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34.3 - Social Bookkeeping

Special Issue
HSR Vol. 34 (2009) No. 3: Special Issue: Social Bookkeeping Data

Nina Baur (Ed.): Social Bookkeeping Data: Data Quality and Data Management

Social bookkeeping data are one of the oldest data sources for historical and social research. While they resemble survey data in many ways, they also raise specific methodological problems, as the researcher does not control data production. Instead, societal and institutional filters influence which data are produced in what way and if and how data are stored. Accordingly, in the 1970s and 1980s, there has been an intense discussion on data quality and data management of public administrational data in German historical research. While the use of social bookkeeping data in research practice has increased in recent years, the methodological debate strangely lacks behind this development.

This special issue thus aims at re-opening the discussion on social bookkeeping data and at linking it to modern methodological discourse. Major issues to be tackled today are (a) data lore and measurement quality; (b) data selection and sampling problems; (c) archiving and statistical programmes and (d) data preparation.