The use of Geographic Information System in the development and utilization of ancient local chronicles

Publication Date21 September 2015
Date21 September 2015
DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/LHT-03-2015-0028
Pages356-368
AuthorSuoling Zhu,Ping Bao
SubjectLibrary & information science,Librarianship/library management,Library technology
The use of Geographic
Information System in the
development and utilization of
ancient local chronicles
Suoling Zhu
University Library, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, China, and
Ping Bao
Institute of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Civilization,
Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, China
Abstract
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to apply Geographic Information System (GIS) in the
developmentand utilization of Chinese ancientlocal chronicles to achieve themining and visualization of
historical data about products distribution anddispersal in Products in Local Chronicles of Guangdong.
Design/methodology/approach Using 1,756 records of product-related location names in
Products in Local Chronicles of Guangdong of the Qing dynasty, which are recognized by a name
recognition system, as attribute data; taking the spatial data of Chinese administrative geography of
the Qing dynasty in 1820 and the Historical Atlas of China as spatial data; connect the attribute data
with relevant spatial data based on the table connection function of Arcmap in Arcgis 8.3 to implement
the data management, cartography and analysis.
Findings The application of GIS in the development and utilization of ancient local chronicles was
quite successful. With some thematic maps, knowledge about products distribution and dispersal in
ancient books was vividly displayed so as to facilitate relevant researches.
Research limitations/implications Only product-related location names inside China were
analyzed, not other named entities in local chronicles; and only static visual display was achieved, not
dynamic visual display. Historical maps of the world can be used to carry out the visualization of the
products distribution and dispersal in the world, and even the visualization of other knowledge, such
as poetries and songs scattered over many places in China. The process of products dispersal and the
distribution of poetries and songs can be dynamically and visually displayed by pictures, audios,
videos, multimedia, etc.
Practical implications By using GIS in the development and utilization of Chinese ancient local
chronicles, this paper explores a new way for the collation of ancient books and open up a new area for
the research of digital humanities.
Originality/value This is the first try about the application of GIS in the development and utilization of
ancient local chronicles, and also the same of digital humanities research in the field of agricultural history.
Keywords Digitization of ancient books, GIS, Digital humanities, Collation of ancient books,
Local chronicles
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
A local chronicle, which is short for a local history, is a comprehensive description that
records the history and current situation of certain regions in all aspects of nature and
society (Lai, 1984). Chinese local chronicles are known worldwide as they have long
Library Hi Tech
Vol. 33 No. 3, 2015
pp. 356-368
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
0737-8831
DOI 10.1108/LHT-03-2015-0028
Received 21 March 2015
Revised 26 May 2015
Accepted 15 July 2015
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/0737-8831.htm
The authors would like to extend their gratitude to Nanjing Agricultural University which
Humanities and Social Science Grant (No. SK2014033) helped fund and support this paper.
356
LHT
33,3

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