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Project presentation: Early Chinese Periodicals Online (ECPO)

Recently, the project “Early Chinese Periodicals Online” (ECPO) - funded by the Institute of Chinese Studies and the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies entered a new phase. With its preceding projects—"Chinese Entertainment Newspapers" and "Chinese Women's Magazines in the Late Qing and Early Republican Period"—ECPO already looks back to more than 12 years of development. In the beginning the focus was on collecting and making accessible the dispersed and analog materials—early media in China. A dedicated interdisciplinary research team studied the data, and developed an adequate methodology. Results were published in an edited volume (Cambridge Univ. Press 2018) and a number of Ph.D. dissertations.

In recent years, ECPO developed into an open access platform with a potential going beyond the past projects. And this not only means the expansion of contents and in parts richly annotated metadata (not just in Chinese). It is now possible to approach the data in a much more systematical way. The most important reasons are the technical improvements in ECPO and the opening up of its data. The new cross-database agents service, an annotation workflow which can also be used for crowd-sourcing, and the first editing of full issues in TEI XML. Going beyond descriptive metadata for the ECPO publications, and making them available-step by step- as full text, has become a now goal for the project. Although this is still quite a challenge, it will open complete new fields of work and raise new sets of research questions.

With our first presentation of the project at Heidelberg we not only want to show what we’ve already achieved. We want to incite interest in the material and its (not just technical) potential, which we are developing. We also want to encourage utilization and exploitation of our resources for individual researchers. We wish to open a critical dialog and hope for ideas and suggestions on how to further improve ECPO. And - last but not least - we are interested in finding new active members for our project!

The project will be introduced by Prof. Barbara Mittler, Prof. Joan Judge (York University), Dr. Henrike Rudolph (Erlangen University), Lena Hessel, Xie Jia, Jörg Torkler, and Matthias Arnold.

Chinese Entertainment Newspapers
Chinese Women's Magazines in the Late Qing and Early Republican Period

Early Chinese Periodicals Online (ECPO) - database
Early Chinese Periodicals Online (ECPO) - project introduction