Population Reconstruction

  • Gerrit Bloothooft
  • Peter Christen
  • Kees Mandemakers
  • Marijn Schraagen

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Data Quality: Cleaning and Standardization

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Ivo Zandhuis, Menno den Engelse, Edward Mac Gillavry
      Pages 23-41
    3. Graham Kirby, Jamie Carson, Fraser Dunlop, Chris Dibben, Alan Dearle, Lee Williamson et al.
      Pages 43-60
    4. Gerrit Bloothooft, Marijn Schraagen
      Pages 61-83
  3. Record Linkage and Validation

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 85-85
    2. Julia Efremova, Bijan Ranjbar-Sahraei, Hossein Rahmani, Frans A. Oliehoek, Toon Calders, Karl Tuyls et al.
      Pages 129-154
    3. Gunnar Thorvaldsen, Trygve Andersen, Hilde L. Sommerseth
      Pages 155-171
    4. Kleanthi Georgala, Benjamin van der Burgh, Marvin Meeng, Arno Knobbe
      Pages 173-195
  4. Life Course Reconstruction

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 299-302

About this book


This book addresses the problems that are encountered, and solutions that have been proposed, when we aim to identify people and to reconstruct populations under conditions where information is scarce, ambiguous, fuzzy and sometimes erroneous.

The process from handwritten registers to a reconstructed digitized population consists of three major phases, reflected in the three main sections of this book. The first phase involves transcribing and digitizing the data while structuring the information in a meaningful and efficient way. In the second phase, records that refer to the same person or group of persons are identified by a process of linkage. In the third and final phase, the information on an individual is combined into a reconstruction of their life course.

The studies and examples in this book originate from a range of countries, each with its own cultural and administrative characteristics, and from medieval charters through historical censuses and vital registration, to the modern issue of privacy preservation. Despite the diverse places and times addressed, they all share the study of fundamental issues when it comes to model reasoning for population reconstruction and the possibilities and limitations of information technology to support this process.

It is thus not a single discipline that is involved in such an endeavor. Historians, social scientists, and linguists represent the humanities through their knowledge of the complexity of the past, the limitations of sources, and the possible interpretations of information. The availability of big data from digitized archives and the need for complex analyses to identify individuals calls for the involvement of computer scientists. With contributions from all these fields, often in direct cooperation, this book is at the heart of the digital humanities, and will hopefully offer a source of inspiration for future investigations.


Big Data Computer Applications in Humanities Data Matching Demography History Information Retrieval Population Informatics

Editors and affiliations

  • Gerrit Bloothooft
    • 1
  • Peter Christen
    • 2
  • Kees Mandemakers
    • 3
  • Marijn Schraagen
    • 4
  1. 1.Utrecht UniverstyUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.The Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  3. 3.International Inst. of Social HistoryAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Leiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

Bibliographic information