CBDB Sign-up Form: Click the link and fill in your information if you would like to receive email about new releases for CBDB. The link will possibly be opened in a new browser tab/window. (Note: If you can't access the Sign-up Form, please contact Hongsu Wang at hongsuwang [at] fas.harvard.edu. )
Error Report Form: We now also have a form for you to report errors! If you find any errors or bugs, please click on the form above.
The standalone version of the China Biographical Database (CBDB) contains data on over 471,844 men and women. Both Microsoft Access and SQLite Formats and their downloads are listed below:
Download Latest Microsoft Access Format:
For experienced users (Don't use this link, except that you know what you are doing)
Please DO read the CBDB download and installation guide before you start using CBDB Access.
If you are having trouble downloading the file, please contact hongsuwang(at)fas.harvard.edu.
Download Latest Release SQLite Format:
Download Latest CBDB Mac Dictionary:
This release, CBDB_bc_20210525_build20210531, is effective as of 2021-06-14. The major updates include:
CBDB Access Query System（Michael Fuller）:
1. Index Place is now handled the way Index Year is: both are added to BIOG_MAIN. Index Year derives from birth year or death year (values in BIOG_MAIN), if they are known, and, if not, from data elsewhere in the system. A source code for the index year value is included in BIOG_MAIN. Similarly, Index Place is derived from data in BIOG_ADDR_DATA, and the type code for Index Place is included in BIOG_MAIN. As a result, users should use ZZZ_BIOG_MAIN instead of ZZZ_ALL_BIOG_ADDR as the table for building queries about people.
2. Because scholars may prefer to use different categories of place association to define the Index Place, the BC version of CBDB includes a form accessible from the Navigation Pane through which the user can change the hierarchy of places associations used to define Index Place. (See the explanation under the heading “Navigation Pane.”
3. Searching by dynasty behaves a bit differently. When one specifies that the “from” and “to” dynasties are the same, for example from Yuan 元 to Yuan, the search routines now look for data with that particular code (Yuan = 18) rather than for all dynasties that have a temporal overlap with the selected dynasty (for instance, the Yuan [1234-1367], overlaps with the Song dynasty [960-1279]).
4. To select codes for Association, Entry, Office, Place, and Status, CBDB now allow the user to select more than one category at a time. As a result, the form behaves a bit differently than before: the form always moves to the bottom of the list for any type in the right-hand list box, so that the user will need to scroll up to see the entire list. Also, while the search function still works, it does not highlight the target record.
5. Various bugs were fixed in the behavior of the forms. In particular, the address tree now does a better job checking and sorting out subordinate relations between administrative units.
1. Changed the size of the field c_entry_desc in Z_SCRATCH_DUMMY_EC from 50 to 255 in the USER version to be consistent with the other versions.
1. 17,000 new persons names and 10,486 social association for Ming and Qing dynasties from Academia Sinica Name Authority Database.
2. 17,560 book titles from the Union Catalogue of Chinese Collectanea. (Contributor: Edith Enright)
3. 20,678 entries, 2,180 alternative names and 16,020 postings information for the Ming and Qing dynasties from local gazetteers.
4. 79 schools with 379 scholars belonging information. (Contributor: Bi Mengxi)
5. 600 new Ming and Qing persons with their data from the biography chapters in local gazetteers were created by CBDB crowdsourcing contributors.
1. CBDB User manual English version was updated by Peter Bol and Michael Fuller.
2. The dynasties of persons have been re-calculated by birth years+30 instead of death years.
3. c_status_type_parent_code filed has been added to STATUS_TYPES table for creating social status tree.
If you encounter an error on Windows 10: “Missing or broken reference” to a file MSCOMCTL.OCX, follow the instructions in the this PDF.
