Public Release of the China Government Employee Database – Qing (CGED-Q) 1900-1912

Cameron Campbell, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Bijia Chen, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Heng Hu, Renmin University
Yuxue Ren, Shanghai Jiaotong University
James Z. Lee, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

The China Government Employee Database – Qing (CGED-Q) is a new longitudinal database that describes structure and composition of the Qing bureaucracy and the careers of the officials who composed it. It covers the period from the mid-18th century to the beginning of the 20th, with nearly continuous coverage from 1850 to 1912. The CGED-Q records official positions every three months, providing the geographic location and the title of the post, and the identity and other characteristics of the officeholder. Vacant positions are also included. Nominative linkage of records of officials in the database to reconstruct their careers is straightforward, as is linkage to auxiliary sources such as records of exam degree holders that provide information on ancestry. Such data not only allow for the study of the changes in the structure and composition of the civil service over time, but also for the analysis of career dynamics. Construction of the CGED-Q began in 2014 and as of March 2019, the CGED-Q comprises 3,264,058 records of 337,192 officials, of whom 279,769 are civil and 57,423 are military. Our presentation introduces a subset of the CGED-Q that we are publicly releasing in spring 2019 that consists of 638,152 records of civil officials for the period 1900-1912. These data will be invaluable for developing a better understanding of a crucial period in Chinese history during which the government sought to reform. It abolished the examination system and reorganized ministries and agencies along foreign lines. In addition to introducing the publicly released data, we will provide background on the project, and suggest potential applications of the public data. We expect that the data will be of interest not only to historians of China, but more broadly to anyone interested in studying the dynamics of large organizations or doing comparative studies of bureaucracy.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 78. Big Data in Historical Research