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Chinese Text Project

Text and corrections

Many early Chinese texts exist in multiple editions which differ to various extents.

In the Chinese Text Project textual database and Wiki, one relatively early edition of a text (generally a scanned copy of which is available in the library) is chosen as a base text, and the CTP edition of the text is expected to follow this edition except where explicitly indicated.

It is possible that in specific locations, the chosen edition may be unintelligible, or otherwise believed to be incorrect on linguistic and/or historical grounds. In these cases, the following rules apply:

  1. Transcriptions (i.e. the digital texts) must always follow the base text except where explicitly indicated.
  2. Corrections to the base text are only made where:
    1. The base text is unintelligible unless corrected, or
    2. There is an explicit argument explaining why the base text should instead contain some other specified content (e.g.: some other early edition contains a more plausible set of characters, and/or there exists a specific linguistic argument as to why the text must be emended, which must be made explicit and validated to be included).
  3. Important alternative versions can be cited in addition to the above as alternatives, however:
    1. Alternatives must always reference a specific early edition, typically in the library (e.g.: 四部叢刊, 漢魏叢書, etc.), and:
    2. Historically unsourced alternatives are not cited (including alternatives found in modern editions, e.g. 中華書局 etc. - if they follow or cite another early edition, the early edition should be referenced directly once confirmed).
  4. Please be aware that many early texts use characters in ways that do not agree with standard modern usage (e.g. using "脩" where modern Chinese uses "修"). Where these agree with classical usage (e.g. as given in dictionaries such as the Kangxi Zidian or Hanyu Da Zidian), they are not errors and do not need to be corrected.

Proposing a correction

As a result of this, to propose a correction:

  1. Check that the digital edition agrees with its base text. If it does not, and does not indicate why, then the digital edition is incorrect and should be corrected. Post a message to ask that it be corrected, citing the appropriate library page.
  2. If the digital edition does agree with the base text, but you believe that it makes no sense and does not make sense unless corrected, please do the following:
    1. Confirm whether other versions of the same text in the library contain more intelligible versions of the same text.
    2. Propose an emendation using other early editions of the same text and/or later commentaries as evidence. Please note that corrections cannot be added without evidence.

Please note that emendations proposed without sufficient justification and that do not explicitly reference other early editions of a text (preferably citing a specific page in the library) will not normally be added to the database due to the difficulty of verifying them.

Lastly, please note that texts in the Wiki section can be edited directly - please correct these using the editing methods provided according to the above principles and the Wiki style and formatting guidelines.