20201110CBDB bb Version:
This release, CBDB_BB_20201110, is effective as of 2020-11-18. The major updates include:
CBDB Access Query System（Michael Fuller）:
1. CBDB now has a MS Access “Look at Status” form to allow users to explore categories of social distinction.
2. All the MS Access query forms now permit using dynasty as a search parameter. There remain many individuals for which CBDB lacks the data to assign an index year, and while searches by dynasty define a rather broad time period, still it provides some temporal specification that we believe may prove useful.
3. The approach to kinship searches has been revised. In concatenating kinship relations in iterative searches, CBDB now automatically simplifies eight relationships:
BB (brother’s brother) >> Brother
ZB (sister’s brother) >> Brother
BZ (brother’s sister) >> Sister
ZZ (sister’s sister) >> Sister
SB (son’s brother) >> Son
SZ (son’s sister) >> Daughter
DB (daughter’s brother) >> Son
DZ (daughter’s sister) >> Daughter
The effect of this change is that the “collateral” parameter in the relationship decreases by 1, so that the relationship (and the person identified through the relationship) may now remain within the search limits specified by the user. Moreover, CBDB may identify additional new relations of the newly permitted individual who would not have appeared in the earlier version of the search.
4. CBDB is now explicit that the address codes used for searches is an Index Place, a construct analogous to Index Year. While the address codes used for searches always have been assigned according to a hierarchy of place information, we believe that it is better to be explicit about the status of index place. Even the “basic place affiliation” (jiguan 籍貫) has problems in its historical interpretation, so that it always remains useful to be circumspect about the assignment of index places. They are largely—but not entirely—reliable.
1. The Index Year has been significantly revised. It now represents the birth year of the individual. For individuals for whom the year of birth is not known, CBDB uses a series of calculations based on other data. While CBDB has derived the index year for individuals in the past, it now uses derived index years to derive yet more index years when it is possible. The Index Year Type Code preserves the steps in the derivation. Please note that each iteration is yet more inaccurate, but we believe that for running queries an index year that is off by a decade is still better than having no index year at all.
2. 417 garrison addresses for Ming dynasty. (Contributor: Ruoran Cheng)
3. 376 social status records for thinkers. (Contributor: Mengxi Bi)
4. Kinship and entry data mistakes were fixed. (Contributors: Moqin Zhou, Song Chen)
5. Added TEXT_INSTANCE_DATA table to collect version information of books. (Contributors: Edith Enright, Song Chen)
6. Change TEXT_DATA table name to BIOG_TEXT_DATA.
CBDB User manual English version was updated by Peter Bol and Michael Fuller.
20200528CBDB ba Version:
This release, CBDB_ba_20200528, is effective as of 2020-05-28. It contains data on over 470,000 men and women. Additions include:
1. 46,000 new persons from local gazetteers with their 57,000 posting records.
2.100 social associations from corpuses on Ming dynasty. (contributor: Youou Liu 劉韻鷗)
20190424CBDB az Version:
Important Notice 2020-3-12:
Users of all versions of the MS Access CBDB database should update the user interface to the BA version. The underlying data has not changed. The BA version of the database, CBDB_ba_20190424, can be downloaded HERE.(For experienced users, you can just download CBDB_ba_User_20200308 to replace the user interface program (version BA) [rather than interface + data files] from HERE) The BA interface corrects an error in the form for looking at KINSHIP: Previous versions gave wrong values for the count of addresses (XY_count).
The CBDB team requests that you inform us any errors you discover in any query or output form. Please use the Error Report Form on the CBDB website. Forms are complex, and errors all too easily slip by, which is why it is vital that you report what you think might be a problem
This release, CBDB_ba_20190424, is effective as of 2020-03-12, includes the following changes:
1. This release fixes a major bug in the way that the XY count is counted when outputting data to Gephi.
2. This release adds the ability to export to Gephi in the Query Associations and Query Pair-Wise Associations forms.
3. The output to Gephi now includes the XY coordinates to allow users to take advantage of the Geographic Distribution visualization add-on in Gephi.
