Developed as part of the Local Gazetteers Working Group in Department III, “Local Gazetteers Research Tools” (LoGaRT) is a software for searching, analyzing, and collecting data from digitized Chinese local gazetteers (difangzhi 地方志)—major primary sources for the study of China’s local history.
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First released in 2015, the usage of LoGaRT began its life restricted to those affiliated with the MPIWG—a consequence of licensing restrictions on commercially-available digitized gazetteers. To address the gap in high-quality, open-access collections of digitized Chinese local gazetteers, the MPIWG partnered with Harvard-Yenching Library in 2018 for a joint digitization project funded by the Max Planck Society and the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange (CCKF) to release the open-access research LoGaRT tool.
"The resource provides historians with a bird’s-eye view of a collection of gazetteers beyond browsing and reading individually," Project Manager Sean Wang explains. "Its philosophy is to treat all available digitized gazetteers as a conceptual database for historical inquiries, which enables historians to ask larger-scale questions that are not necessarily bounded by geographical regions, time periods, or individual efforts."
About Local Gazetteers
Local gazetteers (difangzhi 地方志) are major primary sources for the study of China’s local history. An estimated 8,000 titles of local gazetteers dating from the tenth to the twentieth century are still extant, covering nearly all populated regions of historical China (including Taiwan). Written by officials and local gentry, these gazetteers documented topics far beyond geographical landscape, including flora and fauna, local products, temples and schools, officials and celebrities, local culture and customs.