The article describes the types of written records available to scholars of late Yi dynasty Korea, in particular, daily chronicles compiled under official auspices. Koreans were indebted to the Chinese for the chronological format of compilation, the Confucian moralistic purpose for historical writing, the respect for bare fact, and the necessity for truthful reporting. These objectives were often violated, however, because the recorders were also active bureaucrats involved in political disputes.
For the modern historian, these sources have certain advantages and disadvantages. They are good for institutional and administrative history, and they provide raw data for political history. On the other hand, they reflect the biases of the recorders, they do not reveal the really private thoughts of kings and officials, they are confined to the formal apparatus of the official communication and the court conference, and they are comprised over much of moralistic exhortation and general preachment, rather than with concrete discussion of the problems of economy, society, and policy. They do, however, represent an enormous body of material hitherto neglected by Western scholars.