China Comprehensive Gazetteers

An expansive collection of historic difangzhi

With China Comprehensive Gazetteers (CCG), East View provides unprecedented access to a historically significant collection of difangzhi (地方志). CCG is the largest and most authoritative assembly of these unique primary sources on Chinese history. The source of the original materials is the collection at the National Library of China, whose holdings are extensive and often unique.

East View’s CCG database presents a vast collection of difangzhi spanning eight centuries (1229-1949). CCG offers an unparalleled look at China through a comprehensive collection of more than 6,500 titles spanning all of China’s regions and covering vast historical periods, from the Northern Sung Dynasty up to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. CCG is perhaps the richest single resource available for researching China in multiple aspects, including its political history, literature, minorities, and religion, as well as the biographies of famous personages, its culture, economic development and, of course, its geography and natural history. More than just local gazetteers, CCG also includes source materials, dictionaries, specialized works on topography, palaces, gardens, travel and even foreign travel.


The CCG Collections

CCG is arranged by type of work (geography, gazetteer, specialized coverage, etc.) and by geographical area. One can search CCG to easily locate provincial, then prefectural and smaller administrative units. The CCG database is compliant with most browsers, with no plugins or additional applications needed to view documents. The documents are available as images, with many titles available also as full text. The images of the original books are clear and zoomable while the full text appears at the right side of the screen next to the image, a useful feature when consulting handwritten and classical texts.

Meticulous metadata is given for each title so that the researcher will know not only the reign year during which the book was printed, but also its type of printing (e.g. woodblock, metal movable type, mimeograph, handwritten manuscripts, etc.) and, in some instances the type of paper (e.g. gridpaper) and the color of the border and grid.

Searching CCG is easy—from basic keyword searches to advanced filters, users have the tools necessary to discover and identify content relevant to their interests.

Search the database using traditional or simplified Chinese characters. All content is written in traditional Chinese characters, but when using simplified Chinese during a search, the mapping is seamless between the two.

The Quick Search options will search globally by title, author, or full text. The Advanced Search allows for combined searching of the Title, Author, Feature, Table of Contents, Subjects, or Text. Advanced Search will allow the user to search several fields simultaneously.

About the Gazetteers

China has a long history of chronicling events, facts, and individuals specific to a location. Known as difangzhi, or gazetteers, these are a genre highly specific to China and span thousands of years.

Historically, difangzhi were written by noted officials and literati from the area. The writing is thorough and inclusive, spanning all administrative units from provinces and cities to prefectures and towns.

Difangzhi may be regarded as detailed encyclopedias of every local region in China covering every conceivable topic: history, geography, economics, politics, culture, social sciences, minorities, military, institutions, religion, art and architecture, archaeology, and more of China and neighboring countries. Even science and natural disasters are recorded chronologically. Trade, local products, scenic sights, ethnic minorities, and natural resources round out the picture in many titles, and illustrations and maps enhance facts stated.

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