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Chinese Text Project
Simplified Chinese version

Citing Chinese texts

Informal citation

Academic citation

Note: this section describes citation procedures appropriate for citing Chinese texts in academic works in fields such as Chinese studies, Chinese philosophy, and linguistics. Requirements for other disciplines may vary, and examples given below should be adapted to the citation and reference style appropriate in the context of your work.

The Chinese Text Project is to a large extent a "work in progress" (or to use web 2.0 jargon, in "perpetual beta"), and is not intended primarily as an authoritative textual source. As such, if you wish to cite a particular passage of a text in an academic publication, it is not recommended that you cite the Chinese Text Project directly unless you have independently verified the accuracy of the text you are citing, but rather that you cite, where possible, an existing authoritative source for the text.

In order to facilitate this, a growing number of texts on the CTP are equipped with concordance and/or index data. This allows you both to find the location in an authoritative source of any particular passage on the CTP, and also to find on the CTP the passage corresponding to a quoted concordance or index location.

The recommended procedure for citing texts with this data available is as follows:

  1. Locate the passage in the CTP.
  2. Click the metadata icon () to display the concordance data.
  3. Use the concordance data to locate and confirm the text and location in the corresponding printed concordance.
  4. Quote the relevant text and location in the concordance directly.

Remember that if you are merely copying the text and concordance location given in the CTP, without consulting the concordance itself, you are actually citing the CTP and not the concordance, and must make this clear in your citation. CTP editions of texts differ from the concordance editions - the CTP concordance data gives the corresponding location in a concordance, but this in no way guarantees that the concordance text is identical, particularly if the editions are based upon different transmitted copies of the text.

Quoting the CTP data but presenting it as if you are citing the actual concordance itself might be considered academically dishonest since you did not actually refer to the concordance, and is also very likely to cause you problems at some point, since many texts exist in multiple editions, and the characters used in the CTP editions do in places differ from the concordanced editions.

If you are citing a printed concordance directly as recommended, you may still wish to mention the Chinese Text Project Concordance page (http://ctext.org/tools/concordance/ens) in a footnote or endnote in your paper, so that all readers of your work will be able to locate the passages you cite, even if they do not have access to a copy of the concordance itself.

An alternative method where no concordance is available is to use the materials in the Library section of the site to quote an early edition of a transmitted text directly (see example 3 below).

Citation examples

  1. If you have consulted the relevant printed concordance and are quoting it directly:
    [Body]
    ... Mozi at one point claims that promoting the worthy (尚贤) is the root of government (9/8/26).1 ...
    [Footnote/endnote]
    1. References to the Mozi cite page, section, and line numbers in Mozi (1986). Locations of the textual references given in this paper can also be determined using the Chinese Text Project website: http://ctext.org/tools/concordance
    [Works cited - list the particular edition to which you referred]
    Mozi 墨子. 1986. Harvard-Yenching Institute Sinological Index Series, No. 21, A Concordance to Mo Tzu 墨子引得. Reprint; Shanghai: Guji 古籍.

  2. If you have not consulted the printed concordance, but are quoting the CTP concordance data:
    [Body]
    ... Mozi at one point claims that promoting the worthy (尚贤) is the root of government (9/8/26).1 ...
    [Footnote/endnote]
    1. References to the Mozi cite page, section, and line numbers in the Harvard-Yenching Institute Sinological Index Series, No. 21, A Concordance to Mo Tzu 墨子引得, as quoted in Sturgeon (2011). Locations of the textual references given in this paper can also be determined using the Chinese Text Project website: http://ctext.org/tools/concordance
    [Works cited]
    Sturgeon, Donald (ed.). 2011. Chinese Text Project. http://ctext.org

  3. If you would like to cite a transmitted text from the Library directly:
    [Body]
    ... Mozi at one point claims that promoting the worthy (尚贤) is the root of government.1 ...
    [Footnote/endnote]
    1. Mozi shangxian shang (chizaotang sikuquanshu huiyao edition), reprinted in Sturgeon (2011), http://ctext.org/library.pl?if=en&file=8649&page=54
    [Works cited]
    Sturgeon, Donald (ed.). 2011. Chinese Text Project. http://ctext.org

  4. If the text does not have a concordance listed on the site, and you want to cite the CTP anyway (not recommended for scholarly works in fields such as Chinese studies, Chinese philosophy, or linguistics unless you have independently verified the correctness of the text you are citing), or if you wish to cite some other part of the site:
    [Body]
    ... Mozi at one point claims that promoting the worthy (尚贤) is the root of government.1 ...
    [Footnote/endnote]
    1. Sturgeon (2011), http://ctext.org/mozi/exaltation-of-the-virtuous-i#n630
    [Works cited]
    Sturgeon, Donald (ed.). 2011. Chinese Text Project. http://ctext.org