20190424CBDB az Version:
This release, CBDB_az_20190424, includes the following changes:
1. Removal of the ability to filter by superior administrative unit when selecting places.
2. Addition of the ability to include or disallow the inclusion of subordinate administrative units when running queries that involve restrictions to specific places.
20190424CBDB ay Version:
This release, CBDB_ay_20190424, is effective as of 2019-04-29. Additions include:
1. 18,124 new social assignations for Tang and Five Dynasties from The communication poems for Tang and Five Dynasties figures 唐五代人交往詩索引 with 4,380 new figures, 702 new alternative names and 671 new kinship relationships etc. (contributor: Shuhua Zhang 張淑華, Qiong Yang 楊瓊, Yongqin Li 李永琴, Chengguo Pei 裴成國)
2. 5,895 new Tang addresses with 11,844 belongs data from General History of Chinese Administrative Divisions 中國行政區劃通史. (contributor: Chao Wei 魏超, Yifan Wang 王一帆, Yun Xing 邢雲, Wen Luo 駱文, Yuying Yuan 袁鈺瑩)
3. 1,200 new address names with 670 new address belongs data for Jin Dynasty. (contributor: Jingjia Qiu 邱靖嘉)
4. 1,765 new office titles for Jin dynasty. (contributor: Jingjia Qiu 邱靖嘉)
5. Michael Fuller developmented a new function to help users to save their query result for secondary queries.
6. Michael Fuller updated address selector to allow users to filter place names by superior administrative units.
7. Edith Enright systematically refined our label translations in Access query interface.
20180831CBDB ax Version:
An important feature of kinship network algrithum was added into Access standalone database(CBDB_ax_User.mdb). The duplicate records for kinship relationships can be calculated correctly in this new algrithum.
20170829CBDB av Version:
This release, CBDB_aw_20180831, is effective as of 2018-09-01. Additions include:
1. Michael Fuller created a new and more efficient mechanism to connect the user interface and the backend data;
2. 5,300 new persons added with 5,300 entries jiguan data, 4,000 other entries, and 2,300 alternative names from the Name Authority Database at Academia Sinica;
3. 8,000 personid entries are mapped between CBDB and the Name Authority Database;
4. The database was thoroughly cleaned with the foreign key mechanism (contributor: Fu Qunchao 傅群超);
5. Bugs were fixed in pinyin entries and jiguan data etc.
20170829CBDB av Version:
The standalone version of the China Biographical Database (CBDB) contains data on over 417,000 men and women. Users must download two compressed files: a BASE file and a USER file. To use this database do the following:
- Please download 20170829CBDBavBase.rar (the BASE file) and 20170829CBDBavUser.rar (the USER file)
- Decompress them to the same folder.
Decompressed, there will be be 4 files:
The CBDB_InstallationGuide.pdf gives you instructions on how to install: see Part 2. "Installing the Database".
This release, 20170829CBDBavUser.mdb and 20170829CBDBavBase.mdb, is effective as of 2017-09-07. Additions include:
A. 51,551 new persons with 34,447 posting from local gazetteers;
B. 467 Wuzhou jinshi degree holders from Song to Yuan dynasties;
C. 841 figures with 1,725 kinship associations and 381 social associations from 全元文，宋濂全集，遜志齋集 etc. (contributor: Yu Wen 于文);
D. Michael Fuller and Chen Song has designed: 1) a rerun function in Query Social Networks to run queries through a previous result; 2) a new query function named Query Place Associations.
SQLite Format: 20170424CBDBauUserSqlite.7z
20170424CBDB au Version：
The standalone version of the China Biographical Database (CBDB) contains data on over 360,000 men and women. Users must download two compressed files: a BASE file and a USER file. To use this database do the following:
- Please download 20170424CBDBauBase.7z (the BASE file) and 20170424CBDBauUser.7z (the USER file)
- Decompress them to the same folder.
