The Aggregate Dutch Historical Censuses

Ashkan Ashkpour, Albert Meroño-Peñuela, Kees Mandemakers

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Historical censuses have an enormous potential for research. In order to fully use this potential, harmonization of these censuses is essential. During the last decades, enormous efforts have been undertaken in digitizing the published aggregated outcomes of the Dutch historical censuses (1795-1971). Although the accessibility has been improved enormously, researchers must cope with hundreds of heterogeneous and disconnected Excel tables. As a result, the census is still for the most part an untapped source of information. The authors describe the main harmonization challenges of the census and how they work toward one harmonized dataset. They propose a specific approach and model in creating an interlinked census dataset in the Semantic Web using the Resource Description Framework technology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-245
Number of pages16
JournalHistorical Methods
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2015


  • harmonization
  • historical censuses
  • historical demography
  • RDF
  • Semantic Web
  • social and economic history


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