A Bibliographic Analysis of Scholarly Publication in the Emerging Field of Digital Humanities in Taiwan

A Bibliographic Analysis of Scholarly Publication in the Emerging Field of Digital Humanities in Taiwan

Kuang-hua Chen (National Taiwan University, Taiwan) and Muh-Chyun Tang (National Taiwan University, Taiwan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7195-7.ch007


This chapter focuses on the development of digital humanities (DH) in Taiwan. A bibliographic methodology was adopted where the scholarly publications in DH were collected and their bibliographic information retrieved and analyzed. Both co-authorship and article similarity networks were generated so social network analysis can be used to characterize the development of the field. The preliminary results show that in the earlier stage of DH in Taiwan more emphasis has been put on the construction and modeling of the cultural heritage databases; the later period has witnessed a wide variety of efforts to apply computational means within different branches in humanities, most noticeably history, Buddhists, and literary studies. The Computer Science, Library and Information Science, Geography, and History are the major driving forces for DH in Taiwan. The strong presence of Buddhists study is unique because of the strong influence of Buddhism on the Taiwanese.
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Digital technologies present new ways of preserving, representing, and analyzing cultural heritage materials. Using novel computer-enabled methods, the emerging field of digital humanities (DH) has captured the imagination of academics and the general public alike. In Taiwan, the development of DH scholarship can be traced back to the 1980s, when Academia Sinica initiated a series of projects to completely digitize ancient Chinese historical texts. This collection of Chinese classics, now available online (http://teldap.tw/en/index.html). The collection now includes metadata of more than 2 million artifacts and 3.52 million digitized images, texts, and videos in six categories: the biosphere and nature, lives and culture, archives and databases, maps and architecture, art and illustrations, and languages and multimedia. These efforts strengthened our expertise in the management of digitalized cultural assets and opened up innovative ways for utilizing these digital assets for the advancement of education and scholarship. These socio-technological contexts provide an ideal foundation for the growth of a vibrant scholarly community devoted to digitizing cultural heritage in Taiwan. The initial plan was for these digitized assets to be used as teaching materials or to be licensed for commercial applications. As a natural extension of earlier digitization initiatives, considerable efforts have been placed into the enhancement of datasets and encoding of texts for scholarly endeavors, out of which the field of DH in Taiwan has gradually evolved. An exciting array of computing-enabled tools have been developed to explore novel research questions in the humanities and social sciences. This newly established digital infrastructure for cultural resources presents fertile ground for social scientists and humanities researchers, often in collaboration with computer scientists, to raise and explore questions that would otherwise not be feasible or conceivable.

Such interdisciplinary endeavors highlight a vital requirement for a forum for exchanges of ideas and networking for scholars of diverse intellectual and institutional backgrounds. Since 2009, the annual “International Conference of Digital Archives and Digital Humanities” (ICDADH) held in Taiwan has provided such a venue for scholars who are interested in applying computational methods in humanities research and pedagogy. The year 2016 marked a milestone for the development of DH in Taiwan; the Taiwanese Association for Digital Humanities (TADH) was established, which subsequently became a formal member of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO) in 2018. The prominence of Taiwanese researchers in terms of international DH scholarship can also be attested by the substantial contributions by Taiwan-based scholars in DH-oriented international publications (See Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Contribution to DH scholarship by country (Tang, Cheng, and Chen, 2017)


Key Terms in this Chapter

International Conference of Digital Archives and Digital Humanities (ICDADH): Since 2009, the annual International Conferenced of Digital Archives and Digital Humanities has been the main venue for Digital humanities scholars to share their ideas and findings in Taiwan. Besides Taiwanese scholars, it has also regularly attracted scholars from China, Japan, Korea, the United Stated, and European countries.

DocuSky: Developed by Research Center for Digital Humanities at National Taiwan University, DocuSky collaboration platform that allows scholars to manage and analyze their own collection of documents. Currently DocuSky provides a wide array of tools for text processing, database construction, markup, text reorganization and contextualization, text mining, GIS, and visualization. In addition to personal collection, DocuSky allows the user to retrieval texts from publicly available databases such as CBETA, CTEXT, Kanripo through API, and to utilize popular tools such as MARKUS and Palladio. New tools, contents, and services are also being updated.

MARKUS: A Chinse classic text markup platform developed by Brent Hou Ieong Ho, who received his Ph.D. from National Taiwan University, under the direction of Professor Jieh Hsiang, the director of Research Center of Digital Humanities in National Taiwan University. Originally designed to automate the markup of different kinds of named entities in Chinse history (personal names, place names, temporal references, and bureaucratic offices), MARKUS now also allows manual, user-supplied keyword tagging, and automatic keyword generation based on keyword clipper. It is currently part of “Communication & Empire: Chinese Empire in Comparative Perspective” funded by European Research Council.

Chinese Buddhist Electronic Text Association (CBETA) Research Platform: The Chinese Buddhist Electronic Texts Association (CBETA) was founded by Venerable Heng Ching (??), Taiwan University, and Ven, Hui-min (??), National Institute of the Arts in 1998. The aim of CBETA was to coordinate and promote efforts in the creation of a scholarly digitized Chinese Buddhist scriptures. CBETA has been successful in serving a community of Buddhist studies researchers all over the world. Though originally aimed at digitizing Chinese Buddhist cannons, CBETA has evolved into a research platform (CBETA-RP) that incorporates many textual analytical and visitation tools. CBETA-RP is currently funded by Ministry of Science and Technology in Taiwan, and hosted by Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts.

National Digital Archive Programs (NDAP): Officially launched in 2002 by National Science Council in Taiwan, NDAP aimed to digitally preserved and showcased Taiwan’s unique cultural heritage and its rich biodiversity. The initiative allowed collaboration of researchers from computer science, library and information science, and various branches in humanities and laid the foundation for the development of digital humanities in Taiwan. In 2008, it was merged with the National e-Learning Program and became Taiwan e-Learning and Digital Archives Program (TELDAP).

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