Decompressed, there will be 4 files:
The CBDB_InstallationGuide.pdf gives instructions on how to install: see Part 2. "Installing the Database".
This release, 20170424CBDBauUser.mdb and 20170424CBDBauBase.mdb, is effective as of 2017-04-25. Additions include:
A. 789 Wuzhou figures with 500 biographical address data, 1,800 kinship relations and other data from 全宋文 and 金華府志 (contributor : Du Feiran 杜斐然);
B. 700 biographical addresses, 3,000 kinship relations, 500 postings and other data from 全元文, 宋濂全集 and 藥房樵唱 (contributor : Yu Wen 于文);
C. 6,700 figures were connected to the 明清人名權威檔案 database (contributor: Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica);
D. Tang bureaucratic tree added (contributor: Lik Hang Tsui 徐力恆)
E. Fixed several mistakes in the bureaucratic and biographical data. Thanks to Chu Pingtzu 祝平次 and Yang Guang 楊光's for reporting them.
SQLite Link: 20170424CBDBauUserSqlite.7z
20170310CBDB au Version：
A. Data on 8,836 Tang figures and their 15,138 postings (source: 唐九卿考, 唐刺史考全編);
B. 5,921 Tang personid were disambiguated (contributor: Wen Xin 文欣);
C. 770 figures from 全元文 (contributor: Yu Wen 于文);
D. 1498 social status data from the Tang Dynasty (source: 唐五代人物傳記資料綜合索引);
E. Updated User Guide with English and Chinese versions (collated by Lik Hang Tsui 徐力恆);
F. Michael Fuller and Chu Ping-tzu rewrote several critical codes in CBDB Access Database so that it can run on both 32-bit and 64-bit MS Windows;
G. Michael Fuller added import person id list function to the Query Mediated Associations interface.
CBDB as Version：
SQLite Version Direct Link:
cbdb_sqlite.zip (for other users)
A. 36,826 new persons and 38,565 new entry records of Ming and Qing Civil Service Jinshi Degree holder (source: 明清人物題名碑);
B. 3,142 Liao Dynasty office titles with Liao office tree (contributor: Cao Liu 曹流);
C. Yuan office tree (contributor: Yi Ding 丁一, Yu Yue 于月);
D. 1,004 Song Yuan Academies (contributor: Stephen P. Ford);
E. 272 China emperors with their Posthumous Name (謚號), Honorific name (廟號);
F. Revised Help Files.
Additional functionalities have been created by Michael A. Fuller. These are:
- Placename filter to select a set of places for search
- Searching places based on geographic coordinates and proximity
CBDB ar Version：
The CBDB Mac Dictionary is an alternative way to search CBDB (China Biographical Database). It can be used on Apple computers without internet access. It allows users to search CBDB by either using Mac OS X integrated Spotlight or by selecting any name or partial name in any programme (Look up in dictionary function).
The Microsoft Access version of the China Biographical Database (CBDB) now comes in two compressed files: a BASE file and a USER file. Please download 20140310CBDBarBase.rar (the BASE file) and 20140310CBDBarUser.rar (the USER file), and uncompress them to the same folder. You will get four files in that folder: CBDB_InstallationGuide.pdf, CBDB Users Guide.pdf, 20140310CBDBarUser.mdb, and 20140310CBDBarBase.mdb. We highly recommend you to read the CBDB_InstallationGuide.pdf, and you can find the information needed for installation under Part 2. "Installing the Database".
This release, 20140310CBDBarUser.mdb and 20140310CBDBarBase.mdb, on date 2014-03-10, is built upon the Oct. 8 2013 dataset. Major changes in this version include:
- 27,000 association data from Ming Biographical Materials (明人傳記資料索引)(contributor: Qiaomei Tang 唐巧美 and Hui Cheng 程卉)
- 5,000 entry data from Ming civil service high degree holders (jinshi)
- 3,700 posting data from Ming civil service high degree holders (jinshi)
- 3,300 books from the Ming Qing Women Writers database (MQWW) and Ming Biographical Materials (明人傳記資料索引)
- 2,800 address codes were updated (contributor: Yi Ding 丁一)
This release also fixed minor mistakes in the posted_to_office data and altname data in the previous standalone database.
