Tibetan Studies Online Research Tools


Columbia Online Research Guide for Modern Tibetan Studies


This guide is derived from the extensive syllabus compiled by Professor Gray Tuttle for his “Sources for Modern Tibetan History” seminar.  Exceptionally strong in its survey of resources for historical research, it also provides general bibliographies for the field of Tibetan Studies and related disciplines, as well as useful tools, dictionaries, blogs, etc.




An archive of images, writings, recordings and place information about areas on and surrounding the Tibetan Plateau, with a special focus on oral traditions and cultural production in Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu provinces; also links to the journal Asian Highlands Perspectives.


The Buddhist Canons Bibliographic Database


A project of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies and the Columbia University Center for Buddhist Studies, this vast database provides searchable bibliographic information and links to scanned canonical scriptures, translations, and related secondary studies. 


Engaging Digital Tibet


Engaging Digital Tibet was created to enhance the teaching and learning of Tibetan material history. The site contains an advanced, searchable repository of Tibetan objects, as well as unique features for creating and sharing descriptive annotations about the objects and their significant parts, allowing for a collaborative decoding and description of Tibetan culture itself.



Bibliography of Asian Studies (BAS) (UTORid required)


800,000 entries on all subjects (especially in the humanities and the social sciences) pertaining to East, Southeast, and South Asia published worldwide from 1971 to present. Through the 1991 printed version, the BAS included citations to Western-language periodical articles, monographs, chapters in edited volumes, conference proceedings, anthologies, and Festschriften, etc. Monographs since 1992 excluded. Especially good for discovering articles in the Tibet Journal or in journals that cover Asia, China, India, or Buddhist Studies more generally. 


Bya-ra Database


Online database of more than 12,000 Tibetan-language research articles published in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).  Many English abstracts provided. Also includes contents of Rig gnas lo rgyus series and the English-language journals, Tibet Studies and China Tibetology.


China Academic Journals (UTORid required)


Thousands of journals in the humanities and social science since 1994, including periodicals from nationalities universities throughout the PRC, Qinghai Minzu Yanjiu, China Tibetology, etc. Full-text in both CAJ viewer and .pdf.  English abstracts for most articles.  May search in Chinese or English. See also Century Journal Project database, covering articles prior to 1994, as well as full-text databases for dissertations and core newspapers.

Catalogue of Chinese Publications in Tibetan Studies

v. 1: 1949-1990, v. 2: 1991-1995, v. 3: 1996-2000

UofT holds v.2-3: Z3107 .T5 C485 1997 and Z3107 .T5 Z465 2001, respectively. Shelved in Reference, East Asian Library.  Not available online.


Index for the Tibet Journal

Table of contents for 1975-2003 can be found on the Tibetan & Himalayan Library website. Alternate table of contents listings for issues 1995-2005 can be found here.



Buddhist Digital Resource Center. Core Text Collections (Formerly Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center. Core Text Collection) (U of T ID required)


Provides online access to subscribing institutions for 11,000 Tibetan texts in all eleven Core Text Collections published to date, and a virtual library of bibliographic and biographical information.  UofT has purchased all existing Core Text Collections.


Mandala (University of Virginia) / Tibetan and Himalayan Library



These two portals from the University of Virginia host a massive variety of webpages, primary source content, information services, resource and research tools, and networking facilities relating to the Tibetan plateau and southern Himalayan regions, across academic disciplines; the historical and the contemporary; the religious and the secular; the global and the local.


The Treasury of Lives


Excellent biographical database of historical Tibetan religious figures. A project of the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation (NYC).


Peking Tripitaka online search (Kyoto)


Database of the Kanjur and Tanjur that can be searched by typing in a term in transliterated Tibetan (Wylie) or Sanskrit (KH Sanskrit transcription system). Project of Shin Buddhist Comprehensive Research Institute, and published by Ōtani Daigaku (Kyoto).

UofT holds a print copy of this canon.


Asian Classics Input Project 


ACIP offers searchable texts regarding Tibetan philosophy, history, etc. Includes bka’ ‘gyur and bstan ‘gyur collections and gsung ‘bum of many famous early scholars. (Login required)


Digitized Tibetan Archives Material at Bonn University (now hosted at CrossAsia)


A rich resource offering top-quality scans of 2700 documents from the TAR Archives.  An additional 1700 documents from private collections and the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives have also been digitally recorded.

User tip:  After searching for the document, you get to “Overview information….”. Select “Document” on top of the page. There is a drop-down menu stating “Summary of document” and “Scan(s) of document.”


