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East Asian Collection

 
The Internet and Chinese Studies Resources

Bick-har Yeung
University of Melbourne

A paper prepared for the biennial conference of the Chinese Studies Association of Australia, 7-10 July,  1999

*What is Internet?
*Internet development in China
*Coding Systems for Chinese documents
*CJK Softwares
*Search engines
*Internet and  Chinese Studies  Resources
*Conclusion

* Chinese characters = Big5 code


 What is the Internet?
The Internet is a network of networks, linking computers to computers. These computers include government supercomputers, campus wide  information systems, local area networks and individual workstations. The Internet itself does not contain information. It is not located in one place and  the computers that are connected to the Internet are distributed throughout the world. These computers are connected to each other by data lines and they can send information to each other because they all use the same protocol software. Computer links to the Internet allows each of us to share information and resources such as government documents, electronic publications, online books, media publishing,  images, computer software, bibliographic and  full-text databases. Internet is an useful tool for distance learning, looking up factual information,  researching topics, networking with colleagues and friends, conducting business transactions worldwide, and for personal entertainment.

Among the services provided by Internet, the World Wide Web (WWW or "the Web") is the largest, fastest growing activity. Through the WWW, internet users can view images, look at film clips, hear sound recordings, and find information on many interests. The Web's hypertext documents allow users to move from one document to another by selecting highlighted links to access related Internet sources. Netscape and Internet Explorer are  two of the popular WWW graphic browsers that allow users to  images, films and sound via the Internet.

This paper attempts using Internet as a means to access and explore information and resources all around the world for Chinese Studies Research. Topics discussed cover the Internet development in China, Chinese character coding system, Chinese softwares,  search engines and some useful  Chinese Studies WWW sites for research purposes. It is intended for people who use the Internet for research, and would like to gain more knowledge on the Chinese Studies resources provided by the Internet. The information included in this paper  is based on the author's  experience in providing Information Literacy Program for Chinese Studies postgraduates and faculty members in the University of Melbourne Library and using Internet resources as part of the author's everyday routine.

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Internet Development  in China

The first direct link from Mainland China to the Internet was established in 1993 at the Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP), Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) and was formally connected to the internet via IHEP in March 1994. Along the growth of economy in China and it's government new policy to open to the outside world, there are tremendous growth of telecommunications in recent years which provides a matrix for the development of the Internet in China. China Internet Network Information Center reported that there were a total of 2.1 million Internet users and 18396 Internet sites in China as of December 1998. Of which, 76% are commercial users and education users only has 3%. Distributions of the subject areas are as follows:


The above graph is taken from "Development and statistical Report of China  Internet (1/1999) "  (http://www.cnnic.net.cn/99'cnnic/p1_1.htm)

In Taiwan, the number of Internet users reached 2.27 million in August 1998. Of these, 0.77 million are academic subscribers, the rest are commercial users. Both Internet development in China and Taiwan are expanding rapidly.

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Coding Systems for Chinese documents
Chinese scripts are stored in codes in the computer system. Big5, EACC, GB, HZ and Unicode are the popular coding systems for Chinese character sets. It is briefly described  below:
 
Big5      ¤j¤­½X  EACC   ¤¤¤éÁú½X  GB      °ê¼Ð½X  HZ   º~¦r½X
  • Unicode 
  • -2-byte encoding . 
    -Standard Traditional Chinese characters. 
    -Widely used in HK, Taiwan & elsewhere.
    - 4 byte encoding . 
    - Chinese, Japanese & Korean characters. 
    -Widely used in Library systems, eg. INNOPAC.
    -2-byte encoding . 
    -PRC standard code 
    -Chinese simplified characters. 
    -Widely used in PRC, Singapore & elsewhere.
    -7-bit encoding . 
    -GB Code standard. 
    -Used in Chinese newsgroups on the internet.
    -2-byte encoding 
    - unifying identical characters from different variants of the same script. 
    -cover all the scripts in the world. 
     For details of Chinese coding system, please refer to:
    (1) Notes on CJK Character Codes and Encodings, Ross Paterson , 1995
    (2) Chinese Coding system, James Seng.

