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Harvard University (Cambridge, MA 02138-3800)
Peter K. Bol (Project Director: August 2008 to December 2012)
China Biographical Database Project

Expansion of a Chinese biographical database of prominent political and cultural figures since ancient times. To expedite the incorporation of biographical data, the project would combine human editing with automated programs for extracting information from relevant sources.

Biography has been a major form of the recording of the past in China since the second century B.C. Over half of the content of the twenty-five official histories--the histories of the dynasties that ruled China--consists of biography. The interest in biography as a way of thinking about and remembering the Chinese past is represented most systematically in modern research by biographical dictionaries in English, Chinese, and Japanese and the many personal name indexes to historical sources. The China Biographical Database provides a means of analyzing the life histories of tens or ten-thousands of figures who appear in the Chinese historical record without losing sight of the main characteristics of the individual life history. This project will combine automated programs for marking up Chinese biographical texts with human editing, thus enabling dramatic increases in the expansion of this bilingual database.

Project fields:
Asian Studies

Humanities Collections and Reference Resources

Preservation and Access

$235,000 (approved)
$235,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2009 – 8/31/2012