The Cultural Revolution and the Red Guards.
Nat Pond: The Red Guard in the Cultural Revolution, Web Source Evaluation
The first site I stumbled across in my search for primary sources representing the Red Guard was a site for a documentary film about the Cultural Revolution. The first indicator that this was a reliable site was the credentials that the Long Bow Group (people who made the site and the film) had. They have more than thirteen documentary films to their credit, and have won many prestigious awards for them. On top of this their contact information- both normal address and e-mail addresses- was all over, clearly they were willing to stand behind anything on the site. The purpose for the site was clear right form the start, which was that it was a site representing a documentary film, a place where one could obtain both information regarding the film, and further information regarding the topic. This also led me to believe that he site was not very biased because they are representing a documentary film that strives to be unbiased itself. The documents themselves continue to provide all signs of a reliable source. Although the documents on the site are all transcribed, they give proper citation as to their origin. When I did a link search through Google I found that there were 284 links to it, signaling to me, that it was a good source of information. All in all I think that this would be an excellent source of information regarding the Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution, as well as the Cultural Revolution as a whole.
The next source I found by accident through a site regarding the appraisal and selling of Chairman Mao pins and badges from communist China. They had links to Red Guard and other songs from Cultural Revolution era China on the Wellesly College website. The site is maintained by the Political Science department of Wellesly College, though a specific name is not given aside from the general webmaster of the college website. Despite the absence of a specific author the website seems to be credible as it is from a reputable institution. The documents also do not seem to be geared toward some ultimate conclusion as there is no text accompanying them aside from their titles. The only disturbing element on this page is the absence of an explanation of each song, specifically the one I am looking at here “ We are Chairman Mao's Red Guards” many of the other songs have at least the lyrics written out in English, as well as their composers clearly credited. This source seems to be a bit less credible, but it contains very unique and interesting information.
Schools seem to have the biggest wealth of reliable information on the internet. The most reliable sites I found were mostly from colleges, and the next one was no exception. The Berkeley Center for Chinese Studies had a wealth of information, what I looked at was a clock with Red Guard images in it, aptly titled “Red Guard Alarm Clock”. The Site gave a nice description of the item, as well as a picture. The description mentioned the significance of the object as a way to literally “awaken the masses”. The purpose of this site is very clear, it is to provide a resource to those enrolled in the college, specifically in the Asian studies department. The source of this item is not clear, though it can be surmised that it was obtained in China during the Cultural Revolution. The source of the picture itself is Berkeley itself, as the object is in their collection. The format of this site is fairly clear, as it is a showcase of some items in possession of the Asian studies department at Berkeley. This source, however brief, appears to be quite reliable and authentic.
For my last source I tried to find non-university sponsored pages, which are a lot more prevalent, but tend to lack all the necessary criteria of a credible source. One of the good sites I found was the Cultural Revolution poster collection of Stefan Landsberger. He had quite a few posters from this era, and provided more than adequate background on himself, his poster-collecting hobby, and his credentials. He also gave an e-mail address for himself, showing that he would put himself behind the authenticity and credibility of both his posters and their captions. Though he didn’t provide precise sources where he got the posters from, he did provide their dates of issue and some background as to the symbolism, as well as the Chinese writing on them. The content of the page is fairly well organized, it goes through some of the major campaigns during the cultural Revolution, and the posters that went along with them. Many of these posters featured images of the Red Guard, and it proved to be a valuable peek into the communication that the party would have had with the people.
Lindsey Fritz: Web Evaluation Paper: China’s Cultural Revolution
When researching the Cultural Revolution of China on the internet a large number of sites become available at the researchers dispense. However after taking a closer look into many of the sites that are available within the search engine, one finds that not all the sites produced have good quality information or even relevant information. However after sifting through all the results produced by various search engines it was possible to find a select few that provide the researcher with accurate help. These select few sites were informative and creative, allowing the researcher to enjoy the website and also find quite a good deal of relevant information. These sites contained a manner of materials not limited to but including original documents, pictures, photographs, historical essays, and informed opinions.
The first website to be evaluated was http://www.cnd.org/CR/. This website is fantastic for research about the Cultural Revolution in China. This website is in sorts a museum , it is basically a collection of original documents written by those that lived during the revolution, historical accounts, interviews and also literary and artistic works. The creators of this website have named it The Virtual Museum of the “Cultural Revolution”. I must agree with them that it is in sorts quite a museum. The collections of documents and historical accounts are quite amazing. This however leads it to the one problem with using this site for research, many of the documents and other sources in this website are un-translated as of yet. Quite a few documents remain in the Chinese characters. For those of you who speak and read Chinese this is wonderful, but for those that don’t the creators are working to fix this, translating more and more of the documents into English. In the mean time I suggest using one of the many free translation websites that will change these documents into English with a couple of clicks of the mouse using “cut” and “paste”.