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    Chinese-Japanese-Korean Softwares

    To view Chinese character display on the computer, Internet users are required to install Chinese softwares onto their computers. Nowadays, there are many Chinese softwares available from the Internet for trialling and ordering.  Listed below are some popular Chinese softwares used in the English Windows platform:
     
    Twinbridge (http://www.twinbridge.com/)  Âù¾ô 
     
    Products Input Methods Character codes Support Demo Version for Download
    Chinese Partner Version 4.98  Pinyin and Zhuyin BIG5/GB, BIG5 Plus and GBK.   60 days free  trial 
    AsianBridge  Includes TwinBridge's  Super Pinyin and Zhuyin Input Methods and built-in 60,000 phrase dictionary  Chinese: Big5, GB, HZ, etc. Japanese: JIS/EUC, etc. 
    Korean: KSC
    30 days free trial 
    Asian Viewer Not available Chinese: Big5, GB, HZ. Japanese: JIS/EUC 
    Korean: KSC
    30 days free trial
     
    NJWIN Star (http://www.njstar.com.au/) «n·¥ ¬P 
     Download of software (http://www.njstar.com/support/regiuser.htm) 
    Products Input Methods Character codes support Demo Version for Download
    NJStar Communicator 2.1 
    (http://www.njstar. 
    com/communicator/)
    PinYin, ZhuYin, ShuangPin, Cangjie , Radical lookup... Enable to view CJK text with automatic code detection: 
    Chinese:GB, GBK, Big5, Unicode, HZ-8, HZ-7, etc. 
    Japanese :S-JIS, EUC-JIS, New-JIS, Unicode, etc.    Korean:KSC, Unicode, etc. 
    With a powerful Universal Code Convertor which convert in between all the CJK coding schemes 
    30 days free trial
    NJWIN CJK-viewer 1.68 
    (http://www.njstar.com/njwin/)
    Not available Standard CJK codes 
    Converts simplified Chinese to traditional Chinese 
    30 days free trial
     
    Star + Globe (http://www.starglobe.com.sg/) 
     
     
    Products Input methods Character codes Support Demo version for download
    WinMASS 2000 CJK Chinese: 
    Hanyu Pinyin, Cang jie, Zhuyin Fuhao, Jianyi Bushou, 
    English-to-Chinese, Stroke Number, Wade Giles, Internal Code (GB2312) 
    Japanese Korean 
    Supports various double-byte character sets (DBCS) and the Unicode  Standard (UTF-8 and UTF-7), including USMarc and EACC which are used by    Library-based systems.  14 days of evaluation copy .
     
    For more information on CJK softwares, please refer to: 
     How to read Chinese in non-Chinese MS-Windows (http://www.twnic.net/big5/). 
     
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    Search Engines

    The Internet has become a vast, global storehouse of information. The only problem is:  how do you find what you're looking for?  Search engines index  each word within internet documents. When internet users pose a query to a search engine, it matches the query words versus the records it has in its databases. The search service responds by giving  a list of all the Web  pages in its index relating to those topics. The most relevant content will appear at the top of the results. Below are some useful and popular search engines for searching Chinese web sites.

    Nihao Directory §A¦n(http://www.nihao.net.cn/)
         - Provides English and Chinese version
         - A Yahoo style subject directory in GB code
         - Supports Chinese simplified character search
         - Links to English search engines: Yahoo, AltaVista, Excite, etc.
         - Useful for searching information on China

    Whatsite «z¶ë¤¤¤åºô  (http://www.whatsite.com/)
         -A search engine for Chinese web sites
        - Supports Big5, GB codes and English
        - Supports traditional and simplified character search
        - Provides several levels of searches, standard search, free text search, near search and Boolean search.
        - Useful for searching information on China, Hong Kong and Taiwan

    Yahoo Chinese (http://chinese.yahoo.com/)
        - Provides Chinese Big5 and GB version.
        - Supports Chinese character search
        - Provides links to Yahoo Taiwan, Yahoo Hong Kong and Yahoo Singapore and linking sites in Chinese all over the world
        - Provides searchable subject directory, particularly useful for looking up regional information
        - A useful search directory for Chinese studies

    Zhaodaole §ä¨ì°Õ ( http://www.zhaodaole.com.cn/gb_chinese/index.html)
        -Provides Chinese and English version
        -Provides searchable subject directory in GB code
        -Supports Chinese simplified character search
        -Provides links to download Chinese software from the internet
        -Useful for searching  information on China
     

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    Internet and  Chinese Studies  Resources

    Internet Guides for Chinese/China  Studies
    Internet Guides for China Studies (http://sun.sino.uni-heidelberg.de/igcs/): the China WWW Virtual Library.
    This page is maintained by Hanno Lecher, University of Heidelberg, Germany.  The page is part of the Asian Studies WWW Virtual Library which provides comprehensive links to China Studies mainly  in the areas of arts and humanities, arranged in the order Library of  Congress Classification Scheme. Highly recommended as a starting point of research.

    Council on East Asian Libraries (CEAL) (http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~felsing/ceal/welcome.html)
    This  page is maintained by CEAL. It provides information guides to China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Asia in general. It also provides links to other US East Asian library collections. Highly recommended.

