What Asian collections does the IISH have? A first answer to that question is provided by: The Asian Collections at the International Institute of Social History, edited by Emile Schwidder & Eef Vermeij (NEW 4th ed., 2012). This guide contains brief descriptions of all collections with a substantial Asian interest. Its purpose is to alert researchers to historical material on Asia, not only in ostensibly Asian collections, but also in many others.
The guide comprises a rough survey of the IISH archives, sound and image material and periodicals. The descriptions in the guide summarize a selection of entirely or partly original documents from the IISH archives and collections relating to Asia. Each summary is preceded by a condensed biography or history.
The entries are divided in two groups: the section on the archives and collections of individuals is followed by one on organisations. Both groups have been put in alphabetical order for easy reference. The unique and extensive collection of photographs, posters, cartoons, tapes, and the like of the Sound and Image Section concerning Asia are ordered by the topic and period concerned. Finally, the guide provides cursory information about the periodicals relating to Asia. The sections on each country list the titles of the selected periodicals at the IISH together with the years of publication.
Apart from the very much older collection on South East Asia, which was of course started at a time when the Indonesian archipelago still formed part of the Dutch colonial empire and, therefore, fell under the domestic collections of the IISH, collecting on the Middle East and Asia started in earnest from 1987 onwards. The two countries from which material was acquired at that time were China and Turkey.