With the rapid development of digital humanities, some digital humanities platforms have been successfully developed to support digital humanities research for humanists. However, most of them have still not provided a friendly digital reading environment and practicable social network analysis tool to support humanists on interpreting texts and exploring characters’ social network relationships. Moreover, the advancement of digitization technologies for the retrieval and use of Chinese ancient books is arising an unprecedented challenge and opportunity. For these reasons, this paper aims to present a Chinese ancient books digital humanities research platform (CABDHRP) to support historical China studies. In addition to providing digital archives, digital reading, basic search and advanced search functions for Chinese ancient books, this platform still provides two novel functions that can more effectively support digital humanities research, including an automatic text annotation system (ATAS) for interpreting texts and a character social network relationship map tool (CSNRMT) for exploring characters’ social network relationships.
An ATAS embedded in the reading interface of CABDHRP can collect resources from different databases through LD for automatically annotating ancient texts to support digital humanities research. It allows the humanists to refer to resources from diverse databases when interpreting ancient texts, as well as provides a friendly text annotation reader for humanists to interpret ancient text through reading. Additionally, the CSNRMT provided by the CABDHRP can semi-automatically identify characters’ names based on Chinese word segmentation technology and humanists’ support to confirm and analyze characters’ social network relationships from Chinese ancient books based on visualizing characters’ social networks as a knowledge graph. The CABDHRP not only can stimulate humanists to explore new viewpoints in a humanistic research, but also can promote the public to emerge the learning interest and awareness of Chinese ancient books.
This study proposed a novel CABDHRP that provides the advanced features, including the automatic word segmentation of Chinese text, automatic Chinese text annotation, semi-automatic character social network analysis and user behavior analysis, that are different from other existed digital humanities platforms. Currently, there is no this kind of digital humanities platform developed for humanists to support digital humanities research.
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