December 9th 2016 meeting

December 9th 2016 meeting

Attending : Sid Ahmed Benabderrahmane, Julien Brault, Loïc Charles, Bruno Chavez, Guillaume Daudin, Ivan Ledezma, Matthias Loise, Nada Mimouni, Florence Perret, Guillaume Plique, Timothy Yeung
Five members of the group « Governance Analytics » (( were attending to discuss possible collaboration
. Post-doc en informatique. Governance analytics. Technologie du web sémantique pour présenter les textes juridiques français. / Bruno Chavez sur Governance Analytics. Immergé à Dauphine, mettre en commun en informatique, traitement des statistiques et économétrie pour appuyer des recherches originales pour PSL. Projet porté deux prof à Dauphine. / Julien Pro post-doc d’économie en histoire analytique / Fiio / Timoty économiste / Ledezma prof à Dijon économiste du commerce / Guillaume Plique.

# Datascape
Paul told us that he solved the bug linked to multiple-criteria request in the « Term Network». It has not been put in production yet.

# Guillaume Plique
Guillaume will be able to work with us between two and three months starting mid-January.
He will probably work part-time, meaning he will be with us till at least mid-May and maybe till mid-July.
# WEHC 2018
The session including hands-on utilisation of the datascape has been rejected. Maybe we will organise a one without the hands-on session, but including Alain Bresson and David Schloen.
We were encouraged to re-submit the other session. We have to re-write the introduction
Re-rédiger l’autre. Réécrire le blurp. Et qui mettre dedans exactement.
## Governance analytics
We have a long discussion about possible collaboration between the Governance Analytics team and TOFLIT18.

Toflit18 has a pressing need for design and development capacities. We have the skill for the data analysis.

It has been very interesting to learn about all the things that are done by Governance Analytics. It is a bit more difficult to see the possible complementarities.

We discuss the ontology of goods following Nada Mimouni’s work. That would be especially useful if we were to work on a multilingual database.

We also discuss temporal graphs with Sid Ahmed Benabderrahmane. This is interesting for some other projects of the Medialab.

Julien Brault is also working on 18th century economic history, as he is looking at the activities of the Conseil du Commerce. The thematic link with Toflit18 is easy to make.

The call for project will take place every six months.

## Future fundings
The only thing we really need future funding for is hosting and archiving.

An ERC funding seems out of reach. Maybe an «infrastructure» project (European Research Infrastructures ? ? Or a cooperative ANR project ?

## 2017 Conference
We will have the final two-day conference of the project next Fall (October ? November ?). Our plan is to organise a scientific committee and an open call with the theme «International trade and the economy, 1600-1870».
It will be followed by a half day closed workshop to discuss further developments.

The conference will be focused on
1. The use of international trade statistics to study economies for which few primary economic series are available.
2. The study of early international trade mechanisms

We look forward to have interpretative papers using Toflit18 data presented by the team. As the database is now in a very advanced stage (but not complete), we will endeavour to help those who have an idea for a paper and want to explore its feasibility by organising a workshop in late winter or early spring to discuss their ideas and provide guidance in the use of the database.

Ivan, Guillaume and Loïc discuss what they can do at this occasion.
This is your last occasion to benefit from the collective means (and minds) of the project. We sincerely hope that you will welcome this research opportunity.

November 2nd 2016 meeting

Meeting Toflit18 – 11/02/2016

Attending : Loïc Charles, Guillaume Daudin, Béatrice Dedinger, Paul Girard, Florence Perret

1- Feedback on Chicago’s workshop

The workshop went really well, the project made a very positive impression on the audience.

Paul Girard really appreciated his discussion with Professor James Evans, from the Computational Social Science workshop. He latter contacted him about methodological issues such as the measurements of graph’s spatialization’s quality.

Meeting Yves Gingras and John Padgett was a boon to all of us.

Loïc Charles met with David Schloen from the Ochre meta-project (, which enables the creation of query software with data emanating from ancient texts, tablets and various goods. In order to question the database more efficiently, and also due to the fact that ancient languages do not isolate each words, each letter is an observation in the database. David Schloen thought that Toflit18 and Ochre have similar methodological principles as they were both created in order to fit many types of research and create a space where researchers could compare their data and results with each others with as much flexibility as possible.

