THL Toolbox > Places & Geography > THL Place Encyclopedia Extensions > Contemporary Administrative Units
Contributor(s): David Germano
This template is intended to provide a structured way to describe administrative units from a first order division such as a state in the USA or a province in China all the way down to the smallest of administrative units, such as a township in China. The template does not repeat standard descriptive fields in the place dictionary - name, location, etc. Thus the proper procedure is to first make a standard THL Place Dictionary entry for the administrative unit in question, and then use this set of guidelines to make richer descriptive information.
For administrative units, we try to create a standardized overview in the Place Dictionary which follows a common structure and sequence of topics (one page or less in length). These are all simply short references to orient a reader, while any extensive detail would go in the short essays described below. But if you do nothing else, this short overview is essential!
- opening sentence or two that points to the most interesting and prominent features of the unit to attract people's attention
- location in terms of larger administrative units that contains it, and in general how one gets there
- reference to the cultural groups/ethnicities that live there.
- reference to major social organization (agrarian, nomadic, urban, etc.) and economy and general population level
- if it contains other administrative units, make reference to the next smaller level and how many of them there are, as well as any specific reference to the most important, including the most important cities or towns. Make sure to identify the administrative seat.
- prominent landmarks, cultural or natural, in the region
- reference to any prominent cultural traditions in the region, including any famous events (horse races, sacred dances, etc.)
- reference to the general ecology and flora/fauna of the region
- reference to general climate
These are the possible specialized topics that you may or m
Talking in a synthetic fashion about the geography of the region, including the location of passes, etc. Description of physical features of the terrain – ranges, geology, terrain.
The location of roads, or other transportation systems, including paths, etc., as well as most common ways people travel there. Trading routes, transportation routes, pilgrimage routes, hiking trails; yaks, horseback, motor roads, railroads, etc.
Modern infrastructure - bridges, roads, dams, airports, communication systems, railways, irrigation canals, water supply, electricity.
A history of the administrative unit, including possibly a timeline of important events. Include famous figures from the region, or operative in the region. This includes a history of things that happened in this geographical region, regardless of whether it was during the time of the existence of the current administrative unit as such.
Population numbers, livelihoods - Farming, pastoralism, and trading; Commodities & Trading - Natural resources, products, goods traded.
Marriage, songs, dress, etc.; Artisan and Craft Traditions; Architecture.
Important annual events, including horse races, festivals, sacred mask dancing, etc.
General number of people, ethnicities, and languages/dialects in the region.
The types of sects dominant in the area, famous religious figures, etc.
Vegetation (rtsi shing); Animal life (srog chags); Discuss climate according to region, if the place classification is relatively broad with different climate categories, precipitation levels, etc.
Rivers, mountains, mountain passes, famed natural areas, river valleys, glaciers, lakes.
Important cities and villages, as well as contained smaller administrative units
Sacred sites, pilgrimage sites, important historical sites, ruins.
If you are interested, we also welcome a special description of the township in related to tourism. Tell us why you think tourists might be interested to visit, interests the local residents have in tourism and any special programs or facilities they offer for tourists, as well as any concerns there might be amongst local residents about tourism. For additional information on doing a rapid assessment of a site's tourism-related potential, capacity, needs, and dangers, see the THL Tourism Site Assessment Tool.
Compile a bibliography of relevant primary and secondary resources - books, articles, web sites, videos, maps, etc.