Guide to the Electronic Siku Quanshu (e-SKQS)

The East Asian Library and the Gest Collection

普林斯頓大學葛思德東亞圖書館 ・ プリンストン大学東アジア図書館 ・ 프린스턴 대학교 동아시아 도서관

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Guide to the Electronic Siku Quanshu (e-SKQS)


  • Publishers: Chinese University of Hong Kong & Digital Heritage Publishing Ltd., 1999-. At least 183 CD-ROMs.
  • Coverage: Complete contents of the Wenyuange copy (1782) plus a few useful tools. 800 million characters, almost 2 million piece title
  • The Si ku quan shu includes such titles as the Quan Tang shi, Zi zhi tong jian, Xu Zi zhi tong jian chang bian, Wen xuan, Pei wen yun fu, Tai ping yu lan, the 25 Histories, etc., but not always in the best, or even complete editions
  • Princeton University has 3 simultaneous users.
  • The Electronic Si ku quan shu ("e-SKQS") is useful not only for searching, but also for studying: linked dictionaries, notebooks

Logging in

  • If available, set Microsoft and other input methods (ChinaStar, UnionWay) after starting the program, after seeing the "Chinese University Press" logo, but before logging in. You can use simplified input methods; variant characters are linked according to specific settings (usually there is no need to change)
  • Enter the search program by clicking Content Search (内容檢索)
  • The Top Tool Bar remains always the same; the right Side Tool Bar changes according to the activities performed
  • Use the Horse icon to exit, or to minimize the screen (so that you can reset input methods if necessary)

Tool Bars Overview

  • Top Tool Bar (from left to right):

Open book with magnifying glass [Search and Browse] ● Left Arrow [Previous Search Result/Screen] ● Right Arrow [Next Search Result/Screen] ● Toolbox [Accessory Programs] ● Seal [Print] ● Compass [Settings] ● Question mark [Help] ● Horse [Exit] ● Closed book with magnifying glass [Abort search]

  • Right Tool Bar in Results Set Display:

Pen [Save results] ● Menu box [Minor display settings] ● Scrolls [Display modes] ● Character [Font size] ● Arrows [Navigating within result sets]

  • Right Tool Bar in Individual Result Display:

Double Book [Select and manipulate] ● Magnifying glass [Zoom] ● Notebook [Make annotations] ● Closed Book [Dictionary] ● Open Book [Toggle Number of Pages] ● Enlargement [Full screen] ● Left Arrow [Previous Page] with down arrow [previous chapter, page, book, hit] ● Right Arrow [Next Page] with down arrow [next chapter, page, book, hit] 

Searching Phrases and Input

  • Full text searching: one can use various third-party Unicode-based input systems (Microsoft’s IMEs, Unionway’s AsianSuite, ChinaStar), the stroke-and-radical based e-SKQS input system (輔助輸入). Make sure you enter phrases fully into the bottom input box, before you transfer them to the search box.
  • Boolean "Advanced" Searching is available (高級檢索); the range of its searches is within the same chapter.
  • For proximity searches, use X%nY, where X and Y are characters, and n is the maximum number of intervening characters
  • Searches are valid either for the main text (正文文字) or for annotations (注釋文字
  • Limits available are by siku/sibu category (四庫分類), title (書名條件) or author (著者條件). To set them, one can browse through the hierarchy of the Siku/Sibu classification system, or use the e-SKQS input system, including an additional choose-and-click pinyin system (按拼音排序). One can select more than one author by holding down the control key. Deselect your limits by clicking on the relevant browsing icons
  • One can modify searches by going back to previous searches (開啓當前檢索條件)
  • Searches can be aborted by double-clicking on the upper right icon

Browsing texts and information on texts and authors

  • One can search (檢索) or browse (瀏覽) the siku/sibu categories (分類), titles (書名) or authors/names (著者姓氏). For titles and authors, the easiest browsing order to navigate in is a choose-and-click pinyin system (按拼音排序), others are stroke-based systems 傳統筆形) or a zhuyin (注音>) system. In addition, one can also browse authors by dynasty (按朝代瀏覽)
  • With title and author result sets, one can set the display to simple (簡單, title only), basic (具體, title, author, classification), and detailed (詳細, with links to the Si ku da ci dian).
  • Within the detailed display, click on the author’s name to get a list of books published by that author; click on the title to go directly to that text; click on the book icon (if present) to get information on a title from the Si ku da ci dian; and click on the red icon to view a table of contents (内容提要). Note: the last are often provided by this e-SKQS project, and are not original  

