This project deals with the categorization structure of local gazetteers as a way to organize knowledge about a locale. Focusing on long-term changes in the structures themselves allows us to observe internal changes in the tradition of the genre. Questions such as how the structure of classification evolved through time, what are the differences in categories among different gazetteers from different areas, and whether category changes reflected changes in the reality of the locale are explored.
In the initial stage, the project utilizes the tables of contents of 3999 gazetteers built by the LoGART (Local Gazetteer Research Tools, MPIWG Dept. III) system together with forty-one more detailed tables from Academia Sinica, Taiwan to further concretize the problematic and narrow down the range of gazetteers that will be used. The project implements some digital humanities methods to visualize the structures, so that comparative results can be observed more easily. This results of this project can also serve as primary research material for a comparative study between local gazetteers and other genres whose main frameworks are also arranged by categories, such as the official histories (zhengshi 正史), the categorized references for composition (leishu 類書), and the anthologies for governance (zhengshu 政書).