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Collection Korean Rare Book Digital Collection

About this Collection

The digital collection draws from the 654 titles in the Korean Rare Book Collection housed in the Asian Division of the Library of Congress. The initial online presentation includes 11 digitized rare titles.

The Korean Rare Book Collection includes many valuable titles and editions housed in the Library's Asian Division, some of which date back to the 15th century and are the only extant copies in the world. This collection provides a fascinating glimpse of the artistic and publishing world from the 15th to the early-20th century, with some being older and some more recent. It is notable for its range of topics, from religious works to government publications, and its variety of formats, including  manuscripts, rubbings, as well as examples of various kinds of movable type.

The rich resources found in this collection will interest those conducting research on diverse topics in the study of pre-modern Korea, including history, geography, politics, social and economic life, education, agriculture, and biology. Representative works from the Korean Rare Book Collection include: "Tongguk Yi Sangguk chŏnjip" 東國 李 相國 全集 (The collected works of Yi Munsun); "Tongŭi pogam" 東醫 寶鑑 (A valuable treatise on Oriental medicine); "Yenyŏm mit'a tojang ch'ambŏp" 禮念 彌陀 道場 懺法 (Buddhist deity); and "Han'guk hwalchabon" 한국 활자본 (Korean metal movable type). Detailed bibliographic information of all the Korean rare materials at the Library of Congress can be found in the catalog of Korean Rare Book Collection (Library of Congress) Han'guk Kosŏ Collection.

As part of a cooperative project between the Library of Congress and the National Library of Korea, 84 titles of rare works found in the Library’s collection, but otherwise unavailable in South Korea, were digitized in 2008. Rare books digitized through this project are accessible through KORCIS External (Korean Old and Rare Collection Information System).