Presentations and Papers

General Introduction to CBDB 201504

Some Visualization Approaches to the Study of Classical Chinese Literature: A Case Study on Tang Xianzu (Yongming XU, 2016)

CBDB Presentation at National Central Library

These are the slides for Professor Peter Bol, Shih-Pei Chen and Yu Wen's talk on CBDB and China X at National Central Library.

For the details of this talk, please visit

WORKSHOP: Computational Tools and Digital Resources for Chinese History and Literature (AAS 2013):

The China Biographical Database Modeling Life Histories – From Anecdote to Data (Shih-Pei Chen)
Asian Geodata (Merrick Lex Berman)
From Texts to Databases: The Computer Modeling and Analysis of Historical and Literary Materials (Michael A. Fuller)
Description of Tang Data / Using Data in Research (Nicolas Tackett)
Linking Texts and Databases: Using the CBDB API (Hilde De Weerdt, Hou Leong Ho)

Above you can download all the 5 slides from the workshop that CBDB and our collaborators talked in the AAS 2013 annual conference (AAS = Association for Asian Studies). The workshop is entitled "Computational Tools and Digital Resources for Chinese History and Literature", which covers CBDB, CHGIS, Tang epitaphs (muzhiming), Song Notebooks (biji) data, and how scholars are using computational methods in their research.

Workshop on Computational Tools and Digital Resources for Chinese History and Literature

Organizer: Peter K. Bol
Presenters: (in the order of presenting at AAS)
Shih-pei Chen: RegEx Machine, CBDB APIs, Song huiyao
Merrick Lex Berman: CHGIS, ChinaMap, Skinner Archive,
Michael Fuller: CBDB and SNA
Nicolas Tackett: Using Data in Research
Hilde De Weerdt & Hou Ieong Ho: Song Biji database, using the CBDB API

This workshop introduces some computational methods of general usefulness and major new digital resources of particular value in Chinese studies. It will also demonstrate interoperability between independent online systems through application processing interfaces (APIs) and online systems that combine textual, statistical and map analysis. The presentations introduce in concrete ways the use of these methods and resources and demonstrate applications in recent research.

The core is the “China Biographical Database” of the China Biographical Database Project, a relational database of the sociopolitical elite (by March 2013 200,000 historical men and women). Outputs from queries by place, time, kinship, social association, office, genre of writings, etc can be analyzed with statistical, geographic information system, and social network analysis software. CBDB is a collaboration of Harvard University, Academia Sinica, and Peking University. CBDB incorporates biographical data from Kyoto University’s Tang database, Academia Sinica’s Ming Qing files, Ming Qing Women’s Writings, and many individual contributors. We will also introduce CBDB’s “RegEx Machine,” used to extract biographical data from semi-structured Chinese text automatically, which can be used generally in text-mining and does not require programming expertise. The China Historical Geographic Information System Project by Fudan University and Harvard provides fundamental datasets for 221BCE-1911CE, allowing the contextualization of CBDB outputs. It also has an API. Together with the Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis WorldMap Platform users can now make use of online mapping tools without first learning GIS software. We will also introduce the G. Wm. Skinner datasets for public distribution.


This is the slides of the talk by Professor Chu Pingtzu (祝平次) at the Dept. of Chinese Literature, National Normal University of Taiwan on 2012/10/23. Pingtzu used the correspondence between Zhu Xi (朱熹) and Zhang Shi (張栻) as a example to demonstrate what CBDB can help in undersanding their correspondence and their social networks.


This is the paper shown in the 2012 Text as Data Conference explaining the CBDB Regex Machine.


This is the slides that Professor Chu Pingtzu taught CBDB on 2012-10-05. The content is in Chinese.

CBDB Abstract for Digital Humanities Hamburg 2012

如何利用CBDB 找出《鳳墅帖》結集的人脈 (PDF)

Four students of National Taiwan University and Tamkang University reported their findings in using CBDB at the 4th International Conference on Sinology. They tried to explore the social relationships for the owner of Fengshutie 鳳墅帖, a collection of letters written in Chinese calligraphy.

On an Infrastructure for Historical Spatial analysis, 2012

By Peter Bol, Center for Geographic Analysis

Given at the Harvard-Ritsumeikan Symposium on DigitalHumanities on 2012/03/03 atHarvard University

Historical Resear in Dig Env.pdf

數位時代下的歷史研究: Talk at the International Conference on Digital Archives andDigitalHumanities (DADH) in National Taiwan University. (2011/12/01)

The Daoxue Movement and Local Society: The Jinhua Case / 道學運動與地方社會: 以南宋婺州為例

By Peter K. Bol Harvard University / 哈佛大學包弼德

Given at The Fagu Lectureship on the Humanities at Peking University on 2011/12/18 at Peking University.

The Geographic and the Prosographic: Rethinking China’s History in a Digital Age

By Peter Bol

Given at Harvard Club Beijing on 2011/12/18 in Beijing, China

Visualizing CBDB Data from the Song to Ming Dynasties: ArcGIS Technique and Methodology

This is a project paper by Darius Li and Adam Mitchell in Professor Peter Bol's c200r class. Darius and Adam gave a wonderful explanation of step-by-step procedures of how to visualize CBDB in the ArcGIS software.


CBDB Talk in Kunming, 2008.