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Digitizing Premodern Text with the Chinese Text Project

Sturgeon, Donald (2020) 'Digitizing Premodern Text with the Chinese Text Project.', Journal of Chinese History, 4 (2). pp. 486-498.


The widespread availability of digitized premodern textual sources – together with increasingly sophisticated means for their manipulation – has brought enormous practical benefits to scholars whose work relies upon reference to their contents. While great progress has been made with the construction of ever more comprehensive database systems and archives, far more remains not only possible but also realistically achievable in the near future. This paper discusses some of the key challenges faced, and progress made towards solving them, in the context of a widely used open digital platform attempting to expand the range of digitized sources available while simultaneously increasing the scope of meaningful tasks that can be performed with them computationally. This paper aims to suggest how seemingly simple human-mediated additions to the digitized historical record – when combined with the power of digital systems to repeatedly perform mechanical tasks at enormous scales – quickly lead to transformative changes in the feasible scope of computational analysis of premodern writing.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 4.0.
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Publisher statement:This article has been published in a revised form in Journal of Chinese History This version is published under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND. No commercial re-distribution or re-use allowed. Derivative works cannot be distributed. © Cambridge University Press 2020
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:02 November 2021
Date of first online publication:12 August 2020
Date first made open access:02 November 2021

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