Cameron Campbell organized a meeting on Chinese Historical Databases: Sources, Methods, Prospects on January 11 and 12, 2024 at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
The meeting is one in a series of activities intended to promote the development of research infrastructure for studying China’s past organized under the auspices of and with support from the RGC Areas of Excellence Project Quantitative History of China (Chen Zhiwu PI). Staff from the HKUST School of Humanities and Social Sciences, including Lee-Campbell Group RA Shengbin Wei, provided logistical support.
The meeting brought together historians and social scientists constructing databases suited for the quantitative analysis of Chinese history. Participants from Hong Kong, mainland China, and Europe introduced their databases. These included projects that were already complete, others were in progress, and some were in the planning stages. Presentations and discussion focused not only on the content of the databases and prospects for analysis, but nuts and bolts issues related to the construction, preservation, documentation and dissemination of the databases. Several presentations covered techniques being used to automate the creation of databases, including OCR, tokenization, entity recognition, and record linkage.
Lee-Campbell Group members including Cameron Campbell, Dong Hao, Gao Shuaqi, Chen Jun, Wu Yibei, James Lee, Hou Yueran and Matt Noellert made presentations introducing their databases.
In addition to the presenters, other faculty and students attended as observers.
The meeting concluded with the development of plans for training workshops for historians to help them learn how to construct databases and make use of existing ones.
Christian Henriot has written a more detailed discussion of the Chinese historical databases meeting at the ENEP website.
Introductory Remarks by Chen Zhiwu, Cameron Campbell
Session 1 – New Approaches
Chair: Cameron Campbell
Content and Value of the Chinese Genealogy Database
The Process of Building the Chinese Genealogy Database
Geocoding the Past World: Unearthing Coordinates of Early China from Texts Using Large Language Models
Session 2 – Geographic, Economic, and Other Context
Chair: Chen Zhiwu
Quantifying Living Standards, an Overview
Early Modern Wages: Data and Limits
Session 3 – Late Imperial China I
Chair: James Lee
East Asian Population Databases
Modern China Historical Database: Current Status and Future Prospects
Session 4 – Late Imperial China II
Chair: Debin Ma
CGED-Q: Current Status and Future Plans
CGED-Q ZSBL: Military Officials
Session 5 – ROC
Chair: Dong Hao
Late Qing and Beiyang Student Records, and Beiyang and ROC Officials
Construction of Occupational Database of Tsinghua Students Studying in America with Boxer Indemnity Fund (1909-1944)
Lik Hang Tsui
Ink Trails: Correspondence and Connections in a Dataset of Epistolary Manuscripts from Song China
Session 6 – ROC and PRC
Chair: Christian Henriot
Lee-Campbell Group Post-1949 Rural Datasets
Lee-Campbell Group PRC and ROC Educational, Academic, and Professional Datasets
Post-1949 County Gazetteers
China’s provincial CCP élite since 1921
Panel with remarks by Cameron Campbell, Zhiwu Chen, Christian Henriot, and James Z. Lee