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Humanities Scholars and Databases for Ancient Chinese Books

Author(s): Ming-Der Wu | Wen-Chi Huang | Shih-Chuan Chen

Journal: Journal of Library and Information Studies
ISSN 1606-7509

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1/2;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2006;
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Keywords: Full-text databases | Ancient Chinese books | Humanities scholars | User behavior

In every field, scholars find an increasing availability of electronic resources. Studies have shown that humanities scholars use and cite fewer electronic resources than their science and technologycounterparts. Moreover, humanities scholars prefer monographs to periodicals or other resources. They continue to use ancient books and documents. In the digital era, many full-text databases of ancient Chinese books and documents have been created. In this study, ten professors of Chinese literature or history are interviewed to answer the following: What are the purposes of using the databases? How do they search the databases? How do they compare the databases to paper versions? What are the impacts of those databases on research in the humanities? All ten scholars report that they use digital databases of ancient Chinese books in both teaching and research. They find the databases easy to access and time-saving when retrieving documents. Most report that databases do not change their research methods or research interests. The scholars suggest that the coverage, quality and search interface should be improved to make the databases even more useful. In conclusion, however, they disagree about whether or not these databases will replace the paper versions. [Article content in Chinese]
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