I wonder why Richard Sears displays his images as 50x50 squares, while often they are in fact high rectangles. For example:
...is transformed on the original page¹ to:
Scaled to a similar size but in the original ratio it would be:
I’m pretty sure the rectangle variant has the correct ratio, comparing it to for example the images on the Chinese Text Project; also, Wiktionary uses this ratio. Surely Sears generates the pages automatically, so shouldn’t it be an easy fix? Or is it on purpose after all?
I contacted Richard Sears and he wrote that he hopes to deal with it some time in the future. I offered him to update the style for the images only, but he wants to update a lot of things at once apparently. Unfortunately he uses a version of Microsoft Visual Studio, which I know nothing about. I’m useless!
Update: things have changed since I wrote this post. Someone with more skills than I have has made a new website for Richard Sears. It’s located at http://hanziyuan.net/.
Weirdly, on the surface the graphs are still being compressed in squares... 😕 However, if you click on the magnifying glass below the image, you get a larger version in the proper ratio.
I think the new site as some more issues, but I won’t go into that. Except in saying this: As anybody who has browsed Richard Sears’s site can know², his approach hasn’t been very scientific; also there are errors and outdated choices; a better alternative is the site http://xiaoxue.iis.sinica.edu.tw/, which documents the sources more thoroughly and is more up to date in classifying the graphs according to the latest research.
Richard Sears was a pioneer in putting these kind of resources on the web, for which I am grateful. Even now, his website often shows more images for a given graph. However, there is now a growing number of websites that offer interesting information and resources on this topic. (Mon Aug 20 07:58:19 CEST 2018)
2. A quote from someone more knowledgeable than I am: “Academically speaking, chineseetymology.org is not very professional as its arrangement of Chinese characters is in disorder and therefore fails to present a timeline for a character’s development [...] And there are many errors in ancient classics that Richard Sears uses as references” (Guo Yongbing, a professor from the Research Center of Excavated Documents and Ancient Chinese Characters at Fudan University, source: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1003962.shtml).