May 24, 2022

"Visualising China" Launches; Access More Than 8,000 Digitised Historical Photos of China (1850-1950)

New from Bristol University (Funded by JISC)

From the Visualising China Blog

The site now allows users to explore more than 8000 digitised images of historical photographs of China taken between 1850 and 1950. It cross-searches metadata from Historical Photographs of China, the Sir Robert Hart Collection and Joseph Needham’s Photographs of Wartime China. [Our Emphasis] In addition we also include resources chosen from Google Books by subject experts. Users are encouraged to annotate existing data with suggestions and in the future we plan to offer researchers and others the ability to “add” other relevant resources by incorporating moderated online content which can then be browsed and searched through this single point of access (for example images on Picasa, Flickr, Internet Archive, personal libraries of related Google books, videos from YouTube or online journals).

From Bristol University

Funded by JISC, the project is a collaboration between the Web Futures team at the University’s Institute for Learning and Research Technology (ILRT) and the Historical Photographs of China (HPC) team within the Department of Historical Studies.


The Visualising China project grew out of five years of digitisation work undertaken by HPC in the Department of Historical Studies, culminating in one of the largest online collections of historical photographs of China, which is still growing.

Paola Marchionni, programme manager at JISC, said: “Chinese studies is a growing area of research as the UK and others seek to establish stronger links with Asia.  Visualising China is particularly innovative in allowing users to explore content drawn from different sources in a serendipitous way and leveraging crowdsourcing to enrich that content.  Sophisticated resources like Visualising China will create opportunities for people across the world to carry out new research and contribute to our understanding of China’s past.”

Images come from a variety of sources – archival (e.g. School of Oriental and African Studies archive; the National Archives; British Steel Collection), commercial (e.g. John Swire and Sons Ltd), as well as privately-held collections, including family albums, prints and negatives, often somewhat neglected in attics and cupboards. The web site was built by ILRT, with additional support from the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Worldwide University Network and the University of Bristol.

Direct to Visualising China Web Site and Database

Hat Tip/Thanks and More Info: IWR

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.