Data to the People: A Community Historical Data Project

Eve Snyder, HistoryForge, The History Center in Tompkins County (Ithaca, NY)

HistoryForge is an open-source local history platform which engages community members in the creation and use of community-level datasets of historic U.S. population censuses. These records contain important information about the individuals and families of a community, as well as the larger social and economic context in which they lived. Despite their value, the public and non-specialist scholars can only engage with a small fraction of the information in the census through traditional public access methods. Enter HistoryForge, a platform which enables the public to explore census data. Community volunteers transcribe the census into searchable census datasets. While they do so they also use local resources like city directories to clean the data. The census records in HistoryForge are georeferenced and linked to building records which can be mapped onto current or historical maps. In 2022 we added an additional layer of linked data: person authority records which link an individual’s census records to each other during the time they lived in that community (town or county), they also can hold photographs and additional historical information and resources about that person. This paper discusses HistoryForge, our methodologies and challenges.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 68. New Historical Data Infrastructure II