The logical next step in this development is to link all existing European datasets in a common format – the so-called Intermediate Data Structure (IDS) – in order to transcend the currently regional and national studies. By establishing the European Historical Population Samples Network (EHPS-Net) we aim to
- Create a discussion forum;
- Realize an integrated and joint interface between the many European datasets containing information on individual persons, families and households in the past;
- Stimulate the further development of databases especially in those parts of Europe where these kind of databases are scarce (East and South East Europe).
New and existing databases brought together will allow us to study regional diversity and similarity in the life course experiences of all Europeans. Interest from non-European colleagues leads us to expect the format to become the standard for all historical life course datasets in the world. Researchers from many disciplines will be given access through a network of distributed databases. Thus, the aim of the IDS is not to replace the individual databases by some central database, but rather to provide a common format for accessing datasets which are structured in the same way.
In this project we:
- Describe the logic and methods associated with the integration of a great number of European databases;
- Demonstrate the unique analytical power associated with the complex dimensionality of these European data;
- Elaborate the existing opportunities for and advantages of comparative analysis between several sites;
- Outline a plan for integrating the European data for the purposes of cross-national and cross-regional comparison;
- Develop an agenda for the investigation of some of the most important substantive questions in the fields of historical demography and family sociology, questions that resonate with a number of crucial contemporary issues (e.g. social mobility and immigrant incorporation);
- Set forth a concrete plan for the development of the organizational infrastructure for the promotion and support of European demographic-historical studies.