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.01 Introduction

What is digitization?

While digital materials are everywhere, we still rely on scholars and experts to interpret the knowledge of classical Chinese books. The difficulty is not that there are not enough digital tools, but that their ability to interpret Classical Chinese is insufficient. The use of digital data lies in what content is "digitized". For example, scanning ancient books is to convert images into files in electronic image format, and typing is to convert text into files in electronic character format. After the text is digitized, it is really helpful for functions such as transmission, calculation, storage, and query. There are currently several methods to improve efficiency: hyperlink, database, markup language, etc. These tools can then use analysis, maps, network, and timeline software to output the results of calculations. Therefore, digitization is to enable meaningful calculations. For example, there were two Master Xuanzang (玄奘) in the Tang Dynasty, one was the famous translator who went to India to learn the scriptures, and the other was a Xuanzang from the Yuquan Temple in Jingzhou. If you want to use a database to output a map of the translators's travels, but you can't mix it with Jingzhou Xuanzang's travels, how can it be done?

This can only be achieved by relying on professional digital services. For example:


Here is a story about the monk Śubhakarasiṃha of the Tang dynasty. The sentence seemed to say that Śubhakarasiṃha met his sister who was married to a king in Central India . She asked Śubhakarasiṃha about the reason for giving up the throne and praised him. But another record says:


In comparison, the punctuation of《宋高僧傳》should be changed to:


Only in this way can the two notes be consistent.

Therefore, the professional ability to interpret classical Chinese books is the basis of creating high-end digital editions. At present, many scholars want to use artificial intelligence and big data to digitize classical Chinese books, but it is difficult to succeed without background knowledge.

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