Amidst the burgeoning collections of online news resources are recently available full-text archives of newspapers from China. The International Coalition on Newspapers (ICON) of the Center for Research Libraries routinely tracks new digitized newspaper archives, providing a portal to open access and commercial products at http://icon.crl.edu/digitization.htm.
The following resources represent a sampling of currently available databases for scholars. Note: commercial resources represented herein are not currently accessible via CRL or ICON.
People’s Daily Database (Renmin Ribao, 人民日報)
This flagship newspaper is the voice of the central government of the People’s Republic of China. It was established in 1946 and claims a current circulation of nearly three million.
The People’s Daily Online was launched in 1997, and archives of the online Chinese edition are available from 2004.
The People’s Daily produced an electronic edition based on the original paper edition. Dating back to May 1946, the database features complete coverage of the title in interchangeable PDF and text formats. Both formats are downloadable and printable. The database has recently been upgraded to incorporate current issues, updated on a daily basis. Subscription only.
People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily (Jie fang jun bao, 解放军报)
People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily is the official newspaper of the military of the People’s Republic of China. The role of the PLA during the cultural revolution makes this title a valuable research resource. The database offers full-text searching of retrospective content, complete from the first issue in 1956 to the present. The database presently contains more than 450,000 articles as text-only; full image digital content will be available in the future. Available through East View Information Services. Subscription only.
China Core Newspapers Database (CCND)
Part of the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) set of databases, this online full-text database covers more than 700 newspapers published in mainland China since 2000. The database contains more than eight million articles (text only), searchable by title, author, keyword, full-text, and several other fields. Articles are viewable as PDF or in the proprietary CAJViewer. Content is added daily, approximately one week behind publication.
Distributed by East View. Index searching free, full-text access by subscription.
WiseSearch is a robust database of more than 75 million articles from hundreds of media sources aggregated by Wisers Information Ltd. (Hong Kong). Information is updated daily from more than 1,500 content providers in Hong Kong and Greater China. WiseSearch claims to be the largest Chinese database of published information from Greater China. Distributed by LexisNexis. Subscription only.
Apabi Newspaper Database
Apabi offers a variety of full text eBooks and databases. Beijing Founder Apabi Technology Ltd. is one of the leaders in digital publishing technologies, and has developed digital library systems as well as a platform for the publishing of eNewspapers. Its full-text, full-image newspaper database covers more than 300 current newspapers on a cross-searchable platform. The majority of news content covers August 2007 forward, though some content reaches back further (e.g., Zhejiang Daily, Hangzhou Daily). The database includes a wide variety of regional and provincial titles, including special interest titles on business and finance, agriculture, sport and leisure, trade, and others. Distributed by East View. Subscription only.
Digitization of newspapers is growing in Taiwan as well. Major newspapers have been focusing on digitizing their content, particularly the United Daily News and China Times groups. The following commercial products demonstrate the range of approaches taken in accessing Chinese language titles from the region.
Newspapers in Taiwan 新聞知識庫
This product contains full-text article access (with clipped images) from 10 important news titles from Taiwan, including Zhongyang ribao (中央日報, Central Daily News), Zhongguo shi bao (中國時報, China Times), and Lian he bao (聯合報, United Daily News). Content is primarily current issues (2002–) Developed by the TTS Group of Taiwan. Subscription only.
United Daily News Group (UDNdata)
In February 2001, UDN Online created the Web site to provide more than 8.3 million news articles published by the United Daily News Group, the largest news group in Taiwan. Recently it launched its historical archive of content, including seven Chinese newspapers in Taiwan, Europe, and North America. Coverage extends to the earliest issues, from 1951 to the present. Distributed by TBMC in Taiwan. Subscription only.
Central Daily News Archive Image (Zhongyang ribao 中央日報)
This title began in 1928 in Shanghai, eventually settling in Taiwan in 1949. The online database covers page image access to this title from 1928 to 2000. Central Daily News is the official news media for the Kuomintang government in Taiwan. Available from TBMC. Subscription only.
Chinese Daily News
This title is reported to be an important daily from southern Taiwan first published February 20, 1950. The database, containing issues from 1996 to the present, features page images and indexed articles. Available from TMBC. Subscription only.
Shijie Ribao (World Daily 世界日报)
The World Daily fulltext search site, available from Shih Hsin University in Taiwan, offers access to limited runs of Shijie Ribao, a Chinese language daily founded in Beijing in 1925. The database contains searchable news articles between 1926 and 1929, with limited page image accessibility (the image files are named using Big5 characters, making the links inaccessible to western machines. Open access.
The National Central Library of Taiwan was reportedly digitizing periodical content, including newspapers. However, access to the contents was not available at time of writing.
In addition to full text, numerous products feature useful article indexes to newspapers from China.
The National Index to Chinese Newspapers & Periodicals (NICNP)
This effort, led by the Shanghai Library, contains more than 30 million entries from approximately 18,000 periodical and newspaper titles. Nearly 3.5 million article entries are added each year. Shanghai Library provides access to articles on demand. The database provides access based on time period (1833–1919, 1920–1949, 1950–1992, 1993–2009), and is customizable for different subjects.
Electronic Index to the Early Shenbao 申報 (1872–1898)
This online-index of articles from the Shanghai daily Shenbao (1872–1949) covers the years from the paper’s launch in April 1872 to the end of the year 1898. It provides keyword access to more than 11,000 entries, which facilitates the use of this important source for the history of late Qing China. The index also includes articles reprinted from selected Hong Kong papers from the same time period. Open Access.
A few resources exist that relate to overseas Chinese populations, connecting diaspora groups to the homeland.
Ming Pao Daily News Database (明報)
The database represents a collaboration between the Asian Library, University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada), a Chinese news group, and a family foundation dedicated to the furthering of Chinese culture in Canada. The archival database of community news in Chinese (1993–present) is freely available online.
NZ Chinese Journals
This database contains two Chinese language titles published in Wellington, New Zealand. The Man Sing Times (民聲報 – 人民的聲音) (1921–1922) and New Zealand Chinese Weekly News (中國大事週報) (1937–1946) represent the small and largely rural Chinese New Zealand community. Open Access.
Finally, the last product represents the specialized communities that rely on news data for their research and entertainment.
Taiwan Baseball News Archives
This project cooperated with the United Daily News Group in Taiwan to create a digital library of newspaper clippings, texts, illustration, pictures, photos, and other materials. The site includes 20,000 news pieces and 800 photos.