Old Tibetan Documents


Online images of Old Tibetan documents from Dunhuang. Many have also been transliterated to provide searchable texts.


International Dunhuang Project


International collaboration based at the British Library to make information and more than 300,000 images of manuscripts, paintings, textiles and artifacts from Dunhuang and other Silk Road sites freely available on the Internet.


China Data Online (UTORid required)


Project of the University of Michigan. Wide-ranging statistics for most of the PRC down to county-level for China Population Census Data (1982, 1990, 1995, 2000). Also includes database for China statistical yearbooks.


Tibetan Studies WWW Virtual Library


Includes databases, online forums, general information, software, maps and images, and electronic newsletters and news. There are links to sites about Tibetan art, theater, music, the flag, human rights, the language, literature, politics, religion, and travel and tourism. Maintained by Dr. Matthew T. Ciolek from January 1995 through July 2010.


World Tibet Network News


The World Tibet Network News Archive has 15,000 articles on Tibet dating back to 1992 on a searchable database. One can also access the archive by looking at all articles posted for a particular month. The articles range in subject matter from political and human rights issues to general articles on Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan culture.



Himalayan Art Resources


Online educational resource with over 25,000 images of Tibetan tankas from collections worldwide, searchable by image, data, and lineage, as well as links to other Tibetan art sites. Articles by Tulku Thondup, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Peter Della Santina, David Jackson and Moke Mokotoff supplement the images. Maintained by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation in collaboration with Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center and Wisdom Publications.


Rubin Museum of Art : Educational Interactive Library


Educational Interactive Library to explore thangka and other artistic images by theme, time, and place. 


The Tibet Album: British Photography in Central Tibet 1920-1950


Searchable by photographers, dates, people, places. Includes a “Who Was Who” project for early 20th c. Tibet, also day-to-day diary of Gould Mission in Tibet (1936-37)

Primarily photos by Charles Bell (1870-1945), Frederick Spencer Chapman (1907-1971), Arthur Hopkinson (1894-1953), Rabden Lepcha, Evan Nepean (1909-2002), Hugh Richardson (1905-2000), and Harry Staunton (1908-1945). Project of the Pitt Rivers Museum, British Museum.


Digital Himalaya


Ethnographic materials from Himalaya Mountain communities, including slides, videos, audio tapes, etc. Includes materials from the Williamson Collection (1930-1935, Bhutan, Sikkim and Tibet), the Fürer-Haimendorf Film Collection (1930s, North Eastern India and Nepal), the Naga videodisk created in the 1980s, the Thak Village of central Nepal collected since 1969, and the Thangmi Archive of northeastern Nepal. Features sample images and video clips (.qt) from the collections.


The Tibet Map Institute


This website offers detailed topographical maps of Central Tibet and more.



Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library > Reference


Provides an online dictionary for Tibetan, Nepali, Chinese, Pali and Sanskrit, a reference roster to contemporary scholars, a gazetteer of Tibetan and Himalayan places, and a guide to Himalayan-related internet resources. 



Journal of the International Association for Tibetan Studies (JIATS) 

Proceedings of the International Association for Tibetan Studies (Call numbers vary)

The Nepalese-German Manuscript Cataloguing Project


Initiated in 1970 by the German Oriental Society to catalogue and create microfilm images of ancient Nepali and Tibetan religious and historical texts. The site gives a history of the project, as well as a few paragraphs on the "Cultural heritage of Nepal" and the process of microfilming. Copies of the texts microfilmed by the project can be ordered. Includes numerous historical documents from Samling Gompa (Mustang area), including Tibetan and Chinese documents from early 19th century relaying orders of the Manchu emperor.


China's Tibetology (Zhongguo zangxue)


Research institute of Tibetan studies sponsored by Chinese government. Introduces the institute, organization, academic staff, research projects and publications. Includes news related to area development, photos research resources, scholars and their works, bibliographies, and important topics. Introduces Tibetan religion and culture, and its social and economic development. Includes lists of research institutions and links to other sites of Tibetan studies.


The Center for Research Libraries

http://www.crl.edu; includes Digital South Asia Library (www.dsal.uchicago.edu)

Recently purchased archives related to the East India Company, China Inland Mission and Curzon, India and Empire. Also, easy-to-browse list of subject headings for strong PL480 collection.  Good source for works on Tibet originating from India, and trade statistics for the 19th and early 20th centuries.