Local Gazetteers Research Tools

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Welcome to LoGaRT!

1. Introduction

“Local Gazetteers Research Tools” ( LoGaRT ) is a software for searching, analyzing, and collecting data from digitized Chinese local gazetteers (difangzhi 地方志). It provides historians with a bird’s-eye view on a collection of gazetteers beyond browsing and reading individually. The philosophy behind LoGaRT is to treat all the digitized gazetteers available as a conceptual database for historical inquiries. Thus, LoGaRT allows historians to ask larger-scale questions that are not necessarily bounded by geographical regions, time periods, or individual efforts.

2. Content

There are many collections of digitized Chinese local gazetteers with differing quality and licensing conditions. Currently, two high-quality collections are accessible via LoGaRT:

  • Rare Local Gazetteers at Harvard-Yenching Library: An open-access collection available to the public, it is a joint digitization project between MPIWG and Harvard-Yenching Library and funded by the Max Planck Society and the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation.
  • Erudition’s Zhongguo fangzhi ku 中国方志库: A commercial collection produced by Erudition, access to it via LoGaRT is granted by the Berlin State Library and available to MPIWG affiliates only.


LoGaRT is developed as part of the research activities by the Local Gazetteers Working Group at Department III: “Artifacts, Action, Knowledge” of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG). Citation is a very important metric for the external evaluation of research activities at MPIWG, so please do cite LoGaRT according to the guidelines in Section 7 below if you make use of it for your research. Any inquiries can be directed to contacts in Section 8.

3. System requirements

LoGaRT requires the installation of Chinese font and a compatible browser; we strongly suggest using the latest stable version of Google Chrome.

4. Features

According to the philosophy and the research purpose above, LoGaRT provides a suite of digital tools (1) to search across local gazetteers across space and time; (2) to visualize search results; and (3) to collect data and encode meaning of texts and images by tagging. Four types of data regarding Chinese local gazetteers are recorded in LoGaRT, and thus they can be searched and visualized quantitatively: (1) book metadata (bibliography) including publication dates and locations; (2) section data including the section headings in the Table of Contents and their page ranges; (3) text on each pages; (4) pages with illustrations (PWI). Search can be issued at any of these four types, and any search result can be saved, statistically quantified, displayed and analyzed in LGMap, or downloaded (as CSV spreadsheet) for further usage.

Please see the following resources to understand the features in LoGaRT:

Research highlights:

5. Recent additions


  • 2023 October
    Open access users (non-MPIWG affiliates) can now access the full book and section metadata of both collections, as these metadata were produced and owned by MPIWG and thus are not restricted by licensing law.
  • 2020
    Rare Local Gazetteers at Harvard-Yenching Library (410 gazetteers) linked.
  • 2019
    “PWI” in LGServices released.
  • 2016
    New user interface released; “Compare” in LGServices released as a minimum viable product; batch 2 of Erudition’s Zhongguo fangzhi ku (2000 gazetteers) linked.
  • 2015
    Batch 1 of Erudition’s Zhongguo fangzhi ku (2000 gazetteers) linked; text-tagging interface released; LGDataverse released (customized from the open-source software Dataverse and now deprecated); LGMap released; “Page Texts” in LGServices released.


6. Collaborators

Berlin State Library (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin) and CrossAsia
China Biographical Database at Harvard University
Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology

7. Citation

In addition to citing the individual gazetteer titles as you normally would cite primary sources, please also follow the citation guidelines below as appropriate. Your citations help us continue to develop LoGaRT by providing impact metrics during MPIWG’s external evaluation and supporting our compliance with funders and licensors. Please direct any questions about citation to Shih-Pei Chen (see Section 8).


Please cite LoGaRT itself and include it in your publication’s notes or acknowledgement. In addition, please cite LoGaRT’s theoretical paper iin IJDH below:

  • Shih-Pei Chen, Calvin Yeh. 2023. LoGaRT: Local Gazetteers Research Tools (software). Berlin: Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. https://logart.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/
  • Shih-Pei Chen, Calvin Yeh, Sean Wang, & Qun Che. (2023). Treating a Genre as a Database: A Digital Research Methodology for Studying Chinese Local Gazetteers. International Journal of Digital Humanities, 4(1–3), 171-193. doi:10.1007/s42803-022-00048-5.

Rare Local Gazetteers at Harvard-Yenching Library

For those who make use of Rare Local Gazetteers at Harvard-Yenching Library via LoGaRT, please cite the digitization project itself and include it in your publication’s bibliography or reference list. An example below is available in Chicago author-date style:

  • Schäfer, Dagmar, Shih-Pei Chen, Sean Wang, and Calvin Yeh. 2019. Rare Local Gazetteers at Harvard-Yenching Library (digitized collection). Berlin: Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. https://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/research/projects/rare-local-gazetteers-harvard-yenching-library-open-access-collection

Erudition’s Zhongguo fangzhi ku

For MPIWG affiliates who make use of Erudition’s Zhongguo fangzhi ku via LoGaRT, please include the additional information below in your publication’s notes or acknowledgment:

  • “This material is based upon research conducted while affiliated with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and sources were made available during this affiliation via Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin’s CrossAsia portal.”

Except for materials published in scientific, technical, or professional outlets (i.e., those that have undergone peer review before publication), the following disclaimer must be included along with the note or acknowledgment:

  • “Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.”

8. Contacts

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Department III

Shih-Pei Chen, Senior Research Scholar and Digital Content Curator: schen@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de
Calvin Yeh, IT Architect: cyeh@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de

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