China and Inner Asia

Organized Panel Session

1 - Convergence or Divergence? Mapping the Landscape of Chinese Nongovernmental Organizations

Friday, March 23
12:45 PM - 2:45 PM
Location: Roosevelt Room 1, Exhibit Level

How the presence or lack of direct Internet communication shapes or separates communities of organizations is largely unknown, particularly in China’s highly-regulated online environment. Our project aims at collecting, storing and analyzing the website and social media content of grassroots Chinese NGOs between 2014 to 2024 to illustrate the digital landscape of Chinese NGOs. The complexity of this project makes it an ideal test case to explore how to build interdisciplinary collaborations across specializations in humanities, social sciences, and engineering.

     In this article, we examine the work of Stanford Library and the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society as organizers, navigators, expositors, mobilizers and change agents curating this collection. The project faced major challenges due to limited funding, unstable personnel, and a lack of an existing working model. Utilizing its unique position within the university, the Library worked closely with the founding faculty member to conduct fundraising campaigns in both China and the United States, rally organizational support from multiple academic and administrative units, and advocate for more attention and resources to be dedicated to Chinese-character-based digital tools. This process generated a unique partnership between the university, private foundations, and a larger web archiving community to explore a cost-effective approach to collecting, cataloging, and managing digital resources. We highlight the significance of joint efforts between librarians and scholars in bridging the gap between different domains and developing more resources for digital Chinese Studies. 

Zhaohui Xue

Stanford University, California

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Yan Long

Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana

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