There are a wide variety of Chinese local gazetteers, including general gazetteers, chronicle gazetteers, prefecture gazetteers, regional gazetteers, county gazetteers, township/town gazetteers, and other varieties of special gazetteers. As historical records, local gazetteers reflect the historical trajectory of social development to a certain extent, and provide important resources for reconstructing and analyzing social and historical process. Since the 1930s, local gazetteers have been important source materials for Chinese and international scholars in the study of Chinese social history. With developments in the digitization of local gazetteers, it becomes easier for researchers to access gazetteer materials.
In order to further promote the digitization of Chinese local gazetteers, it is crucial to study gazetteers more deeply and extensively. My project is to explore the stylistic rules, categorized structure, and writing specifications under the digitalization of the Chinese local gazetteers. My research plan will cover four topics.
- The evolution of gazetteer stylistic rules and specifications. Analysis of changes in the stylistic features and specifications through observation of the historical evolution of local gazetteers.
- The variety of gazetteer categorization. Understand how Chinese local gazetteers were organized according to various categories, which were based on different stylistic rules.
- The writing patterns of gazetteer versions. Scrutinize the writing pattern and then the purpose, significance, and methods of record.
- The value orientation of gazetteer versions. Analyze the value of the gazetteers as historical resources for academic research.
Through this research project I hope to be able to provide the theoretical base for and methodological support to the formation and conversion of the Chinese local gazetteer database.