Tag: online

Building a DIY Trove list exhibition

One of my projects over the summer has been to create a small online exhibition using Trove lists and a nifty online exhibition framework built by Tim Sherratt.

DIY Trove exhibition screenshot

The list feature in Trove allows registered users to create their own collections of items. They’re a handy thing if you’re researching a particular topic and want to organise the material that you’ve found in Trove, or even if you just want to go back to random stuff that you like. You can keep your Trove lists private, or make them public and share what you’ve found with others.

Tim, who until recently was part of the Trove management team, thought that it would be good to take that sharing to another level — so he’s created a framework that lets you use your Trove lists to create an online exhibition. You can read more about Tim’s thoughts on this process on his blog.

I was keen to give it a try, and decided to make a pictorial exhibition about the Chinese in New South Wales to 1940. I started by making nine lists in Trove, which would serve as topics in my exhibition. Gradually I added a selection of pictures, objects and illustrated newspapers articles to each of my lists. I gave each of my lists a short description and arranged the items in chronological order. Because I’ve included newspaper articles, it would be best if I took the time to correct the OCR text for each one, but I’m impatient and wanted to get onto building the exhibition itself.

Tim’s DIY Trove Exhibition is pretty straightforward to use, particularly if you have some experience (even very basic experience) with web publishing or coding. He’s written clear, step-by-step instructions. The process first involves getting yourself a GitHub account and a Trove API key, and then customising his code to make your exhibition. Customising the code might look scary, but if you follow the instructions carefully you should be okay! There are further ways that you can customise the exhibition — for example, I changed the fonts — but you don’t need to do anything more if you don’t want to.

Once you’ve made the exhibition, you can easily add or take away items, or change your list descriptions, or change the order items appear in a list. Simply make the change to your list in Trove and it will appear in your exhibition after refreshing your browser.

Here’s my exhibition:

The Chinese in New South Wales: A history in pictures to 1940

Hope you like it!

US Army topographic maps of Guangdong

The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas, has a great collection of online maps of China, both current and historical.

One of the real treasures is the China – Topographic Maps [Scale 1:250,000] (China Series) U.S. Army Map Service, Series L500, dating from 1954. Using a map of the whole of China as a guide, you can click to bring up very detailed maps of particular regions. Place names are given in modified Wade-Giles with some Chinese characters (and it’s kinda fun spotting familiar places – a detail map of Macau, for instance, points past the Portas do Cerco to ‘Chi-Ta 5 km’, which would be Jida, now a bustling and ever-growing part of Zhuhai city).

The Chung Shan map (NF-49/8 on the big plan, and warning, it’s a big file: 6.4mb), shows the western part of the Pearl River Delta, from Kaiping in the west to the border with Hong Kong in the east, from Panyu in the north to Macau in the south. You can see the level of detail provided on the map below.

The maps that are likely to be useful for those interested in Chinese Australian history are the following:

The other very cool thing about these maps is that they correspond to the map references in the Chinese Villages Database. So, for instance, the villages database gives the map reference ‘GQ 4394’ for Shek Kay Chun in Chung Shan (Shiqi in Zhongshan). This means you have to look for the area marked as GQ, find line no. 4 and go in 3/10 of the way to line no. 5, then find line 9 and go 4/10 of the way to line no. 0. A somewhat daggy illustration of how to do this is below (click on the image to get the full-size version). There you can see, circled in blue is Shekki.

Minority miners from the State Library NSW

The State Library of New South Wales’ Eureka! The rush for gold web feature includes some interesting material about the Chinese in the section titled Minority miners.

There are links to digitised photographs, paintings and sketches, and images of a most intriguing gold medal from the State Library’s collection. The medal was presented to a goldfields warden in Braidwood in 1881 as a ‘mark of esteem’ by Chinese miners.

The text that goes with these images gives a brief and fairly typical account of the Chinese on the southern Australian goldfields – telling a story of anti-Chinese sentiments, violence, poll taxes, Lambing Flat, anti-Chinese legislation, as well as introducing the exception to all the stereotypes, Quong Tart (there are links to Tart family papers also held by the Library.)

It’s nice to see some of the State Library’s Chinese stuff being highlighted, but it’s a pity that people can’t seem to get past the idea that there isn’t anything more to the story of the goldfields Chinese than rivalry, misunderstanding, prejudice and discrimination. The gold medal, just by itself, suggests that the story is much more complex than that.

Hong Kong Uni theses online

Hong Kong University Theses Online does just what it says – provides online access to theses completed at the University of Hong Kong. You can browse by degree or department and, unlike many other similar online thesis sites, this one provides full-text searching.

There’s much of interest here – including a number of theses I’ve wanted to read for a while – and it’s all available free of charge. Hooray.

Here are some that took my eye:

Michael Williams – Destination qiaoxiang (a must-read thesis! The first real exploration of Australia’s Chinese communities from a transnational perspective)

Geoffrey Emerson – Stanley Internment Camp, Hong Kong, 1942-1945: A study of civilian internment during the Second World War

Stacilee Ford Hosford, Gendered exceptionalisms: American women in Hong Kong and Macao, 1830-2000

CHIU Yiu-tat, Franklin – Lineage and rural industry in South China: The case of Taishan

KO Yeung, Katherine – From ‘slavery’ to ‘girlhood’? Age, gender and race in Chinese and western representations of the mui tsai phenomenon, 1879-1941

Tiziana Salvi, The last fifty years of legal opium in Hong Kong, 1893-1943

WONG Chun-leung, Empire and identity: British elite representations of ‘colonizer’ and ‘colonized’ in Hong Kong, 1880-1941

YU Yang, Remaking Xiamen: Overseas Chinese and regional transformation in architecture and urbanism in the early 20th century

Chinese American women: new online exhibit

Via H-Asia, an announcement of a new online exhibition about the history of Chinese American women.

Chinese American Women: A History of Resilience and Resistance explores the lives of Chinese American women during their first one hundred years in the United States. It has been put together by Jean Pfaelzer, author of Driven Out: The Forgotten War Against Chinese Americans (Random House, 2007) for the US National Women’s History Museum.

One of the exhibition’s highlights are the photographs and personal stories of Chinese women in 19th and early 20th century America.

Sidney Gamble China photographs online

The Sidney D Gamble photograph collection, held by Duke University, is available online. Here’s a description from the site:

From 1908 to 1932, Sidney Gamble (1890-1968) visited China four times, traveling throughout the country to collect data for social-economic surveys and to photograph urban and rural life, public events, architecture, religious statuary, and the countryside. A sociologist, renowned China scholar, and avid amateur photographer, Gamble used some of the pictures to illustrate his monographs. The Sidney D. Gamble Photographs digital collection marks the first comprehensive public presentation of this large body of work that includes photographs of Korea, Japan, Hawaii, San Francisco, and Russia.

There are images from Hong Kong, Macau, Guangdong and Fujian. Also a nifty interactive map.

As I was looking through the Guangdong photos, my eye was particularly taken by this image of a rickshaw driver in a fantastic raincoat. It was taken between 1917 and 1919 in Canton.

It reminded me that on one trip to China, I spent some time exploring the ‘antique’ furniture markets in Tanzhou, Zhongshan, just outside of Zhuhai. (The no. 31 bus from Zhuhai went there.) The markets are a mixture of small shops/factories that produce ‘antique’ Chinese furniture and other shops that have genuinely old stuff. These raincoats were hanging outside up outside one little place – one is adult-sized and the other child-sized.