Books and Books Viewing: Books to know the purpose

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The history of book classification in China has a long history. The official catalogue in the early Tang Dynasty, Sui Shu·Jingjizhi, was the first catalogue to formally use the four-part classification method of “Jing, Shi, Zi, Ji”. In addition to “Sui Shu·Jingji Zhi”, “Old Tang Shu·Jingji Zhi”, “New Tang Shu·Yiwen Zhi”, and “Song History· Yiwen Zhi” are also catalogues of official history books, which are not only continuous in time, It also continued the four-part classification method of “Classics, History, Zi and Ji”. There is also a “Japanese National Book Catalogue”, which records the general catalogue of Chinese books handed down to the early Heian period in Japan. This book draws on “Sui Shu Jing Ji Zhi”, although the book is later than “Sui Shu Jing Ji Zhi”, it is earlier than “Old Tang Shu Jing Ji Zhi”. The content of the book and the catalogue of domestic official history books can complement each other. High research value. Through the study of these five catalogues, we can get a glimpse of the classification of ancient Chinese books.

The Visualization System of “Book Views”

However, due to the limitation of time, the catalogues on ancient books are only lists of words and numbers. It is difficult to intuitively compare the distribution of the number of books and the number of authors recorded in the five catalogues, let alone compare the changes in the classification of individual works among different catalogues. The evolution of classification. Therefore, we designed the visualization system of “Books of Classics”. First, through careful data processing, key information of books included in ancient books, such as book titles, and related authors, commentators, etc., are extracted, and then the collected data is layered as the data base for visualization.

“Books Viewing” is an interactive visualization system that dynamically displays the specific distribution of each collection of classics and histories in each ancient book catalogue in the form of a cluster diagram, and reveals the differences in bibliographic collection and classification among different catalogues through animation transformation. ; Observe related authors of a book, related books by the same author, in the form of a constellation connection. “Books of Classics” provides an intuitive comparison of the catalogues horizontally and vertically, which is convenient for scholars to directly locate research problems in the text through the overview cognition of the catalogue, improve research efficiency, and also facilitate users to have an intuitive understanding of the distribution of ancient book catalogues in my country. Stimulate interest in antiquarian bibliography.

Distribution map of books included in “Sui Shu·Jing Ji Zhi”

When displaying the hierarchical structure relationship of the catalogue bibliography, the system uses the background of Duobao grid to divide the space. First of all, according to the structure of the catalog, the space is roughly divided into four parts: classics, history, sub-sections, and collections. The sub-category of each directory will be further subdivided around the four area spaces. The entries in the class are stored in the cells of the treasure grid respectively, and each point represents a minimum entry in the directory, that is, A book, the size of the dots represents the number of volumes in the book.

By clicking, you can go deep into any one of the “Classics, History, Subsidiaries, and Collections”. “Books and Books View” helps users to further explore the book entries in the class through more perspectives. Use the bright “constellations” in the starry sky to show the connection between the books in the class and the author.

Book-centered star map

When the display is centered on the book, we show the characters who have contributed to the book, including the author, the annotator, etc., that is, the form of participation and contribution can be annotation, writing, sentence, interpretation, positive, etc.; The central node represents the participant with the largest contribution from the author of the book itself or related. For example, there are a total of 11 authors who wrote annotations for the “Han Han Shu”.

Constellation Chart of Contributors to “The Book of the Later Han”

When displaying with the author as the center, we also use a central node to correspond to the author himself, and arrange all the books in the directory that the author participated in creating around the center, and use force guidance to prevent nodes from stacking. For example, Zheng Xuan, a sutra scholar of the Eastern Han Dynasty, has 20 works included in the annals of the old Tang books, including annotations to “Mencius”, “Zhouyi” and so on.

Author center constellation map

The Constellation Chart of Zheng Xuan and His Works

With the help of a visualization system, ancient books can be brought back to life. Bibliography “chapter identification academic, examination mirror origin”. “Those who want to understand the book should be able to understand the examples.” Only by understanding bibliography can we truly understand all kinds of classics. It can be said that “to know the purpose from the catalogue, and to understand the words by looking at the eyes”, let us look at the ancient books and works of our country from the perspective of catalogue changes.

This work won the third prize in the “Chinese Ancient Books Digital Humanities Creativity” track of the ChinaVis 2022 China Visualization and Visual Analysis Conference Data Visualization Competition. Team members: Shao Hanning, Yu Jiacheng, Wei Datong, Cui Tianrui, Zhang Yuqi (undergraduate students); instructors: Yuan Xiaoru, Wei Jingjing (Hubei University of Technology).

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