Special Report  

Center to Celebrate Decade of Digital Humanities Research


The NTU Research Center for Digital Humanities (RCDH) is preparing to celebrate its 10th anniversary in June. Established in 2007, a time when the government was promoting digital archives, the center was initially named the Digital Archives Research Development Center.

Due to the steady improvement of digital infrastructure, the center in 2012 adopted its current name and devoted itself to integrating digital technology and humanities research for the purpose of promoting and facilitating digital humanities research.

Over the last decade, the RCDH has collaborated with numerous scholars and organizations from both on and off campus to carry out its mission of supporting the preservation and research of Taiwan’s cultural assets. Its digitization efforts have successfully archived a massive volume of information and materials.

Among the center’s most valuable archives are historical manuscripts documenting the field surveys conducted by the Japanese anthropologist KanoriIno in Taiwan over a century ago. In addition, the Tan-Hsin Archives from the brief period Taiwan was officially under Qing rule as well as court records from Taiwan’s Japanese colonial era have also been digitized.

Another important collection is the Taiwan Ethnological Collections in Overseas Museums, the product of cooperation between the RCDH and Prof. Chia-Yu Hu of the Department of Anthropology. Prof. Hu traveled to museums around the world to digitize specimens of Taiwanese materials that had been collected by Western researchers over the years. Taken from Taiwan during the Japanese colonial era, most of these materials have been held overseas for 50years or more.

Using advanced design concepts, such as post-classification and contextual analysis, the RCDH has combined the Tan-Hsin Archives, Ming-Qing Taiwanese Archives, and Taiwanese Old Deeds into the single Taiwan History Digital Library, which has won the praise of Taiwanese history researchers.

Additionally, the center has also teamed up with the Taiwan Provincial Consultative Council and Academia Historica to set up the Digital Library of Local Councils Journals and the Academia Historica Digital Archives Search System.

To raise awareness of the concept of digital humanities research, the RCDH has worked with Prof. Hsieh-Chang Tu, Head of the Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering’s Digital Archives and Automated Reasoning Laboratory, to design DocuSky, a personal digital humanities academic and research platform. While in the past researchers needed to rely on information management personnel to build databases of their research materials, DocuSky enables researchers themselves to create databases that enable them to search and analyze their data and even generate charts, spatial information, and other forms of data presentation.