David Schloen also work with Alain Bresson, who focuses on the circulation of currencies throughout the Ancient Greek world. They will organize together a conference at the Paris branch of the University of Chicago in 2018. They want to do two conferences back to back : one on ancient history and another one, methodological, on the use of innovative databases in history. The latter one will include projects that deal with data acquisition integration, analysis, publication and archiving. He offered to give a spot to TOFLIT18 in that conference (paying all costs), along with other pre-statistic era data-related projects (Ochre, Alain Bresson’s, John Padgett’s and Toflit18).

2- Boston

Paul Girard also went to Boston and met with members of the MIT medialab and the Harvard metalab at Berckman Center. He insisted on the similarity of their methodological issues with those of Toflit18. He remarked on the lack of integration of inputs from social scientists at the MIT medialab.

3- Leipzig

Guillaume Daudin presented the STRO conference in Leipzig and discussed the depth of collaboration between historians and IT researchers.

4- DH 2017

We missed the deadline. We discuss future papers with Paul: one for (hopefully) Digital Humanities Quarterly presenting the data transforming chain and one on the national and local effect of the loss of Canada for a economic history journal.

Related other papers in DHQ are :

5- The next meeting is on december 9th, 9:15am at the Médialab.

Matthias Loise

Nous accueillons avec plaisir Matthias Loise qui sera stagiaire quatre mois dans l’équipe. Il commencera par faire des retranscriptions (mais comme nous arrivons au bout de celle-ci, sans doute n’y passera-t-il pas quatre mois)

« Actuellement en césure après un Master 1 Affaires Internationales et Développement majeure économie, c’est avec enthousiasme que je rejoins l’équipe TOFLIT18 pour quelques mois. Préparant un Master 2 en Economie Internationale, mais n’ayant pour le moment pas de projet professionnel précis, ce stage représente une opportunité de découvrir le monde de la recherche et d’ainsi me permettre de voir si celui-ci me correspond. De plus, mon cursus universitaire ayant beaucoup été tourné vers l’économie internationale, participer à l’étude qu’effectue l’équipe TOFLIT18 se mêle parfaitement à mon parcours et devrait selon toute vraisemblance s’avérer être une expérience très intéressante et très enrichissante.»


Florence Perret

Welcome to Florence Perret. She will do at least a one-day-a-week internship during the first term. She might decide to stay longer.

« As a history student on my second year of Master degree at the University of Paris- Saclay/Versailles-Saint Quentin, I am currently working on a Master thesis that focuses on the consumption of exotic goods in 18th century Versailles. Considering the theme of this Master thesis, this internship is a real chance for me to learn the basics of academic research in an area that matches my personal interest. Even though my own research is mostly dedicated to social and cultural history, this experience is an opportunity to consider the external commercial trade of 18th century France, and thus, a possibility to familiarize myself with economic history. But, more importantly, this internship will provide me a familiarity with necessary tools and methods such as the creation of a database or the classification of terms and items. This knowledge will be particularly convenient as I consider continuing my research in the following years. I really hope my participation will also benefit TOFLIT18 and help managing the information contained in the database. »



October 26th-28th meeting in Leipzig

Guillaume Daudin was very happy to participate to the international conference:

Transport statistics in pre- and early industrial economic history: The challenges and opportunities of Sound Toll Registers Online 

in Leipzig on October 26th to 28th.


Here is Guillaume’s presentation :


Here is the program:

Wednesday 26.10.2016 (seminar building, room 420)

18:15 – 18:25

Prof. Dr. Manfred Rudersdorf, Dean of the Faculty of History, Art and Oriental Studies (Universität Leipzig)

18:25 – 18:30

Prof. Dr. Markus A. Denzel, Chair of Social and Economic History (Universität Leipzig)

18:30 – 19:30 hrs

Keynote on The Baltic Sea as Realm of Memory

Prof. Dr. Michael North (Ernst-Moritz-Arndt Universität, Greifswald, Germany)

19:30 –


Thursday 27.10.2016 (GWZ, room 3.215) Introduction

09:00 – 09:45 hrs

The electronic database of the Sound Toll Registers: current state and future potential

Dr. Jan Willem Veluwenkamp (University of Groningen, The Netherlands)

09:45 – 10:00 hrs


Coffee break

Section 1: 10:00 – 11:30 hrs: Theoretical and methodological issues

Discussant: Dr. Jan Willem Veluwenkamp

10:00 – 10:45 hrs

Generating transport statistics based on pre- and early industrial shipping registers: a methodological outline using the example of the Sound Toll Registers Online

Dr. Werner Scheltjens (Universität Leipzig, Germany)

10:45 – 11:30 hrs


The role of transportation in pre- and early industrial commercial history: some theoretical considerations