In addition, new search and selection features have been added to the “LookAt” forms as well as greater flexibility in choosing whether to use index years. All the search routines have been rewritten in SQL to greatly speed up the searches.
CBDB aq Version:
Please download this file along with part02 below, place them under the same folder, and run an extraction tool (e.g., WinRAR, 7zip) on this part01 file. The uncompressed file "20131008CBDBaq.mdb" should appear in the same folder after the extraction.
This release 20131008CBDBaq.mdb, on date 2013-10-08, is built upon the Sep. 21 2013 dataset. This version adds biographical data on 200,000 new men and women to the dataset from the 7th to the 20th century, resulting in a total number of 325,000 individuals. Major new additions include:
- 50,000 principals and kin from Tang and Five Dynasties tomb biographies
- data on 14,000 civil service high degree holders (jinshi) and 130,000 of their kin from 52 Ming dynasty examination years
- principals and kin from the 1148 and 1256 examinations
- selected biographical data from the Index of Ming Biographical Materials (明人傳記資料索引)
- new data on the kin and social relations of women writers
- a variety of new and expanded code tables
New data was developed through the contributions by and in collaboration with Profs. Ping Yao, Nicolas Tackett, Liu Cheng-yun, and Grace Fong.
[Important!] This is the patch for fixing the TreeView selection problem. If your copy of Access gives you an error when you try to select an office via the TreeView in LookAtOffices (Query Office Holding) or select an association in LookAtAssociations (Query Associations), this is because you do not have the correct version of the "Microsoft Windows Common Controls 6.0 (SP6)" added to your Visual Basic environment.
We have prepared a document to walk you through the steps for fixing this problem. Please download this RAR file, unzip it, and follow the instructions in the PDF file.
CBDB an Version:
This release 20130610CBDBan.mdb, on date 2013-07-08, is built upon the June 10th 2013 dataset which adds biographical information for 12,773 new individuals to the January 2012 dataset and results in 128,923 as the total number of individuals. The following lists the details of the addition:
- Incorporated individuals, their kin and their associates from: the Ming Qing Women Writers database (MQWW) (contributor: Professor Grace Fong and the CBDB Beida editors), Quan Song Wen letters 全宋文書信 (contributor: Pingtzu Chu 祝平次, Beida, Chen Liu 劉晨), Song Lian Quan Ji 宋濂全集 (contributor: Qiaomei Tang 唐巧美), Ji Yun 紀昀’s associates (contributor: Clea Walford), Lu You 陸游’s associates (contributor: Ziyu Zhou 周子鈺), and the 1148 紹興十八年 exam passers (contributor: Ziyu Zhou 周子鈺).
- Collaborated with IHP, Academia Sinica 中研院史語所 to incorporated the basic information, alternative names, and entry data for 2,912 individuals from the 明清檔案人名權威資料 database (system number 13197 to 16110). It results in 2,134 new individuals (because some of the them already exist in CBDB), 6,540 alternative names, and 2,515 entry data.
- Collaborated with IHP to incorporate the basic biographical data, alternative names, and address data for the 9,900 individuals in the Ming Ren Chuan Ji Zi Liao Suo Yin 明人傳記資料索引, which has given us 7,400 new individuals, 15,000 alternative names, and 8,600 biog address data.
- Added 987 new individuals who were the kin of the subjects in the biographies section of Song Shi 宋史.
- Added 8,800 social association data from the Quan Song Wen letters 全宋文書信 and 114,000 associations from Index to Song Biographical Materials 宋人傳記資料索引.
