Building a Data API for Historical Research

We are in the process of building out a data API to support the data work we’re undertaking with the transcription of the plague bills. We anticipate hundreds of thousands of rows of data by the end of our transcription process, and we wanted an easy and efficient way to work with that data. As part of our work in data-driven historical research at RRCHNM, we are building a data API to store and access data from databases. Following the process of transforming the DataScribe transcriptions into tidy data, the resulting data is uploaded to a PostgreSQL database where we can take advantage of relational connections among the different datasets we’ve compiled.  The advantage of having our data structured this way is we can keep our data consistent (PostgreSQL enforces strongly-typed data) and we can more easily combine data into different configurations based on what […]

Visualizing the Bills of Mortality

One of the ways we are using the transcribed bills of mortality is in data visualization and mapping, in an effort to ask new questions and revisit old ones. At the Southern History Association’s annual meeting in Baltimore, we presented preliminary work on data visualization and the data API. An interactive notebook on this early work is available on Observable for perusal (note, the page may take a moment to load the 100,000+ records). You may also make a copy of this notebook to your own Observable account to edit.