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North Korean Collection: Asian Collections at the Library of Congress

The Asian Division’s North Korean collection has thousands of items. This guide gives an overview of these materials, search strategies, and how to access digital collections, e-resources, and North Korean materials in the Library's other divisions.


Cover of North Korean serial Chosŏn yŏsŏng showing two people riding horses. One holds a flag while the other holds grain.
Cover of Chosŏn yŏsŏng. 1961. North Korean Serials digital collection. Library of Congress Asian Division.

This guide offers detailed information on the North Korean collection, which is accessible in the Asian Reading Room of the Library of Congress. It also highlights other relevant North Korean materials found in the Library's over 20 reading rooms and research centers that provide research space and guidance for users to interact with items based on subject (e.g., law) or format (e.g., maps, photographs). For specific questions or assistance using the Library’s resources, you may use the Ask a Librarian service to contact a reference librarian.

The Library’s commitment to acquiring materials from North Korea has resulted in an internationally recognized collection that serves as a vital resource for researchers from various disciplines. At the Library of Congress, the Asian Division’s Korean collection contains over 300 North Korean serial titles in addition to numerous monographs. Publications include those from as early as 1948—the year the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was established—through to the present.

One particularly rich subset of these publications are the extensive holdings of North Korean serials published from the late 1940s through the 1960s. Thousands of periodical issues have been made available online as part of the North Korean Serials digital collection, with more to be added. As an increasing number of scholars and graduate students are drawn to the study of North Korea, the collection plays a pivotal role in the growth of this field. The collection serves as a vital resource for scholars and policy makers seeking a deeper understanding of the DPRK to inform their research, particularly its early years, which is both rare and noteworthy.

Access to these historical and cultural materials can provide insight into policy, economic, social, historic, military, legal, financial, and governmental issues, as well as information and advice in parenting, recipes, nutrition, and culture.

Please note that this research guide is not intended to be a comprehensive list and that some electronic resources for North Korean studies may require subscription or registration. The majority of resources on this guide are primarily or entirely in Korean.

About the Asian Division

The Asian Reading Room provides public access to more than 4 million items in approximately 200 languages and dialects from across Asia, including Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Thai, Tibetan, Urdu, Vietnamese, and many others. In the reading room, researchers can use the Asian Division’s collections of printed materials, microform, and databases and confer with reference librarians to answer research questions about the countries of East, South, and Southeast Asia.