Primary Sources: NCCO – Asia & West Diplomacy & Cultural Exchange

Asia and the West: Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange is one archive of the newly acquired digital resource, Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO). It is primarily made up of documents generated by diplomatic missions of the United States and Britain to Korea, Japan, China, and other East Asian nations. Some missionary records and publications and a collection of periodicals related to Asian culture and society are also included. Each of the collections in the archive is browseable. Basic and advanced searching of the collections is also possible, although the results will vary from collection to collection depending on how much machine-readable content is included. The full text of handwritten documents is not searchable.

Researchers of U.S. and British foreign policy and diplomacy; Asian political, economic, and social affairs; missionary activities; the Opium Wars; the Boxer Rebellion; and the Philippine Insurrection will all find a rich body of sources to explore. There are probably few topics related to East Asia and its early interactions with the West that would not be informed by resources in this collection.

Search tip: In advanced search, you have the option to “Allow variations.” This is a good option to choose, since it will look for British and American spelling variations (harbor/harbour) and also may compensate for some Optical Character Recognition (OCR) errors that inevitably occur during the scanning process.

Let me know in the comments or by email if you make any interesting discoveries in the collections or have any particular search tips you want to share.