Prof. Dr. Markus A. Denzel (Universität Leipzig, Germany)

Section 2: 11:45 – 13:15 hrs: Regional patterns of integration through transport and trade

Discussant: Prof Dr. Gelina Harlaftis

11:45 – 12:30 hrs Long-distance circular trade between Northern and Southern Europe

Dr. Magnus Ressel (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Germany)


12:30 – 13:15 hrs The emergence of Finnish long-distance transport (1700-1850)

Prof. Dr. Jari Ojala (University of Jyväskylä, Finland) 13:15 – 14:45 hrs Lunch

Section 3: 15:00 – 17:15 hrs: STRO and the British industrial revolution

Discussant: Prof. Dr. Jari Ojala

15:00 – 15:45 hrs

British shipping to the Baltic seen from London and Elsinore

Prof. Dr. Peter Solar (Free University of Brussels, Belgium)

15:45 – 16:30 hrs

„Ghost acreage“ calculations based on STRO and their contribution to the Great Divergence-Debate

Dr. Klas Rönnback (University of Gothenburg, Sweden) and Dimitrios Theodoridis MA (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)

16:30 – 17:15 hrs



Hemp and Flax exports from the Baltic and their role in the British industrial revolution

Dr. Arne Solli (University of Bergen, Norway)

Roundtable discussion

17:15 – 18:00 hrs The aims and purposes of a scientific committee for promoting STRO- based research

Prof. Dr. Markus A. Denzel & Dr. Werner Scheltjens 19:00 – Dinner

Friday 28 October 2016 (GWZ, room 1.416)

Section 4: 09:30 – 11:45 hrs: STRO and historical database projects: common issues, shared opportunities (1)

Discussant: Dr. Werner Scheltjens

09:30 – 10:15 hrs

Greek shipping statistics and the Sound Toll Registers Online: A comparative analysis of issues and chances of ‘manipulating’ historical maritime data sets

Prof. Dr. Gelina Harlaftis (Ionian University, Greece)

10:15 – 11:00 hrs

The contribution of STRO to the database of French external trade statistics (1716-1821)

Prof. Dr. Guillaume Daudin (Université Dauphine, France)

11:00 – 11:45 hrs

Danube Customs Registers and STRO: A Comparative Analysis of Opportunities and Challenges of Online Databases

Dr. Peter Rauscher (Universität Wien, Austria) & Mag. Andrea Serles (Universität Wien, Austria)

11:45 – 12:00 hrs

Short coffee break

Closing discussion

12:00 – 12:45 hrs

Dr. Werner Scheltjens

October 14th 2016 Chicago meeting

Loïc Charles, Guillaume Daudin, Paul Girard, Silvia Marzagalli, Guillaume Plique will participate to a workshop in the  Neubauer Collegium at Chicago University. Here is the program.


From Quantitative to Qualitative Analysis: New Perspectives on Research in Social History

Friday, October 14
9:30 am – 4:45 pm

Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society
5701 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60637

This one-day workshop brings together historians and digital humanities specialists who are working building novel kinds of datasets and putting them to a variety of uses. It aims at discussing the creative use of large databases in the context of interdisciplinary projects with a focus on those exploring historical social and economic data in their quantitative and qualitative dimension simultaneously. We will showcase various methods currently in use (or in development) that go beyond traditional
quantitative methods in order to analyse and visualise data in revealing ways.

A conference of the The French Republic and the Plantation Economy: Saint-Domingue, 1794-1803


9:30-10:00 Coffee and Welcome, Paul Cheney (The University of Chicago)

10:00-10:45 Jo Guldi (History, Southern Methodist University), “On the Interpretation of History by Squiggle: Visualizing Change Beyond the N-Gram”; Chair: Elizabeth Chaterjeee (The University of Chicago)

10:45-11:30 Yves Gingras, (History, Université du Quebec à Montreal) “How Bibliometric Methods Can Map the Global Structure and Dynamics of Science from the 17th to the 21st Century”; Chair: Michael Rossi (The University of Chicago)

Coffee Pause

11:45-12:30 Loïc Charles (Economics, Université de Paris-8) and Guillaume Daudin (Economics, Université de Paris Dauphine), “Mapping the World of Eighteenth-Century Commodities with a Multidimensional Database”; Chair: Paul Cheney (The University of Chicago)

12:30-1:45 Lunch

1:45-2:30 Paul Maneuvrier-Hervieu (History, Université de Caen), « Using and publishing a database: the benefits of XML format for an historical research on food riots in the Eighteenth Century »; Chair: Allan Potofsky (University of Paris-7)

