The Danish Sinologist Vibeke Børdahl is a recognised specialist of vernacular Chinese literature from the Ming-Qing periods and the art of storytelling that stems from this literary tradition. Since the 1980s she has carried out significant work in China collecting written, audio and audio-visual materials and has gathered a considerable amount of data on a dedicated site called “Chinese Storytelling” (
Despite its great value, the website is developing slowly and with difficulty, because of a number of technical problems encountered over the past few years as well as a lack of institutional support, which is threatening the conservation of a collection of documents that is today unique in the West.
This situation brought Vibeke Børdahl to seek international collaborations, especially European, which would allow her to provide this archive with a new framework and secure its further development.
Rainier Lanselle, specialised in Chinese literature from the same period, proposed to help carry out this transfer in the form of a European cross-institutional partnership, which would allow this collection of documents to become part of the CRCAO projects and to benefit from the CRCAO’s expertise and technical resources in terms of database development.
The database in its current form is experiencing a number of problems that are typical of digital projects built in the past fifteen years, namely that they are founded on technological choices that are now outdated; correcting these is both time-consuming and requires complex expertise.
The CRCAO has the means to take charge of this database transfer.
The transfer would allow the creation of a new wide-ranging tool in the field of traditional storytelling in China and would give visibility to a research tool that is unique in terms of both its textual and multimedia components.
The preparatory phase of the partnership over the course of 2018, will consist in establishing the terms of the partnership and in contacting institutions that would be in a position to financially support its development. Some options are already being examined to this effect, namely with the Chiang Ching-kouo Foundation, the Zhongshan University of Canton, as well as the University of Chicago.
The development phase would consist in creating an entirely new database, involving its complete technical redesign. This supposes rethinking its whole interface as well as its target audience. The aim is to include contributions relating to this research field in several countries, European as well as Asian and American.

Scientific output (publications) and planned scientific activities

Migration, redesign and reorganisation of the database now available on the website:
The database includes rich documentation on Chinese oral literature, especially in the Yangzhou storytelling tradition.



history of texts written and oral literatures philology



Rainier Lanselle (École Pratique des Hautes Études)

CRCAO member

Full members
Rainier Lanselle (École Pratique des Hautes Études)

Participant hors laboratoire

Vibeke Børdahl (Senior Researcher, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS), Copenhagen University)