Ling long, which means "elegant and fine", was published in Shanghai from 1931 to 1937 during a time of dramatic social and political change. With articles on films, furniture, fashion, marriage, and "the girl of today," it provides a rare document of the lives and aspirations of Chinese women during the Republican era (1912-1949). As scholarly interest in this period has grown over the past two decades, the use of Columbia’s print copies of this rare and fragile publication has continued to increase. In 1997, to help address growing user demand, Columbia microfilmed its Ling long holdings and, with the help of a grant from the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, digitized and published the collection on the Web.
Columbia’s online version covers 244 issues spanning the journal's seven year run, with 14,881 digitized page images, 586 of which were contributed to the project in 2005 by the University of Heidelberg.
The original Ling long site was developed in 1997 by Rob Cartolano of Columbia’s Academic Information Services (now CUIT) and Amy Heinrich, Director of the Starr East Asian Library. Scanning of Columbia content was managed by the Columbia’s Preservation and Digital Conversion Division.
The Ling long site was enlarged and enhanced in 2005 by the Libraries Digital Program Division with the assistance of Columbia Digital Knowledge Ventures.
The new Web site features a digital version of the magazine’s run based on the C. V. Starr East Asian Library’s extensive Ling long print collection, one of the most complete outside China, along with significant new content recently contributed by the University of Heidelberg. The site now also includes newly-prepared essays on relevant historical and cultural issues to provide additional context for this remarkable publication.