Sources in the digital age -馬馬虎虎

Particularly as I work on the visual culture of aviation (one of my current projects) I am getting both encouraged and discouraged about the state of sources in the New Era. You can find all sorts of cool stuff, but often in unusable or unstable forms. (not a revelation, I know.) Two examples (not involving old photos of airplanes)

Here is a map I used in my Modern Japan class, showing the Boxer uprising (one of Japan’s first internationalist adventures)

I found it here

via a google image search. Its a nice looking map, with a lot of information, and an impressive degree of specificity. The image says it is copyright Australian National University, but there the trail runs cold. I can’t find it via a google reverse image search (which seems to be getting worse over time), so if I wanted to publish it, or more likely trust it more when I teach about the Boxers in a China class, I am out of luck, unless I ask around on Facebook. More access, less solid sourcing.1

Here is another image, from this very blog, showing Chinese exports to the US in 1976.

the blog post (link below) discusses how you can use to generate images to talk about the changing trade relations between China and the U.S. Could I make up a similar set of images to talk about Japan- U.S. trade for this semester? Well I could have then, but the site is apparently now paywalled, has dropped a lot of the historical data and/or no longer updating. The print archive was never as stable as it promised, but the digital archive seems to be even worse.

Teaching export-led growth

  1. I think the scholarly world is picking up on this a bit. I recently used an old Chinese cigarette ad. The citation I gave (and that the journal was fine with) was

    Shanghai cigarette advertisement, Fuxin Tobacco Co., 1935.
    This is an image that appears in many on-line and printed collections of Chinese
    advertisements. A version of it can be found at <http://www.confuciusinstitute.>  


    1. Thanks! For some reason Google Images (my only way of finding pictures) was not finding it. How did you find it?

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