ECPO joins together several important digital collections of the early Chinese press. It is distinguished from other existing databases of Chinese periodicals in that it not only provides image scans, but also preserves materials often excluded in reprint, microfilm or digital (even fulltext) editions, such as advertising inserts and illustrations. In addition, it aims at incorporating metadata in both English and Chinese, including keywords and biographical information on editors, authors and individuals represented in illustrations and advertisements in the journals. By framing the journals with this body of metadata, 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. Using ECPO, the researcher will be able to nuance, challenge, and potentially refute existing narratives of history and cultural change.
The ECPO database combines what we call “extensive” and “intensive” approaches to China’s early periodicals.
The extensive comprises a comprehensive catalog and record of Republican-era art and literary periodicals, including such basic data as title, editor, publisher, location and dates of publication, periodicity, format, prominent contributors, etc.;
the intensive approach involves archiving digital cover-to-cover copies of entire runs of periodicals, analyzing their complete contents, and tagging them with structured meta-data.
So far, six journals (four women’s journals and two entertainment periodicals) have been included in the database using the intensive approach. In the extensive section of the database, we have so far been able to work on a selection of some 150 journals in addition to those contained in the Xiaobao database.
We will continue to upgrade the database’s keyword metadata by mapping them -as far as possible- to established structured thesauri such as Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus and its Chinese version, AAT Taiwan in cooperation with the ASDC. This mapping in turn opens up the possibility of linking ECPO directly to other digital collections. By offering ECPO within Tamboti, a service-oriented collection eco-system developed by the HRA (Heidelberg Research Architecture), its data records will be available in standardized XML, allowing broad sharing and exchange of the project’s research results in the future.
We are looking for contributors to the database: if you have a related research project or available materials that you would like to include within the framework of ECPO, please contact us!