This Virtual Cultural Museum was built upon a proposal laid out by the Editorial Board of Hua Xia Wen Zhai. This and the .org indicate that this website was produced with the clear intention of providing information to the public on this topic as an organization. There is also a clear indication of who runs and produces the website, giving it credentials. There are places on the website that encourage comments and opinions that the researcher can read and they also encourage feed back from those that lived during the Revolution. This feed back at least seemingly gives the site an aura of being impartial. There are also clear indications of the purpose for this website and links that give reasons to its existence.
The content of this site is extremely organized and easy to navigate. It is also easily accessible. The only problem with accessing the information as I stated previously is that most of it remains in Chinese, however with the proper translation system the problem is easily rectified. There is no fee for this website which gives it extra points in my book.
The second website that I looked into and evaluated was http://www.morningsun.org. This website also like the first, provided much relevant information in the form of primary sources, images, artistic photos and even a documentary on the Cultural Revolution called The Morning Sun. The information that is accessible on this site is very good and easy to understand. There is also and element of creativity to the site which makes the research process interesting. This site is sponsored by a number of organizations. These organizations are clearly recognized by the creators of this site and seem to be important to it. There are also links that go to other websites that these organizations sponsor. This gives the site credibility and also a sense of clear purpose for administering information to the public about the Revolution.
The content of this website is clearly organized and explained. There are multiple links to the various places on the site, giving clear indication of where the researcher would be headed. The information is also clearly accessible, in the manner that it is clearly labeled and easy to navigate around the site. It is not easy to get lost in a string of documents and other sources in this site.
As far as my exploration of this site goes, I was not able to find a place where comments were welcome. It was not accessible to view what others thought of the website and there was not a designated place for viewer input. This site is also free of charge.
This web site http://www-chaos.umd.edu/history/toc.html is a site that deals strictly with compiled historical fact written in essay format. There is a vast collection of historical information on China here. There is an extensive bibliography to where the information was drawn from and seems to be extremely reliable. There are places to leave comments about the research and also to ask questions concerning the information. Also the author clearly indicates that he would appreciate any feedback and also would be readily available to answer any questions a fellow researcher might have.
The content of the site is clearly explained in the format of an outline and is nicely organized. It is easy to navigate to the information you wish to access. Also all of the information is clearly labeled and the pages are legible with clear explanations. This site is a definite source of historical facts concerning the Cultural Revolution. There is also no fee for this website, which makes it a valuable source.
The fourth and final website that I evaluated for the subject of the Cultural Revolution was http://kaladarshan.arts.ohio-state.edu/exhib/poster/exhibintro.html. This website is more for those that are interested in the propaganda posters that were issued during the Cultural Revolution. This site shows a number of different posters and has detailed explanations for each of them. The posters are vividly shown and are artistically laid out. This site is high on the credibility chart because it has numerous sponsors and also has clear indication of who wrote the explanations and who compiled the artwork.
The website is slightly difficult to navigate and the web design is somewhat impractical. Most everything is clearly labeled, however the organization is somewhat random and has little to no rhyme or reason. It is difficult to get to a specific place and also to find a particular poster, there is no way to search for what you are looking for. This website has no fee to access it.
After sifting through pages of results given by the random search engines online I was able to find a few sites that provided relevant information to the topic at hand. It is easy to get lost in numbers of sites that result from the search, but using a few simple evaluating techniques helps sort the bad ones from the good. Evaluating web sites helps to accurately obtain information that can be relied upon and used in research.
Bai, Tu /Xinmin, Hua Virtual Museum of Cultural Revolution. 2000. China News Digest International, INC. 17 Nov. 2004. http://www.cnd.org/CR/english/
Evans, Harriet/ Wasserstrom, Jeffery Picturing Power: Posters of the Cultural Revolution . 1999. Ohio State University. 17. Nov. 2004.
Poon, Leon History of China. 2003. Maryland Chaos Group. 17 Nov. 2004.
N/A The Morning Sun. 2001. Long Bow Group, INC. 17 Nov. 2004. http://www.morningsun.org/index.html