In 2013, Cameron Campbell (康文林), James Lee (李中清), Yuxue Ren (任玉雪) and their collaborators initiated a new project to study Qing educational and political elites and the Qing bureaucracy by construction and analysis of a longitudinal individual-level dataset from the surviving editions of the jinshenlu (縉紳錄) and zhongshubeilan (中樞備覧). The former was a roster of nearly all regular civil offices and their holders that was produced on a quarterly basis during the late Qing, and the latter was a roster of military officials. We refer to the resulting dataset as the China Government Employee Dataset – Qing (CGED-Q) Jinshenlu (JSL). For a subset of officials who held jinshi (进士) or juren (举人) degrees and were recorded in such records of degree holders as xiangshilu (乡试绿) and tongnian chilu (同年齿录), we have constructed a dataset with family background information including names and status of father and paternal grandfather and great-grandfather, exam rank and other details that we call the CGED-Q Examination Records (ER).
Please see our 2020 Journal of Chinese History article lead-authored by Bijia Chen for an article-length introduction to the CGED-Q. A 2016 Qingshi Yanjiu article provides a Chinese-language introduction, based on a very early version of the dataset and an understand of the sources that has subsequently evolved.
The China Government Employee Database – Qing Jinshenlu (CGED-Q JSL) consists of records of officials in the jinshenlu, a publication that appeared every three months and listed almost every civil office including information about the holder’s name, place of origin, ethnicity, location of post, job title, and other details. positions ranged from high offices in the Six Ministries (六部) and other central government units down to low-level offices in county administrations. Nominative linkage of the records of the same official in different editions has proven straightforward, allowing us to construct and study career histories. Each edition lists 13,000-15,000 employees. We are also entering lists of military officials from zhongshubeilan. These editions typically record 7000-8000 military officials each.
At the micro-level, we are using the CGED-Q to examine how geographic origin, mode of appointment, family background, and other characteristics of government employees during the Qing (1644-1911) dynasty influenced individual career trajectories. For mode of appointment, we distinguish officials according to whether they entered service by examination qualification, office purchase, or by virtue of hereditary affiliation with the Eight Banner system. By linkage to other sources, we also examine the role of family background and exam performance.
At the macro-level, we use the CGED-Q to examine changes over time in the composition of the bureaucracy and of specific ministries and agencies. We assess the implications of key developments during the Qing for the structure and composition of the state. While our analysis mainly relies on traditional quantitative methods, in recent years we have been collaborating with colleagues and students in computer science on visualization and computational approaches.
Previous studies of officials and other government employees have mainly been case studies of specific individuals or government offices. Larger scale studies have focused on examination qualification holders, and assumed that they represented the political elite. Studies of the bureaucracy, or specific ministries, have generally been institutional histories. To our knowledge, this is one of the first longitudinal studies of any national bureaucracy, contemporary or modern, in its entirety, using micro-data on the careers and family and geographic origins of nearly all officials.
Starting in spring 2019, we began to make the data public in stages, in collaboration with the Institute of Qing History at Renmin University. Our first release was in 2019 and consisted of the records for civil officials who served between 1900 and 1912. Our second release was in 2021 and consisted of records for civil offices who served between 1850 and 1864. Below we provide links to download sites at HKUST, Renmin University and Harvard University Dataverse.
We have also created a website where visitors can search CGED-Q JSL records by name. Right now it allows search by surname and given name in traditional characters. We intend this to be useful for anyone who may want to look up an ancestor’s personnel records, or for researchers who are interested in looking up the records of a specific officials. Here are more details about the search facility. Siwei Fu created the site while he was a PhD student in Computer Science at HKUST. The site is kindly hosted on a server at Professor Huamin Qu’s VisGroup.
The first major phase of data entry was completed in November 2021, when entry of the last of the editions obtained so far by the Lee-Campbell Group was completed. As of November 2021, the CGED-Q JSL consists of 4,433,600 records of 327,618 officials for the period between 1760 and 1912. 3,843,644 are records of civil offices in editions of the jinshenlu and 589,956 are records of military offices in editions of the zhongshubeilan. The data we have entered so far spans the period between 1760 and 1912 and is most complete for the period 1830 to 1912. Of the officials, 261,451 were civil officials, 58,482 were military officials, and 7,685 made appearances as both civil and military officials. Our counts of numbers of officials may change because they are based on record linkage. The counts of officials changes when we adjust our procedures for nominative linkage.
