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Film on Early Chinese Periodicals Online

Jul 09, 2015

A film introducing the work of research project "Early Chinese Periodicals Online" (ECPO) has been produced by Heidelberg Forum Edition. The project is developing a database on Chinese periodicals including a sophisticated body of metadata. Building on a number of Cluster/HCTS research projects, the international collaboration is headed by Prof. Dr. Barbara Mittler, who presented their work in a talk on July 14 at Heidelberg University.

In the film, three project members, Prof. Barbara Mittler, Sun Liying, and Matthias Arnold, explain how they preserve and digitise Chinese periodicals in building a database prototype, ECPO (Early Chinese Periodicals Online). In developing this tool, they are able to pool important digital collections of the early Chinese press and make them available to scholarly communities around the world. The database ECPO does not only provide image scans, but also preserves materials often excluded in reprint, microfilm or digital editions, such as advertising inserts and illustrations. In addition, it incorporates a sophisticated body of metadata in both English and Chinese, including keywords and biographical information on editors, authors and individuals represented in illustrations and advertisements. ECPO enables researchers to establish interconnections between, for example, given individuals, topics or illustrations, and to chart their relationships within particular issues of periodicals, over the entire run of a particular periodical, and across different periodicals. 

So far, there are 236 publications recorded in ECPO. Together with two project-related databases on "Chinese Women's Magazines" and "Chinese Entertainment Newspapers", the databases comprise more than 700 digitised publications (journals and magazine issues) that are structured in more than 100.000 items (articles, images or advertisements).

In addition to the film, Prof. Barbara Mittler gave a presentation on the research project as part of the Heidelberg Forum Edition lecture series. The talk "Gender, die populären Medien und die Digital Humanities—Von WoMag (Chinese Women’s Magazines in the Late Qing and Early Republican Period) zu ECPO (Early Chinese Periodicals Online) und weiter" was given on July 14 in the Neue Universität.

ECPO was originally created by the Heidelberg Research Architecture (HRA), in collaboration with Taiwan’s Academia Sinica. It is part of research group MC15 "Powers of the Press" at the Cluster/HCTS and affiliated with the Heidelberg Forum Edition. The project, sustained by an international team of researchers in Canada, Europe, Asia and the United States, builds on six years of interdisciplinary work. It is headed by Prof. Dr. Barbara Mittler (Heidelberg), Prof. Joan Judge (York University, Toronto), Prof. Christopher Hamm (University of Washington), and Dr. Chien-ming Yu (Academia Sinica).

Further Links
Watch the film online
Visit the project website "ECPO"
Read an entry at Weblog DHdBlog (German)


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  • Barbara Mittler, Matthias Arnold and Sun Liying at work (film still)

  • Chinese Women’s Magazines in the Late Qing an Early Republican Period – Main page of the database