Archive Contents

Digitization & Value-added Project of Taiwan Historical Archives

Project Leader¡GHsueh-Chi Hsu

Executing organization: Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica

Archives Description¡G

Diversified cultural and historical resources are essential for historical research. Since the founding of Taiwan History Field Research Office (1988), the antecedent of Institute of Taiwan History (ITH), its research fellows have been conducting field researches in Taiwan to collect valuable historical materials. Consequently the "Taiwan Archives," set up during ITH's Preparatory Office period, becomes the division responsible for collecting, sorting and preserving of historical data as well as providing access to the public.

ITH has participated in several digitization projects of archives since 1993; its first achievement is the establishment of the "Taiwan Collectanea Database." In 1997, ITH cooperated with the Taiwan Historica to process and digitize archives of Taiwan Sotokufu during the Japanese colonial period. In addition, ITH has been participating in the National Digital Archives Program since 2004, and expanding its digitization effort on materials such as official and private documents, publications of Taiwan study issued by official and private sectors, etc.

To integrate digital resources and provide sustainable services, ITH in 2007 built a portal on digitized collection named "Taiwan Archives Online" and in 2008 a digital archives system "Taiwan Archival Information System." Moreover, ITH plans to add values to the digitized historical material and create a Taiwan History Knowledge Base to promote and popularize knowledge of Taiwan history.


In order to integrate digital content produced by digitization projects and provide services perpetually, ITH has built a portal "Taiwan Archives Online." The framework of the website includes: 1) Information retrieval. It provides a list of all databases of digital collections which are built either by ITH or through collaborations between ITH and other institutes. The "Taiwan Archival Information System," one that ITH built itself, embodies digitized historical records, private manuscripts, official documents and book collections produced by ITH. To supply both the content and context of the historical materials, these collections are described in the four levels of "collection," "series," "file," and "item" based on archival principles of provenance and original order. 2) Collection level compilation. The website lists information of collections including scope, description of content, administrative/biographical history, conditions of access and use, and featured collections. 3) Thematic exhibition. It exhibits various topics of Taiwan history materials. 4) Internet resources. It offers online reference resources concerning Taiwan history research.

Accomplished Archives¡G

In the first term of this plan, three digitalization databases have been established and opened to the public. They are "The Yung Yun-Ping Collection Database", "Taiwan Archives" and "Book Collections on Taiwan under Japanese Rule 1895-1945 Database". Based on the previous three databases, the second term of the plan combines the consideration of long term preservation and intelligent property. The goal for this term will focus on building the "Integrate Archival Resource System" to provide the hybrid database service and more efficient management in actual and digital contents. For reader, it brings better service. For project manager, it provides long term profit for the plan. For researcher, it contributes strong support for academic research of Taiwan history.

Literary Works ¡§The Bowl-hitting Recitations¡¨ by Du Xiang-guo
This is a set of literary works written by Du Xiang-guo (1893-1947). Du was a member of local gentry in Da-jia, Taichung County and was active in the business world. The collection named Du Xiang-guo Papers hold by Institute of Taiwan History at Academia Sinica composed of documents, manuscripts and letters from or to Du¡¦s Family, schoolmates, colleagues, friends with the same interest in literature, and business partners; they range from circa 1908 to 1946. The collection not only offers glimpse of Du and his family¡¦s lives, but is great resource for research on education, art/cultural activities, and commercial development in Taiwan under the Japanese rule. ¡§The Bowl-hitting Recitations¡¨ in the picture are from the ¡§Literary Works and Correspondence Series¡¨ of the Du Xiang-guo Papers. They were created in competitions called ¡§Bowl-hitting recitation.¡¨ In such activities, competitors had to compose verses with designated titles and rhymes within a limited period of time. The works were then ranked by six levels of ¡§Yuan (¤¸),¡¨ ¡§Yan (²´),¡¨ ¡§Hua (ªá),¡¨ ¡§Lu (Ĥ),¡¨ ¡§Han (¿«),¡¨ and ¡§Lu (Ìt)¡¨ by the judges. The first three pieces of works in the picture are poem and the other two are couplets. The ranks of them are ¡§Yuan,¡¨ ¡§Lu (Ĥ),¡¨ ¡§Lu (Ìt),¡¨ ¡§Han,¡¨ and ¡§Yuan¡¨ respectively. The set of works shows Du¡¦s literary accomplishment as well as the interesting cultural activities in poetry clubs during Japanese occupation.

Land Contracts in Xi-Zhi, Taiwan in the Qing Dynasty
This is a set of land contracts (1769 ¡V 1984) from Chen Ding-guo family in Xi-Zhi, Taipei. Chen (1882 ¡V ?) was at the time an important politician and businessman in Xi-Zhi. His family¡¦s papers constitute a collection called Chen Ding-guo Family Papers preserved by ITH. The collection contains land contracts and documents related to political, commercial, cultural, and religious activities. Spanning 200 years, it reveals land development and the relationship between the Hans and the aborigines in the Qing dynasty, as well as how the administrative, political, commercial, and cultural activities worked in Taiwan under the Japanese rule.
The left picture is the contract to sell a house by Yang Shi-bang in January, the 49th year of Emperor Qianlong¡¦s reign (1784). The right one is a contract to ask supplemental payment by Qi-Zi, the aborigine of Li-zu She in December, the 25th year of Emperor Jiaqing¡¦s reign (1821). It could be found from the contracts in Qing Dynasty that if the seller was not satisfied with the price or was confronted with financial difficulties, he could ask supplemental payment no matter how much time had elapsed since the transaction was completed. It shows that the transaction practices in the Qing Dynasty were quite different from modern days.


Huang Yan-chiu,

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