Abstract

Abstract:

Starting in the 1990s, digital humanists have endeavored to create the "macroscope," a holistic research environment that allows for a flexible, multiscalar reading of large text corpora. Many macroscopes have since emerged, from fields as diverse as Danish folklore studies, English literary studies, and Chinese biographical studies. But in creating Silloker, we are the first to offer a "historian's macroscope" for premodern Korean chronicles. Silloker is a digital platform that opens creative avenues into studying Korea's Chosŏn dynasty (1392–1910). Its title takes after Chosŏn wangjo sillok ("Veritable Records of the Chosŏn Dynasty" 朝鮮王朝實錄), court annals that cover five centuries and topics as varied as diplomacy, economy, religion, quotidian life, and natural phenomena. For this archive and others—for example, Diaries of the Royal Secretariat 承政院日記 (Sŭngjŏngwŏn ilgi), Records of the Border Defense Council 備邊司謄錄 (Pibyŏnsa tŭngnok)—our platform features new search capacities and tools for exploratory data analysis. First, it allows users to make unified queries across multiple archives and download the search results. Second, it offers a tool for aggregating and graphing the frequency of search hits throughout the five-centuries long dynasty, generating real-time results in table and graph. This essay introduces Silloker, its functionalities, and data architecture. It then provides an example case study of the Little Ice Age in Korea to demonstrate the platform's utility for historical research.

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