The last thirty years more and more researchers have transformed routinely-generated primary sources into machine-readable data. Especially in the field of historical demography more and more datasets were developed. These datasets were not only constructed for individual research reasons, some of them turned into rather big institutionalised databases which data are used by a growing number of researchers for various topics such as fertility, mortality, social mobility, family studies etc.
The course has two goals. The first one is to teach researchers how to structure the historical sources they want to explore. This will be done by introducing two methods of data structuring: Entity Relationship Design and Normalisation. After a theoretical introduction students will do information analysis on their own historical sources. By discussing the results students will learn what the best solutions are in structuring their historical sources.
The second goal is to teach students best practices of handling this kind of historical data culminating into the introduction and explanation of the Intermediate Data Structure (IDS). Students will convert the data structures of their own historical data into the IDS by way of mapping practices. By discussing the results the student will learn to locate the pitfalls in converting conventional database structures into the IDS-structure.
This three day course is meant for researchers exploiting new historical sources who want to work in a structured, systematic and sustainable way. The course will be given by prof. Kees Mandemakers at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam, 12-14 January 2015. Maximum number of students will be 12, subscription by way of a motivation letter and CV before the 14th of November 2014 (write to Marja Koster: firstname.lastname@example.org). A skype interview may be part of the admission procedure. The course is free, small grants are available covering part of travel and accommodation.