Visualising China – Cross-searching Photographs from British Collections in a Web 2.0 context

The Visualising China project starts next month (September 2009) and runs into 2011.


It is a collaboration between the I.L.R.T at the University of Bristol and the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Bristol, building on recent digitisation work undertaken by the department and culminating in the presence of a large, growing collection of historical photographs of China. Approximately 15,000 digital images were created in total, 5000 of which are searchable and browsable at, covering a date range of 1870 to 1950. 7000 have full metadata and are available for exposure online.


We propose to enhance this collection by building on sophisticated visualisation Web software from the JISC-funded STARS project. We will upload the images to a Bristol-hosted database searchable by STARS software and extend STARS technology to support image annotation (it currently implements resource and video annotation) and also cross-searching in a Web 2.0 context to seamlessly integrate related content from Google Scholar, Google Books and Google Images among other valuable third party resources to include Virtual Shanghai and Queen’s University Belfast’s Hart Digital Image Gallery. With China an increasingly significant superpower in the current economic climate, Mandarin growing at Secondary and primary level and Chinese History entering A level and GCSE syllabuses there is nonetheless a lack of resources relating to this period. This project aims to expand the Bristol collection and cross-search with related China collections in an extensible, social software context thus offering a major and authoritative open access resource to support research, teaching and learning.

JISCcolour15 Visualising China is funded by the JISC.

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