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Wissenschaftssprache Chinesisch / Modern Chinese Scientific Terminologies (WSC)

Upper screenshot: Customized frontend to the digital collection developed by the project.

The WSC-Project (Wissenschaftssprache Chinesisch / Modern Chinese Scientific Terminologies) aims to understand the distribution and transformation of Euro-American knowledge in late imperial China (ca. 1600–1911) through the reconstruction of Chinese scientific terminologies coined, altered, disputed and successively refined since the early nineteenth century. Due to the vast amount of relevant sources, the project limits its scope for the time being to the disciplines of philosophy, logic, physics, chemistry, geography (i.e. "knowledge on foreign countries"), politics and international law. In addition, it concentrates on the formative period of modern Chinese scientific vocabulary between ca. 1840 and 1930.

The project focuses on the revision of a bibliographical database documenting translations of Western science and thought into Chinese during the period of investigation. Other data like biographical information on the authors and translators, or new terms developed and employed in these writings, are stored in related databases linked to the bibliography, which is being prepared for online access in future stages of the project. Once completed, the three repositories will make the transmission of knowledge transparent and accessible by providing comprehensive information on the media, institutions, people, texts, terms, sites and images involved in diverse instances of distribution, adaptation and appropriation of knowledge from Euro-America and Japan in late Qing and early Republican China.

WSC started with a project specific Filemaker database. In Phase 2 the bibliography part of the database was transformed to the Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS) and moved to Tamboti, HRA's central digital research infrastructure, where the records can be accessed without restriction. The WSC-project developed an alternative frontend to its digital collection featuring specific search functionality and a customised look and feel.