Preservation and Access: Humanities Collections and Reference Resources

Period of Performance

9/1/2009 - 8/31/2012

Funding Totals

$235,000.00 (approved)
$235,000.00 (awarded)

China Biographical Database Project

FAIN: PW-50438-09

President and Fellows of Harvard College (Cambridge, MA 02138-3800)
Peter K. Bol (Project Director: August 2008 to December 2012)

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.

Media Coverage

General Introducntion of the Digital Resources of Historical Chinese Studies in U.S. and Europe (Geng Yuanli, 2019) (Media Coverage)
Date: 12/9/2021

Digital Humanistic Perspective, A Study on the Visualization of Political Network in Song Dynasty Based on Symbolic Analysis(Chengxi Yan, Jun Wang, 2018) (Media Coverage)
Date: 12/9/2021

The social networks of antiquities collectors in the late Northern Song(Hsu Ya-hwei, 2018) (Review)
Date: 12/9/2021

Exploring Lives of China Ming-Qing Female Poets (Hu Jiajia, 2017) (Review)
Date: 12/9/2021

Some Visualization Approaches to the Study of Classical Chinese Literature: A Case Study on Tang Xianzu (Yongming XU, 2016) (Media Coverage)
Date: 12/9/2021

如何利用CBDB 找出《鳳墅帖》結集的人脈 (PDF) (Review)
Date: 12/9/2021

Sentence segmentation for classical Chinese based on LSTM with radical embedding (Han Xu,Wang Hongsu,Zhang Sanqian,Fu Qunchao,Liu Jun 2019) (Review)
Date: 12/9/2021

From Text to Data: Extracting Posting Data from Chinese Local Gazetteers(Wai-Him Pang, Hui Cheng, Shih-Pei Chen, 2014) (Review)
Date: 12/9/2021

GIS, prosopography and history (Peter Bol, 2012) (Review)
Date: 12/9/2021

The Daoxue Movement and Local Society: The Jinhua Case / 道學運動與地方社會: 以南宋婺州為例 (Review)
Date: 12/9/2021

Visualizing CBDB Data from the Song to Ming Dynasties: ArcGIS Technique and Methodology (Review)
Date: 12/9/2021

Research on the Application of Knowledge Graph in Digital Humanities(CHEN Tao, LIU Wei, SHAN Rongrong & ZHU Qinghua, 2019) (Media Coverage)
Date: 12/9/2021

Semi-Automating-the-Transformation-of-Chinese-Historical-Records-Into-Structured-Biographical-Data (Lik Hang Tsui, Hongsu Wang, 2019) (Review)
Date: 12/9/2021

What the humanist can do in constructing Humanity database: Taking the extraction of kinship data from Epitaphs in Quansongwen as an Example (Peihui Chen, 2018) (Review)
Date: 12/9/2021

Associated Products

China Biographical Database (Database/Archive/Digital Edition)
Title: China Biographical Database
Author: Peter K. Bol
Author: Wang Hongsu
Author: Michael A. Fuller
Author: Song Chen
Author: Deng Xiaonan
Author: Chen Wenyi
Author: Chen Hsi-yuan
Author: Luo Xin
Abstract: The China Biographical Database (CBDB) is an open-ended joint project of Harvard University, Academia Sinica, and Peking University. It is a freely accessible relational database with biographical information about approximately 491,000 individuals as of May 2021, primarily from the 7th through 19th centuries. With both online and offline versions, the data is meant to be useful for statistical, social network, and spatial analysis as well as serving as a kind of biographical reference. Currently it has over 6000 visitors a month.
Year: 2021
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: English language website for the CBDB project at Harvard University. Includes history of project, participants, funding history, methodogies, sources, user guides, references to publications using or concerning CBDB, download page, and Chinese language versions of all pages.
Access Model: open access, free download