    Chinese Studies WWW Virtual Library (http://www.lib.unimelb.edu.au/collections//asian/chihp.html)
    This page is maintained by Bick-har Yeung, University of Melbourne Library. This page is specially tailored for the research and teaching needs at the University of Melbourne and is divided into 28 subjects in the areas of arts and humanities.  Highly recommended to the students of the University of Melbourne. It is also a good starting  point for Chinese Studies research.

    Bibliographic databases

    Bibliography of Asian Studies (BAS) (http://www.hti.umich.edu/b/bas/)
    The Bibliography of Asian Studies (BAS) is an  online bibliographic database for western language periodical articles and books on Asia, especially in arts and humanities, containing more than 410,000 records. It is available online via library subscription.  There are quite a few libraries in Australia subscribing to the BAS, namely Australian Defence Force Academy,  Australian National University,  Griffith University, La Trobe University,  Monash University, Queensland University of Technology, University of Queensland and University of Sydney. It is an important online bibliographic tool for compiling bibliography in western language materials on Chinese Studies..

    Kinetica CJK Catalogue (http://www.nla.gov.au/kinetica/cjk/connect/connect.html)
    Kinetica CJK Catalogue is a national bibliographic database for Chinese, Japanese and Korean materials. It is available to users via library subscription. It helps library users to search for CJK material held in  their library as well as other libraries in Australia, using CJK characters, romanisation in Pinyin in their search terms and seeing CJK characters in their search results. The database contains 1 million bibliographic records and  312,000 items of library holding data. It is an important online bibliographic tool for compiling bibliography in CJK languages and  for obtaining holding information for interlibrary loans.

    Uncover  (http://uncweb.carl.org/)
    Uncover is a bibliographic database providing access to tables of contents to  over 18,000 multidisciplinary journals, containing  brief descriptive information of over 8,800,000 articles which have appeared since Fall 1988. Chinese articles are indexed in English translated titles. Free search is available to users and  users can order fax copies of the articles from this database. It is a useful tool for bibliography compilation.
     
     

    Online libraries

    Online Libraries ( http://online.anu.edu.au/Asia/Chi/ChiLib.html )
    This page is  maintained by Darrell Dorrington, Australian National University. It provides links to library online catalogues in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan and other significant international Chinese collections. Internet connections to mainland and Taiwan sometimes is very slow.  It is very useful for searching for Chinese materials for interlibrary loan purposes. The Fung Ping Shan Collection of the University of Hong Kong Libraries under HK,  Hytelnet HK list is a good collection to start with when looking for Chinese resources outside Australia.

    East Asian Collection and Libraries - CEAL (http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~felsing/ceal/eastcoll.html)
    This page is maintained by CEAL. It provides links to major American East Asian library collections, among which the Harvard Yenching Library Collection is one of the best Chinese research collections in the US.

    European Sinological Libraries (http://www.uni-kiel.de/easl/loclib.html)
    This page is maintained by Matthias Kaun and is a sub-page of the European Association of Sinological Librarians. It provides links to major European Sinological libraries, including Great Britain.

    Library of Congress (http://lcweb2.loc.gov/catalog/)
    The Chinese Collection of the Library of Congress is the largest Chinese collection outside China.  It is a web-based online catalogue. Chinese character display is not supported. Wade-Giles romanisation is adopted in the database.

    Document Delivery and Research Assistance Services

    Remote Electronic Access / Delivery of the National Central Library , Taiwan, Republic of China. (http://www.read.net.tw/)
    Membership is required to access the full databases and the annual subscription fee is NT$400. Internet users can access to the trial databases before joining. It contains periodical articles index, periodical contents, contemporary literature database, government document database and government gazetteers database for document delivery service. A good source to look up information on Taiwan in all subjects.

    Universities Service Centre (USC) (http://www.usc.cuhk.edu.hk/)
    USC provides access to the world's largest collection of printed research materials  for PR China, to the data archive of computerized social science data for contemporary China and a professional service of research assistance to help scholars searching for documentary materials.

    Full text databases

     Han ji dian zi wen xian º~ Äy ¹q ¤l ¤å Äm(ºٺ~Äy¥þ  ¤å¸ê®Æ®w) , (http://www.sinica.edu.tw/ftms-bin/ftmsw3)
    This includes 17 full text databases developed by Academia Sinica, Taiwan. It contains  Twenty-five Dynastic Histories (Erh shi wu shi), Da zang jing, Taiwan fang zhi, Taiwan dang an, etc. in the areas of arts and humanities, in particular Chinese history, Chinese language and literature, and Taiwan regional resources.  It is designed for the Taiwan people and institutions through membership subscription. Overseas scholars can access  the databases for limited searches.

