Asian/Pacific American Studies

Use this guide to quickly find reputable sources and save time on your research! Contact your subject librarian or the reference librarians if you need more help. For an overview of how to research efficiently, see Steps of the Research Process.

“Asian Americans’’ will be defined as the population living in the U.S. who are Asian or Pacific Islander descent, “in whole or in part, regardless of whether they’re U.S.- or foreign-born, a U.S. citizen or not, their length of residence, or in the U.S. legally or illegally. I also use the following terms to mean the same thing: Asian Pacific American (APA), and Asian Pacific Islander (API).”

C. N . Le, Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asia America .

Finding Materials in the Library

Search CityCat to find books, e-books, disks and more. There are many ways to search, such as Title, Author and Keyword.

Books in the library are organized by call number according to the Library of Congress classification system which groups items by subject, so you can often simply browse the shelves. Here are some specific subject headings by ethnic group:


Filipino Americans

Pakistani Americans

Asian Americans



Cambodian Americans

Hmong Americans

South Asians— United States

Chamorro (Micronesian People)

Japanese Americans

Thai Americans

Chinese Americans

Khmers— United States


East Indian Americans

Korean Americans

Vietnamese Americans

East Indians-- United States

Laotian Americans




Relevant areas in the collection to find materials on Asian/Pacific American Studies include:

Alien labor, Asian
American Literature--Asian American Authors
Asian American Families
Asian Americans in Television
Asian Americans--Ethnic identity
Asian Americans in literature
Asian Americans--Fiction
Asian Americans--Politics and government

Immigrants-economic conditions
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation
Japanese-American soldiers--History
Mail order brides
Somoan Islands
Women immigrants
World War, 1939-1945 -- Women.


Reference Sources

Reference books are great for short overviews and background information. There are also reference resources in our database section.

Asian Americans Information Directory. Detroit: Gale, 1994. Rosenberg REF E184.O6 A844 1994

Gall, Susan and Irene Natividad, eds. Asian American Almanac: A Reference Work on Asians in the United States. 1995. Rosenberg REF E184.O6 A824 1995

Gall, Susan and Irene Natividad, eds. Reference Library of Asian America.Rosenberg REF E184 .O6 R45 1995 (JAD)

Gall, Susan B. and Timothy L. Gall. Statistical Record of Asian Americans. Detroit: Gale, 1993.Rosenberg REF E184.O6 S73 1993

Kim, Hyung-Chan. Dictionary of Asian American History. New York: Greenwood, 1986. Rosenberg REF E184.O6 D53 1986

Kim, Hyung-chan. Distinguished Asian Americans: A Biographical Dictionary. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1999. Rosenberg REF E184.O6 D57 1999

Nelson, Emmanuel S. Asian American Novelists : A Bio-bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000. Rosenberg REF PS153.A84 A825 2000

Ng, Franklin, ed. Asian American Encyclopedia. New York: Cavendish, 1995. Rosenberg REF E184.O6 A827 1995

Sinnott, Susan . Extraordinary Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. New York: Children’s Press, 2003. Rosenberg REF E184.O6 S558 2003

Trudeau, Lawrence J., ed. Asian American Literature: Reviews and Criticism of Works by American Writers of Asian Descent. Detroit: Gale, 1999. Rosenberg REF PS153.A84 A82 1999

Who's Who among Asian Americans. New York: Gale, 1995. Rosenberg REF E184.06 W46 1995

Zia, Helen and Susan B. Gall, eds. Asian American Biography. Detroit: U.X.L., 2004. Rosenberg REF E186.06 .A822 2004

Zia, Helen and Susan B. Gall, eds. Notable Asian Americans. Detroit: Gale, 1995. Rosenberg REF E184.06 N67 1995

Immigration Reference

Ciment, James. Encyclopedia of American Immigration. Armonk, NY: Sharpe, 2001. Rosenberg REF JV6465 .E53 2001

Cordasco, Francesco. Dictionary of American Immigration History. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1990. Rosenberg REF JV6450 .D53 1990

Dinnerstein, Leonard. Ethnic Americans: A History of Immigration. New York: Columbia, 1999. Rosenberg REF E184.A1 D48 1999

Flanders, Stephen A. Atlas of American Migration. New York: Facts, 1998. REF G1201.E27 F5 1998 (DTN)

Haines, David W. Refugees in America in the 1990s: A Reference Handbook. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1996. Rosenberg REF E184 .A1 R43 1985

Multicultural Reference

Allen, James Paul. We the People: An Atlas of America’s Ethnic Diversity. New York: Macmillan, 1988. Rosenberg REF E184.A1 A479 1988.

Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1995.Rosenberg REF E184.A1 G14 1995

Levinson, David and Melvin Ember. American Immigrant Cultures: Builders of a Nation. New York: Simon, 1997.Rosenberg REF E184.A1 A63448 1997

Shcaefer, Richard T. Racial and Ethnic Groups. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice, 2000. Rosenberg REF E184.A1 S3 2000

Shinagawa, Larry Hajime and Michael Jang. Atlas of American Diversity. Walnut Creek, Ca.: AltaMira Press, 1998. Rosenberg REF E184.A1 S575 1998

Pacific Studies Reference

An Illustrated History of Samoans in California. Carson, CA: Kin, 1994. F870.S17 P68 1994

 Lal, Brij V. and Kate Fortune. The Pacific Islands : An Encyclopedia. Honolulu: U Hawaii, 2000. DU17 .P3 2000

Asian Americans (Specific groups)

Do, Hien Duc. The Vietnamese Americans. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1999. E184.V53 D6 1999

Pan, Lynn. The Encyclopedia of the Chinese Overseas. Cambridge: Harvard U, 1998.DS732 .E53 1999

Niiya, Brian. Encyclopedia of Japanese American History: An A-to-Z Reference from 1868 to the Present. New York: Facts on File, 2001. E184.J3 E53 2001


Use databases for specialized and the most up-to-date information, especially academic (scholarly) sources that are not available for free on the Web. See the Articles & Databases page for a full list of databases available.

Suggested Titles of Periodicals: Amerasia Journal, Asian Pages (St. Paul), Asian Reporter, The (Portland), Asian Week (San Francisco), Filipinas, Filipino Reporter (NY), Journal of Asian American Studies, Little India (NY), Northwest Asian Weekly (Seattle), Hyphen Magazine, Jade Magazine, and Yolk.

At your local libraries, you may be able to access many of the journals with full-text by using various electronic periodical databases such as InfoTrac and Ethnic Newswatch or online from the Internet.

Gale Powersearch
Gale Powersearch is a brand name for 25 multidisplinaryl databases with coverage from 1980 to the present. These databases let you limit your results to articles only from scholarly journals by checking the box "Peer Reviewed publications."

Ebscohost is a brand name for more than 25 multi-disciplinary databases with coverage from 1980 to the present.

Ethnic Newswatch
"Ethnic NewsWatch is an interdisciplinary, bilingual (English and Spanish) and comprehensive full text database of the newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press. Designed to provide the 'other side of the story,' ENW titles offer additional viewpoints from those proffered by the mainstream press. Coverage begins in 1990."


Below are some examples of academic/scholarly web sites for Asian/Pacific American Studies. If yu use a search engine, such as Google, remember to evaluate the quality of the results.
Stanford University Libraries offer a quick start guide to library research on Asian American Studies.
Asian and Pacific Island population census statistics and reports (1990 and 2000).
Facts on Feature: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: May 2004. ( April 19, 2004 )
Asian Americans: An Annotated Directory of Internet Resources from University of Redlands.
This is a short Asian American subject page from UC Santa Barbara Library.
The Smithsonian Program for APA Studies featured many excellent exhibitions.
Asian American History Timeline (Center for Educational Telecommunications) is adapted from Sucheng Chan’s Book Asian Americans: An Interpretive History, Boston, Twayne Publishers, 1991. celebrates Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month —- a celebration of Asian and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
Preliminary Guide to Resources on Asian Pacific American Artists is posted by the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.
UCI Southeast Asian Archive.
This site is run by the Asian Pacific American Caucus (APAC) for resources on the study of Asian Pacific American politics.
Organization of Chinese Americans has compiled a searchable national directory of 2,300 APA organizations.
Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus lists over 100 Asian Pacific American community resources.