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The Introduction of Hart Diaries Pilot Project

Sir Robert Hart (1835-1911) was born in Belfast and graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 1853. In 1854 he arrived in Hong Kong and started his long career in China. He served the Imperial Government of China as the second Inspector-General from 1863-1911. He wrote in his diary during his long career in imperial China on a daily basis. The 77-volume diaries start from 27 August 1854 and end on 19 April 1908. His diaries cover the history of modern China over 54 years. Compared to other Chinese diaries in this period, the Hart diaries are the longest and richest. During this period, he was deeply involved in every single project of China's modernisation and witnessed the restoration and decline of the Qing empire.

The diaries are 77 volumes and 16,127 pages, and are stored at the Queen’s University Belfast(The Sir Robert Hart Collection at the Queen’s University of Belfast, click here). The Academia Sinica and the University signed a memorandum of understanding for advanced collaboration in 2004 and initiated the joint digital collection project on the Hart diaries in 2007. The pilot project was to digitise volumes 9-12 for the complete collection of the 77 volumes. This pilot project also aimed to apply the geographic information system to a spatio-temporal platform and comply metadata. In 2012 the collection of the 77 volumes was completed and the Academia and the University inaugurated (click here). This project is funded by the Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academia Sinica and is carried by the Center for Geographic Information Science.