from around 1805 to the 1920s South Asian Newspapers, provides online access to a select group of South Asian newspapers from the 19th and early 20th centuries

+ China Tibet Online

A large website focusing on Tibet in multi-languages(Chinese, English, Tibetan), provides latest news.

+  China-Tibet News

A website by People’s Daily and Tibet Daily focusing on Tibet in multi-languages(Chinese, English, Tibetan), provides latest news.

+  Radio Free Asia

A private, nonprofit corporation that broadcasts news and information in nine native Asian languages.

+ Voice of Tibet

News and events related to Tibet.

+  Tibet Online

News and events related to Tibet.

+  Voice of America: Tibet

Voice of America is an international multimedia broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government. VOA Tibetan was created by an Act of Congress signed into law on February 16, 1990 to establish a Tibetan language programming to the people of Tibet. VOA Tibetan broadcasts two one hour television programs each week via satellite, and 42 hours of shortwave radio directly into Tibet.

+  Tibet Times

A Tibetan Language Newspaper.


A website focusing on Tibet provides the latest news.

+ Online Newspaper Directory

An online newspaper directory all over the world.


+ Wall Street Journal - Asia (from 1991)

under construction

+ CIAO (Columbia International Affairs Online) (from 1991)

Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO) is designed to be the most complete source for theory and research in international affairs. It publishes a wide range of scholarship from 1991 on that includes working papers from university research institutes, occasional papers series from NGOs, foundation-funded research projects, tables of contents of selected journals, and proceedings from conferences.

+ Amnesty International Online (from 1993)

Amnesty International’s mission is to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the context of its work to promote all human rights. This database contains web versions of its publications (including periodicals, reports, briefing papers, and news releases) going back to the early 1990s.

+ CQ Global Researcher (from 2007)

Looking for background and context on headline-making world news from an authoritative, global perspective? The CQ Global Researcher delivers definitive, in-depth coverage of newsworthy global affairs from a multitude of international viewpoints.

+ Country Studies/Area Handbooks (Library of Congress)

This website contains the online versions of books previously published in hard copy by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress under the Country Studies/Area Handbook Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Army.

+ BBC News: Country Profiles

Full profiles provide an instant guide to the history, politics, and economic backgrounds of countries. They also include audio and video clips from the BBC archives.

+ IHS Global Insight

Global Insight provides regional, national, and global economic, financial, and commodity information. Included are detailed and up to date reports on 206 countries, formatted to provide standardized sections (called 'silos'): political, economic, legal, tax, operations and security.




+ British photographs of Tibet 1920–1950

Presents more than 6000 photographs spanning 30 years of Tibet's history

+ Historical maps and images of Tibet

The collection includes a set of early photographs of central Tibet and Lhasa as well as images from Harrison Forman's expeditions to northern Tibet between 1932 and 1937.