Welcome to Historical Life Courses

The historical community is fortunate to have a growing number of large-scale, public databases of life histories from the past.  Worldwide about fifty databases have constructed integrating data of life course events into life histories. These data are gathered from sources such as civil certificates, church registers and population registers. At the moment, more and more databases based on census-data are becoming longitudinal by linking the results of different censuses into life course data. For an overview of existing databases and their content see here.

Working with this kind of data is not an easy task. The aim of this collaboratory is to bring together the main users, developers and administrators of databases with historical life courses. In this collaboratory, besides providing information and exchanging opinions, we work to create common data structures and software.  

Common software is realized by building a data structure, the so-called Intermediate Data Structure (IDS) in which all historical longitudinal databases can transfer and document their data. On the basis of this IDS, software will be developed in the second phase of the project to disseminate the data in a comparable way.

We meet and discuss proposals and progress at dedicated workshops and within the framework of the annual Social Science History Association conference (SSHA) and the biannual European Social Science History Conference (ESSHC).

To become a member click on the "become a member" entry in the menu on the left side of this page.