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Centre of Taiwan Studies

The Research Center for Digital Humanities, National Taiwan University

The Research Center for Digital Humanities, based at National Taiwan University, digitally houses eleven databases, which comprise over 1,830,000 entries, 8,600,000 images and 208 million words of original text. The material includes documents from the Ming and Qing periods of Chinese imperial history, as wells as deeds from the pre-Japanese period in Taiwan. In addition, it includes important statistical reports and court records from the Japanese colonial period, and from the archives of the Kuomintang (KMT), the Taiwan Consultative Council and other institutes. This magnificent collection of such varied material showcases Taiwan’s abundant cultural heritage. For researchers across a range of disciplines, it is a unique resource, offering invaluable insights into Taiwan’s history and heritage.

In 2007 Professor Hu Chia-yu from the Department of Ethnology at National Taiwan University embarked on a project to digitise the Formosan ethnological collection housed at the British Museum. The collection, the origins of which date from the founding of the predominant British treaty port community in Taiwan from 1858, also includes items donated to the British Museum by the Japanese government following the Japan-British Exhibition of 1910 held in White City, London. The collection consists of 382 pieces, which have been organised under eight functional categories and carefully digitised in the database of The Research Center for Digital Humanities.

In the beginning of 2012, an agreement was made between National Taiwan University, the Centre of Taiwan Studies at SOAS, and the British Museum, providing for the preparation by Mr Niki Alsford and Professor Hu Chia-yu of an edited catalogue of this collection. This catalogue is scheduled to be published in 2014 to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines, as well as with the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the SOAS Taiwan Studies Programme.