    People's daily Online ¤H¥Á¤é³ø(http://www.peopledaily.com.cn/)
    It contains 16 full text current daily newspapers and popular journals published in China. The system supports Big 5 and GB codes. Archives files are dated back to 1997.  Searches are available using Chinese, English and Japanese JIS. However searches in English and Japanese provide the news headlines in the searched language.

    Fo jiao jing dian xi lie ¦ò±Ð¸g¨å¨t ¦C (http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/canon/index.html)
    This is a full text database of Buddhist scriptures. The system supports searching of Sutra, Vinaya, Abhidharma document in Big 5 code. It provides links to ftp sites of Buddhist scriptures. It is a very useful site for Buddhism.

    Gu dian wen xian quan wen jian so zi liao ku ¥j ¨å¤åÄm¥þ¤å¸ê®Æ®w(http://210.69.170.100/s25/index.htm)
    This is a searchable full text database containing 12 major works of Chinese classics: Twenty-five Dynastic Histories (Erh shih wu shi),  Shi san jing,  Zi zhi tong jian, Xu Tong jian, Xian qin zhu zi......Quan Tang shi, Si ku zong mu. It is a very useful database for Chinese history, philosophy and literature. The system supports Big 5 code and Boolean keyword searches.

    Guo jia fa lu fa gui ku   °ê®aªk«ßªk³W®w(http://www.qis.net/chinalaw/lawchin1.htm)
    This is a searchable full text database of PRC law published since 1949. The system supports GB code. This page is a sub-page of Chinalaw Web (http://www.qis.net/chinalaw/index.html) which  provides information about Chinese law and the legal system in the People's Republic of China (PRC), the Republic of China on Taiwan (ROC),  Hong Kong and  Macau.
     

    China info : Periodical ¼Æ¦r ¤Æ´Á¥Z (  http://www.chinainfo.gov.cn/periodical/index.htm)
    This is a searchable full text database of PRC journals in the areas of science and technology. It is a good source to obtain Chinese journal articles in the areas of science and technology.  However, there are many broken links to the full text articles. Obtaining full text articles can be done via China Info's documentary services.
     

     Book news

    Internet Monthly Newsletter of Chinese Publications ¤¤°ê·s ®Ñ¤ë°T  (http://www.enmpc.org.hk/innoos/)
    This is a database of Chinese Publications which was jointly developed  by the Peking University Library, the China Educational Publications Import & Export Corporation  and the Hongxuetang Bookseller Company Limited of Hong
    Kong. It provides up-to-date and comprehensive news on Chinese publications from mainland China. This system is available to registered subscribers only.

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    Conclusion

    Chinese Internet resources developed in Mainland China and Taiwan was slower in developing Internet communications. The existing barriers affecting Internet users daily are described as follows:
    (1) Slow response time :  Accessing Taiwan and Mainland web pages from Australia is very slow . Both China and Taiwan should improve their Internet communications to meet the Internet demands.
    (2) Changes of URLs: China web pages tend to change URLs frequently and new URLs are not indexed.  It  has been a problem for web page maintainers and Internet users to access the new URLs.
    (3) Search functions : A lot of searchable databases and search engines only provide a simple search function , some full text databases have no search function at all. This makes it very difficult for Internet users  to search for relevant information for their research topics.

    Accessing the Internet is quick and and handy. In recent years there have been more global projects on web-based Chinese language databases, and  more Chinese electronic journals and online books published. The Internet is a breakthrough in the dissemination of information. Keyword and Boolean searching provides timely and accurate matching.  Internet documents can be downloaded or printed in the office without visiting the library. However, through the author's observation during the past five years, most Chinese scholars prefer the traditional way of researching due to their reading habits and the complicated environment of Chinese computers. It is very exciting to see the growth of Chinese resources on the Internet.  However, Chinese librarians need to work harder to provide Internet skills to Chinese scholars.

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    Bibliographies:

    Chinese Coding system, James Seng. (http://biomed.nus.edu.sg/CM/cweb/coding.html)
    Browsing and searching Internet Resources (http://www.ub2.lu.se/nav_menu.html)
    Development and statistical Report of China  Internet (1/1999) "  (http://www.cnnic.net.cn/99'cnnic/p1_1.htm)
    Highlights of Internet Development in R.O.C. , Fall 1998( http://www.nii.gov.tw/niieng/y1998/howmany.htm)
    Notes on CJK Character Codes and Encodings, Ross Paterson , 1995

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    © The University of Melbourne 1994-1999. Disclaimer and Copyright Information. 
    Created: by Bick-har Yeung, 1st July 1999
    Last modified: by Bick-har Yeung, 2nd August 1999
    
    Authorised by: Tim Meredith, Mary Coghlan, Information ServicesCopyright: @1999 The University of Melbourne
    Maintainer: Bick-har Yeung , East Asian Collection

    Email: yeung@lib.unimelb.edu.au