The CGED-Q JSL contains 275 jinshenlu editions and 75 zhongshubeilan editions. Of the jinshenlu editions, 167 are from the Qingdai Jinshenlu Jicheng (清代縉紳錄集成) published by Tsinghua University Library, 48 are from the Harvard-Yenching Library, 32 are from the Columbia University Library, 15 were from the National Library, 9 were shared with us by Jiang Qin, and 4 were from the Shanghai Library. Of the zhongshubeilan editions, 32 are from the Tsinghua University Library collection, 20 are from Columbia University Library, 19 are from Harvard Yenching Library, 3 are from the National Library, and 1 was shared with us by Jiang Qin.
We estimate that in addition to the records that we have already entered, there are another million or so records in jinshenlu and zhongshubeilan editions in other libraries, most notably the Palace Museum and the Peking University Library. We hope in the future to gain access to these editions, which would improve our coverage of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
For additional information about the family origins and other characteristics of officials, we have constructed and linked a dataset we call the CGED-Q Exam Records (ER) that is based on lists of jinshi degreeholders recorded in the (jinshi timinglu 進士题名录), classmate books (tongnian chilu 同年齒錄), and lists of juren degree awardees (xiangshilu 乡试录). These sources provide names of ancestors, kin, teachers, and classmates. For ancestors, they provide examination qualifications. By linkage, we can trace whether ancestors were government employees.
For the CGED-Q ER, as of February 2022 we have 5,724 and 26,870 tongnian chilu records of jinshi and juren and 11,990 records of other degree holders that provide family background and other information. 3,574 jinshi records were transcribed directly from huishi tongnianchilu for 15 sittings of the exam in the 19th century: 1829, 1833, 1835, 1859, 1865, 1868, 1871, 1876, 1877, 1880, 1886, 1889, 1890, and 1895. We synthesized another 2,174 by combining information about huishi exam year and performance in the jinshi timinglu with information on ancestry from their xiangshi tongnianchilu records. The xiangshi tongnianchilu are from 28 different exam years. For 13 of these exam years (1810, 1816, 1821, 1825, 1828, 1832, 1835, 1840, 1844, 1849, 1855, 1870, 1879), we located and transcribed compendium volumes listing xiangshi degree holders from all provinces. For the remaining exam years, we have entered data for subsets of provinces for which we acquired tongnianchilu. We also have 29,971 xiangshi lu records of juren that provide exam rank and age at time of the provincial exam (xiangshi), and 27,425 jinshi timinglu records. Our collection includes tongnian chilu and xiangshilu that Huang Yifei acquired for his dissertation at Caltech and then very kindly shared with us.
We have also entered 分发 and purchaser lists that were included in commercial editions of the Jinshenlu. At present we have 45,337 such records. We refer to the dataset consisting of these records as CGED-Q Fenfa (CGED-Q FF).
We have supplemented information on officials with other data from the China Biographical Database Project, with whom we are cooperating. We have also exchanged data with Professor Liu Cheng-yun and his group at the Institute of History and Philology at the Academia Sinica.
The project was initially conceived in summer 2013, when Yuxue Ren (任玉雪) at Shanghai Jiaotong University showed Cameron Campbell (康文林) and James Lee (李中清) work she was doing with jinshenlu records of government employees in northeast China. Campbell, with assistance from Lee and Ren, then obtained funding from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council for the 2014-2017 period to enter the 2.8 million jinshenlu records reprinted by Tsinghua University Library as the Qingdai Jinshenlu Jicheng in order to study the Qing bureaucracy in its entirety.
Bijia Chen (陳必佳), HKUST PhD student in Social Science, joined the project in 2015 with support from the Hong Kong PhD Funding Scheme. In addition to using the data for her dissertation on the careers of Qing officials 1850-1912, Bijia has played a key role in the coordination of the data entry and also has been updating the documentation of the data for public release. Lawrence Zhang, joined HKUST fall 2016 as an assistant professor in history and is working with the Lee-Campbell Group to compare data from lists of office purchasers he has collected from libraries in China including Taiwan to their data in the jinshenlu and elsewhere.
Data entry has been carried out since 2014 by a team of full-time coders, currently including Ge Xiaodong, Ji Yang, Ren Yubai, Liu Beiyi, and Zhao Mi. Two other senior coders, Sun Huicheng and Xiao Xing, who were there at the inception of this project retired in early 2017 and 2019 respectively. We are very grateful to all of them for their commitment and perseverance.
We are also collaborating with the Institute for Qing History at Renmin University to release the CGED-Q publicly in phases, beginning in 2019 with the data from the New Administration (新政时期) period 1900-1912. The links for downloading these data are below. We have initiated a number of collaborative papers with various scholars coordinated partly with these data releases as well as with other funded projects.
We are grateful to the Tsinghua University Library for publishing their holdings of jinshenlu and zhongshubeilan editions. We are also grateful to the Harvard Yenching Library, Columbia University Library, the National Library, and Shanghai Library for providing access to their holdings.
