This article conveys the vision of a world-historical dataset, constructed in order to provide data on human social affairs at the global level over the past several centuries. The construction of this dataset will allow the routine application of tools developed for analyzing “Big Data” to global, historical analysis. The work is conducted by the Collaborative for Historical Information and Analysis (CHIA). This association of groups at universities and research institutes in the U.S. and Europe includes five groups funded by the National Science Foundation for work to construct infrastructure for collecting and archiving data on a global level. The article identifies the elements of infrastructure-building, shows how they are connected, and sets the project in the context of previous and current efforts to build large-scale historical datasets. The project is developing a crowd-sourcing application for ingesting and documenting data, a broad and flexible archive, and a “data hoover” process to locate and gather historical datasets for inclusion. In addition, the article identifies four types of data and analytical questions to be explored through this data resource, addressing development, governance, social structure, and the interaction of social and natural variables.
Zadorozhny, V., Manning, P., Bain, D. J., & Mostern, R. (2013). Collaborative for Historical Information and Analysis: Vision and Work Plan. Journal of World-Historical Information, 1(1), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.5195/jwhi.2013.2