One of the most difficult and frustrating aspects of studying Korean history while outside of Korea must be getting hold of the most up to date research in Korean. For quite a while I thought that it was impossible to get hold of Korean journal articles online if my university library didn’t hold them. Of course there are e-journal sites which libraries can subscribe to, but getting your library to sign up to access non-English language journals online is easier said than done in my experience.
That said, I have recently discovered that it is possible to get hold of quite a large proportion of Korean journal articles online in PDF form and completely free. Here is, hopefully, a failsafe guide to getting hold of the Korean journal article you need in four stages:
Stage One: Look for Korean journal articles on your subject. I would recommend using the history bibliography run by Hongik University called Korean Historical Connection. Alternatively, you can go directly to stage two.
Stage Two: Go to the RISS site (Research Information Service Something-or-other / 학술연구정보서비스) and register – they have a special option for foreigners or other people unfortunate enough not to have a Korean ID number (주민등록번호).
Stage Three: Now you can search for the articles you require at RISS. Many articles are free to download as PDF files, while others you have to pay for (I haven’t tried this option yet so I’m not sure how expensive it is). However, if the article you need is unavailable, don’t despair.
Stage four: If you couldn’t get the article you needed at RISS then there is another option. If you return to the KHC site you will find that they provide a special service to historians of Korea residing overseas whereby they will find and photocopy any article you require and send it to you, only charging for the copying and postage. Again, I haven’t ever needed to try this out, but it sounds like a good service and I’d be interested to know if anyone else has tried it.