Ming Qing Women's Writings Digitization Project
Ming Qing Women's Writings Digitization Project

Project Description

The McGill-Harvard-Yenching Library Ming-Qing Women’s Writings Digitization Project is a joint project supported by McGill University and Harvard-Yenching Library, which is purposed to offer all researchers and students digital information on more than 90 titles of women’s writings currently held in the Harvard-Yenching Library. These collections were mainly published during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties; a few collections were published during the 1920s in the early Republican period (1911-1949). The database has been designed especially for Chinese women’s writings of the past several hundred years, and contains information on about 5,000 woman poets and other writers, more than ten thousand poems mainly written by women, several hundred historical regions, approximately 20,000 scanned images of original works, and other useful reference information. The database is expected to be an effective and powerful tool for students of Chinese literature, culture, and history, and especially for students of women's literature. The database can be searched using many access points, including name of author, title, poem form, region, etc., both in Chinese and Pinyin. The full records contain a great deal of rigorously verified data. Individual collections can be viewed online in their entirety by using the page turner.

Research tools include:

  • A table for Chinese chronology covering 16 dynasties with a total of 580 reign titles for 3045 years (up to 1911).
  • A table of the sexagenary cycle which covers 2681 years (up to 1911).

Information in the database can be accessed thru the Search page by the following 5 methods:

  1. Select a book
  2. Browse a list
  3. Keyword search
  4. Compound search
  5. Browse indices - Personal Names, Poem Titles, Remarks on Poetry, Biographies, Poetic Forms, Tune Patterns, Prose Genres, Ethnic Groups, Marital Status, Geographical Locations, Reign Titles, Sexagenary Cycles.

There are 23 points of access to the database in both Chinese characters and Pinyin (in keyword and compound search); this provides in theory approximately 1.68 million search permutations.

Search features include:

  • Search poets/authors by year (e.g. 1644)
  • Search poets/authors by time period (e.g. 1600-1700)
  • Search poets/authors by reign title (e.g. Qianlong)
  • Search poets/authors by geographical location (e.g. Hangzhou)
  • All poets/authors are linked to poems and collections

Contextual information:

  • Includes information on more than 8000 related family members and friends.
  • Provides links between poets based on exchange of poems.
  • Indicates primary sources such as bibliographical catalogues related to poets.
  • Indicates persons contributing comments, prefaces and colophons for or about poets.

Technical Description

The Ming-Qing Chinese Women's Poetry Project uses a variety of technologies, including databases, xml, xslt, and scripting languages.

The digital objects which contain the page images are stored in XML, using a modified version of the MOA2 DTD. XSLT is used to deliver these images through the DCP web-based page-turning device.

The Unicode UTF-8 encoding scheme has been used throughout.

Whenever possible, DCP uses open-source technologies in its projects.

Whenever possible, DCP uses W3C standards and recommendations, and strives for barrier-free, accessible design. DCP supports the Web Accessibility Initiative. The Ming Qing Women's Writings Digitization project conforms to level Double-A of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0, including all Priority 1 and Priority 2 checkpoints defined in the Guidelines.