Detailed Tables from the Dutch Census 1947: Experiences and Lessons Learned in Publishing a Large Dataset

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Since the end of the nineties, Dutch census publications have been digitized and made available for digital processing. New analyses of the data were presented in some fruitful conferences in the first decade of this century. In addition to the census publications, a mass of detailed census data was found in dossiers and so-called “transparencies” in the archive of Statistics Netherlands. Most of that material was scanned into digital images, awaiting further content conversion into numeric data. In the present article, the authors describe the process of digitizing the detailed tables of the Dutch Population and Occupational Censuses held in 1947, which is the first set of detailed census data that is made available in a digitally processible form. They give an example of historical analyses made possible by this dataset. Moreover, they take these census data as an example of preparing and publishing a large dataset. Experiences and lessons learned in the process lead to ample opportunities for further analysis of the data and for efficient ways to accomplish the content conversion of the many remaining images of census data.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalResearch Data Journal for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • large dataset
  • census data
  • Netherlands
  • 1947
  • data-entry
  • versioning
  • documentation method
  • preferred format
  • CSV-text files


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