HK RGC GRF 16602621. Disasters and Official Careers in the Qing Civil Service, 1830-1912 (Cameron Campbell PI). 2021-2024.
HK RGC GRF 16400114. Spatial, Temporal, and Social Network Influences on Officials’ Careers during the Qing: Creation and Analysis of a National Database from the Jin Shen Lu. 2014-2017 (Cameron Campbell PI).
HK RGC GRF 16601718. Family Background Influences on the Appointment and Career Mobility of Qing Officials With Examination Degrees (Cameron Campbell PI). 2018-2021.
Research Outputs by Lee-Campbell Group members
薛勤 (Xue Qin) and 康文林 (Cameron Campbell). 2022. 清季改革视阈下吏部官员群体的人事递嬗与结构变迁(1898—1911）——以《缙绅录》数据库为中心 Change and Constancy: The Personnel Evolution and Structural Change of the Ministry of Personnel during the Reform in Qing Dynasty —— Based on China Government Employee Database – Qing (CGED-Q). 社会科学研究 (Social Science Research). 2(259):173-182.
陳必佳. 2021. “中国历史官员量化数据库-清代” 的建设过程，现状与前景. In 付海宴Ed., 大数据与中国历史研究. 第三辑. 北京: 社会科学文献出版社. 31-44.
Wang Yifang, Hongye Liang, Xinhuan Shu, Jiachen Wang, Ke Xu, Zikun Deng, Cameron Campbell, Bijia Chen, Yingcai Wu and Huamin Qu. 2021. Interactive Visual Exploration of Longitudinal Historical Career Mobility Data. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics. Early Access. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9382844
胡存璐 (Hu Cunlu)、胡恒 (Heng Hu)、陈必佳 (Bijia Chen)、and 康文林 (Cameron Campbell). 2021. 清代州的政区分等与知州选任的量化分析 (Quantitative Analysis on the Local Government Administrative Categorization System and the Appointment of Department Prefects During the Qing). 数字人文研究 (Digital Humanities Research). 1(1):34-47. http://dhr.ruc.edu.cn/CN/Y2021/V1/I1/4
胡恆(Hu Heng), 陳必佳(Bijia Chen) and 康文林(Cameron D. Campbell. 2020. 清代知府選任的空間與量化分析——以政區分等、《縉紳錄》數據庫為中心 (The Appointment of Prefects during the Qing —- A Spatial and Quantitative Analysis Focusing on the System of Administrative Division and Using the CGED-Q). 新亞學報 (New Asia Journal).37(August):339-398. http://dx.doi.org/10.6743%2fNAJ.202008_37.0009
康文林 (Cameron Campbell). 2020. 清末科举停废对士人文官群体的影响——基于微观大数据的宏观新视角 (The Influence of the Abolition of the Examinations at the End of the Qing on the Holders of Exam Degrees).社会科学辑刊 (Social Science Journal) 2020:4(249):156–166. LINK
陈必佳 (Bijia CHEN),康文林 (Cameron Campbell), 李中清 (James Z. Lee). 2018. 清末新政前后旗人与宗室官员的官职变化初探——以《缙绅录》数据库为材料的分析 (The Transition of Banner and Imperial Lineage Officials During the Late Qing Reform Period: Evidence from the Qing Jinshenlu Database). 清史研究 (The Qing History Journal) (4):10-20. http://qsyj.iqh.net.cn/CN/abstract/abstract2384.shtml
任玉雪 (Yuxue REN), 陈必佳 (Bijia CHEN), 郝小雯 (Xiaowen Hao), 康文林 (Cameron Campbell), 李中清 (James Z. Lee). 2016. 清代缙绅录量化数据库与官僚群体研究 清史研究 (The Qing Jinshenlu Database: A New Source for the Study of Qing Officials) 清史研究 (The Qing History Journal). 2016年11月第四期:61-77.
Essays, responses, comments by Lee-Campbell Group members
任玉雪 (Ren Yuxue). 2021. 在定量分析与传统史学研究方法之间-记叙在李-康研究组的学习经历. In 付海宴Ed., 大数据与中国历史研究. 第三辑. 北京: 社会科学文献出版社. 150-160.
陈必佳 (Bijia Chen). 2019. 再论《缙绅录》记载的准确性及其史料价值 (Re-visiting the Accuracy and the Robustness of Jinshenlu as Historical Source), 清史研究 (The Qing History Journal), 2019 (4) 129-133.