- Added 14,447 posting data from the Kyoto Tang database 唐代人物知識ベース and 22,067 from Index to Yuan Biographical Materials 元人傳記資料索引.
From the system side, in this release we also refactored a bunch of database tables (for example, social institutions) in order to accommodate more detailed information about one’s life and to enable such queries.
CBDB am Version:
This release 20120105CBDBam.mdb, on date 2013-03-14, is built upon the January 2012 dataset and the 20120105CBDBal.mdb.
Major changes in this version: 1) Addition of 18,000 Tang-Wudai, Yuan, Ming, and Qing office codes. 2) Restructure of Social Institution tables: 8 code tables and 1 data table where we can record the relation between a person and a social institution.
**For instructions in using the standalone CBDB database, please go to Download -> Supporting Documents for the latest User Guide.
CBDB al Version:
This release 20120105CBDBal.mdb, on date 2012-08-27, is built upon the January 2012 dataset. It contains the biographical information for 116,149 historical figures in the Chinese history. It also comes with the most up-to-date built-in queries, including the latest revision of the Query Kinship and Query Social Network functionalities.
Major changes in this version: 1) "Look up Data on an Individual 按人查詢" now accepts search via alternative names. E.g. You are able to find 蘇軾 via 蘇東坡 now. 2) It includes Han addresses (漢代地名) and a new Ethnicity/Tribe code table. 3) Bug fixed in "Query Association 查詢社會關係" and improve the search performance. 4) It uses the new ethnicity coding for people.
NOTE: It is known that some of the CBDB built-in queries do not function on 64-bit version of Microsoft Office 2010. It is because the 64-bit Office is not compatible with former VBA programs (see the official annoucement here), which the CBDB queries were built with. Therefore, if you are running a 64-bit Office, please consider to re-install a 32-bit version Office 2010 on your 64-bit Windows machine. (Yes, you can still run the 64-bit Windows Operating System). Not sure which version are you running? Follow this link.
CBDB af Version:
This release 20110705CBDBaf.mdb, on date 2012-02-07, is the last release for the July 2011 dataset. It does not add significant new data to the July 2011 release but some code tables have been improved and duplicates have been removed. NOTE: Some of the built in queries do not function on 64 bit machinese. This will be corrected in the near future.
Major changes in this version: bug fixed for the "Enter Biographical Data 輸入傳記資料" and "Look up Data on an Individual 按人查詢" buttons.
CBD Win Version:
CBDB ao Version:
For users who wish to work with a significant portion of CBDB data offline, explore the relationships in the database, or develop new relationships or applications we offer two databases for download. However, we do not provide support for either database.
<year-month-day>CBDB <letter>.mdb is a Microsoft Access database that has been compiled from 1) original work by Robert Hartwell, corrected and 2) supplemented by graduate students at the Center for Ancient Chinese History at Peking University under the supervision of Profs. Deng Xiaonan and Zhang Xiqing and text-mining projects at Harvard University under the supervision of Profs. Peter Bol and Stuart Shieber. Extensive use has been made ofWang Deyi’s revised digital version of the 宋人傳記資料索引 and 元人傳記資料索引.Extensive biographical data has been incorporated from collaborating projects for the Tang, Ming, and Qing periods.
20110621CBDBv.mdb (June 2011) contains data on over 112,000 individuals, mainly from Tang through Qing. As new data is regularly added, there may be a discrepancy between the online and standalone databases. To signify that the database has changed -- fixes have been made or new utilities added -- but no new content has been added a lower-case letter is appended to the filename. NOTE: in using the CBDB database in MS Access Office 2007 be sure to enable the macros when opening the database.
It is possible to remove, change, and add data in this database. Any data added can only be transferred to the online CBDB database by reentering all the data online unless prior arrangements have been made with the CBDB project. Users who wish to participate in entering data into the CBDB database should contact the CBDB project.
Michael A. Fuller designed the CBDB database and utlities. See the CBDB User's Guide.