Serica project website

27 October 2012

In my first post, I described this blog as the “outer chapter” to the “inner chapter” of my project to locate, identify, and list all the pre-modern Chinese materials in the Bodleian Library. The initial results of that project can be seen here:

http://serica.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/

There isn’t much content in the site at present, but now that the framework is in place, very much more will be added in the coming months and years. Already, two categories of important material have been presented in their entirety: our Taiping Tianguo publications (tentatively classified under 史部 – 政書類 – 太平天國印書)  and our holdings of Yongle dadian (子部 – 類書類).

It is possible to view the “marc” (馬克) format of each record. This is not one of the standard MARCs in use in libraries throughout the world, but simply a variant of our in-house format for cataloguing Chinese and Japanese books.

The records of the Taiping Tianguo publications all offer sample pages (書影) as a means of enabling the reader to see what they look like, and to confirm (or question) the identification. Some of the other records also offer these, particularly in cases where the identification is open to question or the object is of unusual interest.

Our Yongle dadian holdings have all been digitised, and the quanwen 全文 button gives access to the scans; although this Chinese term literally means “full text”, it should be noted that the digitisation is not “full-text” in the normal English meaning of the word, which usually means “full-text searchable”.

There are some loose ends in the database which will be tied up as the project proceeds. Additional functionality will also be provided.

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