The Descriptions of the Multilingual Full-Text Database of Overseas Life Writing on Modern Chinese People

The Multilingual Full-Text Database of Overseas Life Writing on Modern Chinese People is a research result of the Major Project Compilation and Research of Overseas Life Writing on Modern Chinese Peoplesponsored by China National Social Sciences Fund (11ZD138).

Started from November, 2011, this project is headed by Yang Zhengrun, performed by SJTU Center for Life Writing, and supported by School of Humanities and Library of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Focusing on nine core sources such as those from the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Russia, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, this Database also collects materials from other countries and regions too. All forms of life writings published or preserved overseas of Chinese figures with representativeness or with certain achievements or social influence after 1898 in fields such as industry and commerce, military and politics, culture and education, sports, science and technology, health care, news and publishing, religion and society, in written (e.g. written biographies, autobiographies, diaries, letters, travelogs, dictionaries and news reports), imagery or audio/video form all fall into the scope of the Database.   

It is estimated that the number of modern Chinese people going abroad has exceeded 15 millions. In addition to them, residents of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao all fall into the scope of the Database. Developed during 2012-2016, the first phase only targeted at 3,000 important figures. If conditions allow, the scope of collection will be further expanded in subsequent phases. By conventions, the category of “Chinese people” refer to those who have or once have Chinese nationality. Due to historical reasons and the de facto double nationality, it is difficult to determine whether some Chinese have Chinese nationality, but they are included in the Database only if they have close ties with China from academic considerations rather than the judgement of their nationality. In addition, some background materials are also included for reference.

The contents of the Database are in Chinese, English, French, German, Russian and Japanese, though most are in Chinese. While the full text on a certain subject is not available, relevant information is provided for some entries. Moreover, some overseas Chinese figures, however important they are, are not included in the Database, when there is scarcity of materials on or about them.

Considering the large range of the worldwide collection of materials for this database and language barriers, it is conceivable that formidable as this research is, mistakes and omissions are inevitable. We are open to your advice, criticism and clues of biographical subjects and materials. It is necessary to state that the materials of the Database shall, by conventions of the academic community, be used exclusively for reading and research by scholars and readers, so we assume no responsibility for the political grounding and correctness of the materials.

The Database is sponsored by China National Social Sciences Fund in three installments (Nov. 2011, Nov. 2013 and Nov. 2015) and Shanghai Jiao Tong University has also contributed to the research in equal amounts, not to mention assistance and guidance by many friends. We hereby express our heartfelt gratitude to all of them.


November 2017