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Taiwan Literature Subject Guides: Creating Excellence

  • PublishTime:2023-07-31

by Lin Pei-Jung, Wu Yu-Zhong, Meiyan Jin

NMTL has established a database—the Taiwan Literature Subject Guides (TLSG), which incorporates digital humanities and AI deep learning. Starting from this issue, we will introduce its contents and features, so that everyone can try it out.

TLSG is a digital humanities research-oriented database which encompasses a wide variety of information, including people (writers), journals, classical poetry, and other content from NMTL, totaling over ten million individual entries in  seventeen different categories.

The Mandarin title of TLSG sounds similar to "Good Things" in Taiwanese. It expands access to Taiwan literary data by offering more extensive responses when searching for a certain topic related to Taiwan literature, which is its main advantage over traditional databases. Normally, when conducting research online, a researcher has to search for relevant databases, then input a series of keywords, such as a specific writer, a book, or the name of an organization, until the information is found. In general, this method requires an experienced user, and does not provide access to those who simply want to explore or gather data on Taiwan literature through digital means. TLSG can meet the needs of users who would like to learn more about Taiwan literature in a simpler, more general way.​​

From a technical perspective, TLSG breaks down the structure of texts or sentences. For example, in the sentence "The author of A Lever Scale is Lai Ho," the database uses programs to break down the meaning of human language into a machine-readable language, allowing  humans and machines to work together to create literary connections. This provides users with information that goes beyond simple data retrieval.

In terms of content, TLSG allows exploration of individuals, interpersonal networks, and literary works. It also provides access to the collections of local literary museums. The easy-to-use digital tools on this platform allow this data to be expressed in charts, GIS map displays or social network webs, making it easy for users to find information and explore it further.

Try the following steps. Let’s start by entering a keyword - we’ll use Syaman Rapongan, an indigenous writer, as an example:
1. In the search field, enter "Syaman Rapongan" (夏曼‧藍波安). Upon entering the individual's page, you will find a network of interpersonal relationships, showing his roles in the Public Television Service (公共電視), the Taipei City Government’s Indigenous Peoples Commission (臺北市原住民事務委員會), and the Orchid Island Community Development Committee (蘭嶼社區總體營造委員會).
2. Alternatively, you can find the "Network Analysis Diagram of the Relationship between People and Organizations" under "Literature Data" on the homepage and search for "Syaman Rapongan." Here, you can explore further relationships extending from the first node.