Recently, Preliminary Practice and Academic Significance of Digital Humanities in Ancient Literature Research, written by Professor Wang Zhaopeng and Shao Dawei of School of Literature, Journalism and Communication of SCUN, was published on the 2020 (8) issue of Social Sciences in China magazine, which has drawn widespread attention in academic circles.
Professor Wang Zhaopeng and his team have worked in the field of digital humanities for more than ten years. Based on the practical experience of Information Platform for Chronicle of Tang and Song Literature, this paper makes a comprehensive and in-depth summary of the functions and academic significance of digital humanities in the study of ancient literature, which has not only discovered new materials, but also used new methods, put forward new viewpoints and opened up new fields. This paper points out that there are two major problems in ancient literature research: data dispersion and time-space separation. The literature chronological map platform developed by using digital humanities technology can not only realize five functions of browsing and retrieval, association generation, data statistics, time-space positioning and visualized presentation, which makes it easier to solve the two major problems, and helps to update the concepts and methods of ancient literature research. Digital humanities research will change the mode of query and retrieval of ancient literature materials, and realize the transition from word segmentation and location retrieval of electronic documents to classified retrieval through structured databases, from point retrieval to network association, from one-by-one copying to classified packaging, and from traditional static text to dynamic text that can be combined at will. The research will change the cognitive perspective and method of literary history, refine the time granularity of literary history and deepen the spatial level of literature study. Wang Zhaopeng reckons that ancient literature research and digital humanities technology can be integrated because of their theoretical commonality. Therefore, he became the first to put forward the concept of Xi Di to explore the academic resources of Xi Di in history, establish the idea of paying equal attention to annals and Xi Di, and initiate a new paradigm of writing the chronicles of writers, annotations of other collections and literary chronicles.
It is reported that after Prof. Wang Zhaopeng finished the Information Platform Construction for Chronicle of Tang and Song Literature, a major bidding project of the National Social Science Fund, in the first half of last year, he successfully applied for Construction of Map Platform for Chronicle of Literature in Han, Wei and Six Dynasties, another major bidding project of the National Social Science Fund in the second half of last year. This paper summarizes the experience of the first major project and improves the related theory, and also provides theoretical guidance for the second major project. The pioneering theories and research methods indicate that Professor Wang and his team have entered a new stage of digital humanities research in the field of ancient literature.
Professor Wang encourages students to pursue both the frontiers of academic research and the practical research that is closely related to people’s life and the society. He hops that students will be able to develop new perspectives, new ideas and new paradigms of literary studies by using the scientific methods unique to the information age. The series of achievements in digital humanities research are both academic and popular, which can not only promote academic development, but also provide new theoretical methods and abundant literature data for the development of cultural tourism and literature education.