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The Development of Books in China: Then and Now Ping Situ University of Arizona Library April 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "The Development of Books in China: Then and Now Ping Situ University of Arizona Library April 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Development of Books in China: Then and Now Ping Situ University of Arizona Library April 2006

2 Outline  Historical development of Chinese characters.  Historical evolution of books in China.  Introduction of paper-making and printing.  Traditional publishing and e-publishing.  Progress and challenges  Copyright related issues in China.

3 Historical Publishing Statistics  206 B.C. – 960 A.D.  270,000 volumes were published.  960 – 1279  124,000 volumes were published.  1260 – 1911  1,973,000 volumes were published.  1911 – 1949  About 10,000 titles were published.  1949 – 1993  Over 131,000 titles were published.  2000 –  Over 100, 000 titles published every year.

4 Chinese Words Now Part of the English Examples of common English words with Chinese roots:.  Ginseng 人参 (ren shen)  Oolong 乌龙 (u long)  Tofu 豆腐 (dou fu)  Yin-yang 阴阳 (yin yang)  Typhoon 台风 (tai feng)  Feng-shui 风水 (feng shui)

5 The “Writing” of Chinese Characters Before the Invention of Paper  B.C. (Shang Dynasty)  Letters were carved on oracle bones or bronze wares.  B.C. (Spring and Autumn Period)  Silk was used only by the rich; bamboo/wood strips were used by the general public.

6 Jiaguwen (inscriptions carved in animal bone or tortoise shells)  Dated from over 3000 years ago.  Are the earliest Chinese characters.  Every character is like a picture.  3000 characters were discovered. Over 1000 of them can still be found in today’s vocabulary.  Are invaluable resources on the social, economic and cultural development of the prehistoric period. 貝 treasure

7 Jinwen (Chinese characters inscribed on ancient bronze ware )  Earliest known bronze vessel inscriptions were made during the Western Zhou Dynasty ( B.C.)  The longest text is the Maogongding which contains 497 characters.  Compared to oracle bone inscriptions, Jinwen appears more organized and is simpler and less pictographic.

8 Writing on Bamboo Slips (Began over 2,700 years ago)  One written document needed to be carried by two strong men.  A few books would fill up a big cart.  The daily official documents read by Emperor Qin (259 B.C B.C.) weighed over one hundred pounds.

9 Writing on Silk  Silk first was produced in China (3000 B.C.)  It was more convenient to carry around and much easier to be organized than bamboo “books”.  High cost limited use for writing to a small group of aristocrats.

10 Evolution of Chinese Script from Pictographs to Characters

11 Paper Inventing and Printing  In 105 A.D. Cai Lun introduced paper making using bamboo fiber, old fishnet, linen rags, remnants of hemp and tree bark.  Knowledge of papermaking skills passed to other Asian countries, Europe and then rest of the world.  With the invention of paper, Chinese began to create books.  Before printing was invented, all books were copied by hand.  The earliest known book was printed using block printing in 636.  By the end of the Tang Dynasty ( ), China had bookstores in almost every city.  Movable type printing was invented by Bi Sheng in 1040; 400 years before Gutenberg invented the printing press in Europe.

12 Block Printing  Started in the early Tang Dynasty ( AD)  N ü Ze, compiled and edited by the Empress, was the first block-printed book (636 A.D.).  First use was by officials, but then extended to the public and eventually printing became a business.  Chiefly were religious and philosophical documents (mostly Buddhist sutras and Confucian literature)

13 Movable Type Technology  Clay movable type print.  Wood movable type print.  Metal movable type print.  Tin  Lead  Copper  Iron.

14 The Chinese Invention of Movable Type  The Chinese invention of movable type, credited to Bi Sheng in the year 1045 AD, did not significantly impact Chinese society.  Four hundred years later in Europe, Gutenberg's development of movable type revolutionized the Western world. Why?  The Chinese language uses at least 5000 characters in an average book. The English language, in comparison, uses 26 letters. Clearly, manipulating 5000 characters on a printing press took much longer than moving 26.

15 Traditional Chinese Books  Vertical texts.  Read from right to left.  Pages turn from left to right.  Thread bound.

16 The Two Giant Hand-copied Encyclopedic Titles  Hand copying was more practical because of the vast quantity of texts.  Yongle Dadian (The Great Classic of Yongle reign)  A huge compilation of everything considered worth knowing by at the time of compilation in 1547, consisting of over 11,000 volumes. Only about 300 survive in original manuscript form today.  Siku Quanshu (Complete Library in Four Branches of Literature)  Containing more than 36,000 volumes. It is the most comprehensive collection from earliest known Chinese scholarship until the date of publication in It covers a wide variety of subjects in the humanities, science, and social sciences.

17 An Overview of E-Publishing in China  The Internet was introduced in China in  120 million Internet users in 2005; the number expected to surpass 200 million by  The e-publishing industry in China started with floppy disks in the mid 1980s. By 1994 more than 1,000 titles had been published on disks.  Government support and rapid technology development.  CD-ROM publishing in China started in By 1997 there were 22 CD-ROM reproduction factories in China.  E-publishing activities by libraries: the National Library of China is developing online indexes to current Chinese yearbooks as well as Chinese rare books down to article level.  E-government project: Since1999 more than 1000 ministries and departments, including the provincial and city level, have established their own web sites.

18 Electronic Publishing in China E-books:  Super Star.  Founder/Apabi.  Scholar’s Home.  Renda Fu yin bao kan zi liao (index and full-text of journals and newspaper articles). A few examples with a special focus on Chinese classics:  Guo xue bao dian  Gu jin tu shu ji cheng.  Si ku quan shu. E-journals:  CAJ (Qinghua TongFang): full-text academic journal articles, dissertations, selected newspaper articles, conference proceedings, patents, etc.  COJ (Wangfand Data): a fulltext journal database with its emphasis on science and technology.  Weipu Journal Co. (Congqing Scientific Information Center): focuses on science and technology.  DragonSource - (Chinese language E-Magazines from the Netlibrary).

19 Challenges for E-Book Industry in China  Lack of a win-win-win solution to the copyright issues for the writers, publishers and readers.  Lack of e-book display standards. Library users have to learn multiple software of the different e-book databases.  Lack of capabilities to limit duplicate/multiple copies from different vendors to save money.  Lack of selectivity when choosing what to add to the e- book collection.  Lack of standardization in pricing.  Lack of standardization in Chinese character encoding.

20 Chinese Language Computing Dilemma for E-Publishing  Three major computer encoding systems are used for Chinese:  Big5  It encodes traditional characters and is used in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao. It is one or two byte coding.  GuoBiao (GB)  It encodes simplified characters and is used in People’s Republic of China and Singapore. The latest version is GB18030 which is a one, two or four byte encoding.  Unicode  Unicode includes all the characters from GB and Big5 and more. It is supported by both Netscape and Internet Explorer and is growing in popularity.  Putting all characters up as pictures so that they can be viewed on all browsers.  challenges: hard to make changes and long time to load.  Three main types of keyboard input methods:  by encoding  by pronunciation  by structure of the characters.

21 Copyright Issues in China  Publishers own the copyright for journals while authors hold copyright for individual articles.  Starting in the late 1990s publishers asked authors to sign over their copyright for both print and electronic.  For articles earlier than the nineties, retrospective contracts need to be signed with individual authors to obtain e-copyright.  Some journals may “disappear” someday from the databases when the Chinese copyright becomes more explicit.  Different options of economic incentives for authors:  Free membership (free access to the entire e-book database).  Pay per download.  Pay per check-out.

22 Thank You Very Much !


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