Research outputs by others
蔡晓莹 (Cai Xiaoying). 2021. 清末地域回避制度实施之再探索-基于《縉紳錄》数据库的分析。In 付海宴Ed., 大数据与中国历史研究. 第三辑. 北京: 社会科学文献出版社. 55-69.
胡祥雨 (Hu Xiangyu). 2018. 清末新政与京师司法官员的满汉比例（1901-1912）——基于《缙绅录》数据库的分析 (New Policies and the Manchu-Han Ratio among Judicial Officials in the Capital at the End of the Qing Dynasty (1901-1912): A Study Based on the Jinshenlu Database). 清史研究 (Studies in Qing History) (4):21-35. http://qsyj.iqh.net.cn/CN/abstract/abstract2385.shtml
胡恆 (Hu Heng). 2019. 清代政区分等与官僚资源调配的量化分析 (Quantitative Analysis of Qing Administrative Districts and The Allocation of Bureaucratic Resources). 近代史研究 (Modern Chinese History Studies). (3):4-29.
Publicly Released Data
CGED-Q: 1900-1912 JINSHENLU Public Release
Our first release in2019 consisted of jinshenlu (缙绅录) records of civil officials in the Qing for the period 1900-1912 and accompanying documentation. The release consists of 638,152 records of 40,242 civil officials (based on our linkage) recorded in 43 quarterly editions.
The data in the release are as much as possible a direct transcription of the contents of the original sources. For this release, we have not attempted to ‘correct’ any mistakes or inconsistencies that were apparent in the original data since doing so would require us to introduce our assumptions. Along these lines, the release data have not been processed to reconcile differences in orthography for the same character, link individuals, and so forth. In our own analysis, we use data that we have processed extensively to resolve inconsistencies, correct problems, and link individuals across time, and in 2020 we anticipate releasing some of our constructed or transformed variables.
Please make sure to download and read carefully the README (声明) files as well as the User Guide (用户指南) along with the data. It is urgent that users understand the requirements re acknowledging the funding source that supported the creation of the database and its public release and citation of the User Guide and relevant publications. It is also urgent that users understand the known limitations and caveats regarding the data that are described in the User Guide.
We expect the documentation and possibly the data to change as mistakes or other problems come to light, so please check back on a regular basis for updates.
We conducted a workshop introducing the public release on July 19-22, 2019 at Central China Normal University in Wuhan. The workshop was attended by 34 postgraduate students from institutions outside Wuhan, 5 faculty from institutions outside Wuhan, and approximately 15 participants from Central China Normal University and other institutions in Wuhan.
CGED-Q: 1850-1864 JINSHENLU Public Release
Our second release was in January 2022. It consisted of 341,092 records of 37,632 civil officials (according to our linkage) for the period 1850-1864, drawn from 26 quarterly editions. It is available at HKUST Dataspace, Harvard Dataverse, and Renmin University Institute for Qing History mirror site via links below.
Recommended citations and acknowledgments
Please remember to cite the dataset and User Guide in all outputs that make use of it as specified below, and include an acknowledgment of the funding that supported the creation of the dataset.By doing so, you will help us document the value of the dataset and documentation to the larger community, and facilitate our efforts to seek support for expansion of these datasets or construction of new ones.
Download links follow the recommended citations and funding acknowledgments.
Recommended Citation for Dataset
Campbell, Cameron Dougall; Chen, Bijia; Ren, Yuxue; Lee, James, 2019, “China Government Employee Database-Qing (CGED-Q) Jinshenlu 1900-1912 Public Release”, https://doi.org/10.14711/dataset/E9GKRS, DataSpace@HKUST, V1
Recommended Citation for User Guide 使用指南
任玉雪, 陈必佳, 郝小雯, 康文林, 李中清. 2019. 中国历史官员量化数据库―清代缙绅录1900-1912时段用户指南.
Ren Yuxue, Bijia Chen, Xiaowen Hao, Cameron Campbell and James Lee. 2019. China Government Employee Dataset-Qing dynasty Jinshenlu 1900-1912 Public Release User Guide.
Recommended Funding Acknowledgment
The construction and release of the CGED-Q was supported in part by Hong Kong Research Grants Council General Research Fund grants 16601718 and 16400114 (Cameron Campbell PI) and by intramural support from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
The CGED-Q Jinshenlu 1900-1912 and the 1850-1864 Public Releases are available for download at three different servers. Choose the one that is most convenient:
Hong Kong: HKUST Dataspace 港科大平台下载
North America: Harvard Dataverse Lee-Campbell Group Dataverse
Sample Code and Other Resources
As with our other projects we will incorporate the results of our CGED-Q related research in our on-line course Understanding China, 1700-2000: A Data Analytic Approach, in this case as Part Four – Who Gets Authority.