Research Framework
Advisory Board
Data Bases
Papers and Reports

Description of and brief introduction for the data bases and the Glossary of Technical Terms

Mint Metal Transportation Database

This database collects and analyses one of the richest and most consistent data series of late imperial China. For the period from the 1740s to the 1850s some 20,000 documents have survived in various archival collections, in which provincial authorities reported on the mint metal convoys passing through their jurisdictions. These reports contain not only detailed information about names and ranks of transport officials, dates of arrival at, and departure from, various places, number of ships, and amounts and types of mint metal loads, but also data on weather and navigation conditions, shipwrecks, salvage operations, and on the reasons for delays, and all kinds of irregularities and natural disasters. The statistical analysis of these data provides insights not hitherto available into the workings of the Qing bureaucracy and the degree of its capability and flexibility in dealing with natural constraints, into institutional and social settings and pre-conditions, human short-comings and contingencies. All data entered are cross-checked by our collaborators in Germany and China. This is facilitated by a view function which shows all the entries of one document. In order to make sure that data are entered in a strictly standardized way, a handbook has been compiled by Chen Hailian which is constantly updated by her. Newly emerging problems are discussed on a weekly basis among the database collaborators. Since the documents were standardized only to a limited degree, it took more than one year to adapt the database for unified data input conventions. A number of query and search functions allow efficient checking procedures and a flexible degree of analysis. The implementation of this highly complex database was mastered by Martin Lutsch and Oliver Dalfert, two students from the Tübingen Faculty of Information and Cognition Science, in collaboration with Hans Ulrich Vogel, Shan Kunqin, Chen Hailian, Nanny Kim, Cao Jin, Huang Xuelei, and Jenny Tong, and with advice also from our colleagues of the geography department. Recently, we have obtained the support of Pan Xiaoxia, Gu Jia, Jiang Changsong, and Yu Qianhong for data input. Presently the main coordinative work is carried out by Chen Hailian, supported by Jenny Tong and Hans Ulrich Vogel, relying on the experience of Cao Jin and Huang Xuelei.

Exchange Rates Database

This database is destined for the collection of exchange rates between various currencies, such as copper cash, silver taels, silver dollars, paper money, etc., together with information about time and place. The exchange rates comprise not only standard, i.e. possibly theoretical, exchange rates, but also all private ones, i.e. actual market rates. The entries also indicate the source of information, whether the source is primary or secondary, and the collaborator who made the entry. Like all our databases, the Exchange Rates Database allows the recording of the original terminology in the original language. Narrative or circumstantial information can be input in a remark field. This database was implemented by Martin Lutsch and Oliver Dalfert, in collaboration with Hans Ulrich Vogel, Wang Qing and Werner Burger. Data have been mainly entered by Wang Qing.

Prices and Wages Database

The Prices and Wages database provides a convenient and powerful tool for the collection of price and wage data for all kinds of goods and services. Main categories comprise such goods as "grains and beans", "armaments", "fuels", etc., which then are subdivided into a number of sub-categories, like for instance in the case of "fuels" into the sub-categories "charcoal", "firewood", "coal", "reed, straw", and "other". Price and wage data are related to time and place, and a distinction is made between official prices and market prices. Moreover the database allows inputting the original terms in the original language, usually Chinese. Entries are completed by information as to the origin of the data in primary or secondary sources and the name of the data contributor. Remark fields exist for the inclusion of narrative information. This database was implemented by Martin Lutsch and Oliver Dalfert, in collaboration with Hans Ulrich Vogel and Ulrich Theobald.

Bibliography Database

In this database the project collaborators input the bibliographic data related to their projects. The categories that can be chosen in this database comprise primary sources, secondary sources, monographs, titles in periodicals, collected articles and Chinese congshu collections, atlases and maps, images and pictures, PhD and M.A. theses, and internet resources. With the "edit" function new data can be entered or old data revised, while with the "add to bibliography" function an individual bibliography can be compiled. A number of different editing formats for various purposes exist, such as the "East Asian format". This database, which was especially designed for the needs of the research group, was implemented by Martin Lutsch and Oliver Dalfert, in collaboration with Nanny Kim, Hans Ulrich Vogel, and Jenny Tong.

Glossary of Technical Terms

The glossary contains technical terms concerning Qing period monetary matters, mining activities, mint metal transportation, financial administration, and bureaucratic organisation. The purpose of this list is to maintain a unified standard in the translation of technical terms among the members of the research group, especially those engaged in Chinese studies. This list is compiled and regularly updated by Thomas Hirzel.

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