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Modeling Chinese Biography

Friday, January 25, 2013
Modeling Chinese Biography: The China Biographical Database (CBDB)


Guest Speaker: Dr. Shih-Pei Chen (陳詩沛), Project Manager, China Biographical Database Project, Fairbank Center, Harvard University

Time and Place: 2:00 – 3:00 PM, Room 207, Sterling Memorial Library (East Asia Library Classroom)

The China Biographical Database (CBDB) (http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k16229) is an online relational database with biographical information about approximately 116,150 individuals (as of January 2012), primarily from the 7th through 19th centuries. While the database can serve as a kind of biographical reference, the main purpose of CBDB is to enable users, working in Chinese or English, to use large quantities of prosopographical data to explore historical questions via the means of statistical, social network, and spatial analyses. Therefore, instead of including only the biographical texts, CBDB structures its data in a relational database so that user can query the data in terms of place, time, office, social associations, and kinship, in addition to person names, and thus enables prosopography.

In this talk, we will focus on demonstrating the standalone version of CBDB, a Microsoft Access relational database package with the whole CBDB dataset, as well as its built-in queries such as Query by Methods of Entry into Government, Query Office Holding, Query Kinship, and Query Social Networks. The standalone database can also output query results in formats that can be analyzed with geographic information system and social network analysis software, which we will demonstrate as well.

Please come to join us and learn more about it! This talk is sponsored by the East Asia Library and Council on East Asian Studies.