New Online: Database expands access to North Korean serials

(15 August 2018) The Asian Division of the Library of Congress is home to one of the most prominent North Korean collections in the Western Hemisphere. While a growing number of scholars have been making use of this unique collection, a dearth of bibliographic resources for North Korean periodicals has made navigating them a time-intensive task. Now the launch of the North Korean Serials Database, an online indexing tool that facilitates access to periodicals and articles published as far back as the 1940s, promises to aid researchers in making even greater use of this resource.

The database contains 34,000 indexed records for articles in 21 journals from the Library’s North Korean Serials Collection. The database covers publications from the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in 1948 up to the present day.

Conspicuous in the database are serials published from the 1940s to the 1960s. Many of these titles are no longer available in other institutions or libraries – even in North Korea – which makes this collection extremely rare and significant. Moreover, until now, there were no indexing resources at the article level for North Korean serials anywhere in the world. Without specific bibliographic information on hand, researchers had no choice but to browse numerous titles and issues to find articles they wanted.

The complete LOC blog post by Sonya Lee, a Korean reference specialist in the Asian Division, and Cameron Penwell, a Japanese reference librarian, is here.