Interpreting and Manipulating Results Sets

  • One can choose to display 10, 20 or 50 results (條) at a time, and set their font size
  • Numbers are given for the number of individual matches (匹配), and the number of chapters (卷) with matches in them>
  • Use the different arrows in the Top and Side Tool Bars to move between pages of display and/or individual matches
  • One can save searches/results sets (儲存檢索條件) . These may be retrieved from the "Content Manager" under the Toolbox menu(资料管理员<)

Manipulating Individual Matches

  • One toggles between the editable text display (全文文本), and image display (原文圖像) for an individual match and between either of those and the results set display (檢索結果), using the bottom tags. The image display will be useful to display the page number of the printed edition, and to display rare characters not in the font (and hence, not displayed on the editable text display)
  • One can select characters (選擇) for copy-and-paste (拷貝) into Notepad or WordPad (寫字板, depending on operating system) or into another search (用選擇字串檢索)
  • One can navigate (翻頁) between pages (頁), chapters (卷), books (書) and individual matches (匹配), using the Side Tool Bar Arrows; the Top Tool Bar arrows move between already displayed results
  • One can toggle the display from one page to four pages at a time (單頁多頁切換), use the magnifying glass to enlarge a small area of the screen (放大鏡), or change the page display into full screen without bars (全屏顯示)
  • One can personalize one’s results in notebooks (筆記), by adding (and undo, 取消) punctuation (添加標點), adding one’s own annotations (拷貝並打開記事簿), etc. This takes place in Notepad or WordPad files, depending on the operating system; such files are managed in the File Manager (資料管理員)
  • To save any Notepad or WordPad file from Windows2000 Library computers onto a floppy disk, make sure to put a floppy disk into its drive, and type a:\ in front of the file name you want to save it under (e.g, a:\skqstest.txt). There is no other way of accessing the floppy disk under the library security profiles.
  • Printing (列印) is self-explanatory
  • Choose the dictionary icon from the Right Tool Bar, and then select a character in the text (聯機字典) to look up its pronunciation and meaning in the Zhonghua gu han yu zi dian). This dictionary is also available for direct searching (單字字義查詢) from the "Accessory Programs" menu (輔助工具)
  • Two different calendar conversion programs enable conversion between Chinese and Western style dating (古今紀年換算), and the ganzhi system and Gregorian calendar (干支/公元年換算)
  • One can look up the explanations of hexagrams (八卦·六十四卦表)
  • The File Manager (資料管理員) controls the notebooks and searches you may create while using the e-SKQS
  • From the "Accessory Programs" menu, one can also open WordPad (寫字版) if enabled (depending on the operating system). Note that the font used in the program is FZKai-Z03


  • Be sure to exit properly, using the Horse icon, otherwise the server does not know that one has exited: one has to click exit (退出) on two screens

Sample Searches


  1. Search for lijia 里甲using e-SKQS input help (7/里; 5/田 in main text. [1161 matches]
  2. Repeat the same search, but limit it to the history section 史部 [681 matches]
  3. Limit the search to the title Xu Zi zhi tong jian chang bian續資治通鑑長編, using the built-in pinyin browse [3 matches]
  4. Repeat the same search for annotations only (by clicking the 注意文字 radio button in the search box) [205 matches]
  5. Save the last search


  1. Search for Wang Yangming 王陽明 or Wang Shouren 王守仁 (using e-SKQS input: 4/玉; 12/阜; 8/日; 6/宀; 4/人) and limit by Ming individual literary collections (biejilei Ming 集 -> 別集類 -> 別集五:明...) [274 matches]


  1. Do a proximity search for zhou 舟and xin 心, maximum 2 characters in between [420 matches]
  2. Same, with exactly two characters in between (in advanced search, add NOT 舟%1心) [182 matches]


  1. Search for information on the book Yanshan tang bie ji 弇山堂別集, using the "click pinyin" input system
  2. Search for other books by its author (Wang Shizhen 王世貞, set display to detailed)