Coffee Pause

2:30-3:15 Silvia Marzagalli (History, Université de Nice), “Visualizing Early Modern Trade: the Navigocorpus”; Chair: Alain Bresson (The University of Chicago)

3:30-4:15 Paul Girard (Médialab, Sciences Po, Paris) and Guillaume Plique (Médialab, Sciences Po, Paris), “Organizing the Reversible Chain of Transformations: from Trade Statistics records to Datascapes”; Chair: Loïc Charles (University of Paris-8)

4:15-4:45 Roundtable

Cosponsored by the Franke Institute for the Humanities and the France Chicago Center.

September 16th 2016 meeting report

We had a great workshop on September 16th. The program and all the presentations are available here: You can see below a quick report on the meeting,

“Classifying international trade before 1945”

Location: Sciences Po (Paris)

Marc Badia, Leslie Bermont, Bertrand Blancheton, Ana Carreras Marin, Léo Charles, Loïc Charles, Guillaume Daudin, Béatrice Dedinger Michel Fouquin, Pierre Gervais, Paul Girard, Michael Huberman, Jules Hugot, Wolf-Fabian Hungerland, Ragnhild Hutchison, David Jacks, Aidan Kane, Thomas Le Roux, Ivan Ledezma, Pierrick Pourchasse and Jan Willem Veluwenkamp and several students.

Short welcome introduction by Guillaume Daudin (local organizer)

1st paper:

Making historical international trade data useful (Germany, 1880-1913)
Presentation by Wolf-Fabian Hungerland (Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin)

Wolf Fabian discusses the use of the German source and how the goods therein can be classified. Source volumes are disparate: different number of year per volume, number of categories and classification different. This is what it is very useful to use a SITC classification.

Then, he opens a discussion on the matching issue (how to find a SITC equivalent to the original product as it was labeled in the source volumes), utilization of SITC 4 was privileged. Results are encouraging so far.
Object of the database: study the extensive margin over the long period.

2nd paper:

Standardization of Latin American trade statistics. Sources and methodology for a study on the diversification of export baskets
Presentation by Ana Carreras Marin (Universidad de Barcelona).

Ana Carreras discusses the industrial and geographical diversification of Latin America’s trade c. 1913. There is Trade-off between standardization and the specificity of the economy one is analyzing.
Research issue : multi-goods partners in extensive / intensive margins.
There is a discussion around whether it is a good idea to use the SITC classification?

3rd paper:
Domestic Barriers to International Trade: New Evidence for Brazil, 1920‐1940
by Michael Huberman (Université de Montréal)
In his paper, M. Huberman addresses the issue of the relationship between coastal domestic trade and international trade. Was the former a substitute for the last, or was it part of an educational process of the entrepreneurs that subsequently became exporter ?
Research issue : the study domestic trade in parallel with international trade.

3rd paper:
Custom 15: Constructing a database of Ireland’s international trade 1698-1784
Presented by Aidan Kane

Data capture and cleaning of trade data for each year 1698-1784 is now essentially done, and will be soon generally available. Data typically distinguishes six or seven major trading areas. The data are available for around 25 Irish ports, in each year, and the originals are remarkably consistent in format over the time period. Aidan underlines the small number of commodities (500s). 140 volumes of ledgers digitized over the period 1698-1784. Exports much less precise than imports
They did the arithmetic checks automatically
Right now, no classification but he is looking forward to use SITC.

4th paper:
English/British/UK Trade Statistics 1700-1899
Presentation by David Jacks (Simon Fraser University and NBER)

1 out of 10 years digitized. Around 130,000 raw observations (100,000 in SITC). Looking at gravity (distance versus empire)
Problem of prices (resolved at an aggregated level by indexes)
Names of commodities normalized into the database (original spelling not retrievable)

5th paper:
Choosing a Product Nomenclature: The French Case 1836-1938
By Bertrand Blancheton
Working on « commerce spécial » (without transit trade)
The impact of tarifs on specialization ? Choice of classification : SITC versus ISIC ?

6th paper:
The Norwegian customs project- classification and standardization – a practical solution?
By Ragnhild Hutchinson (University of Oslo and Norwegian Institute of Local history)

27 ports for 9 years from 1686 to 1835. The project tried 4-digit SITC and the 1870 classification, but it did not work out : too much time and the match was no good (classification too modern).
This no classification so far, but she wants to implement a suggested classification option as in Navigocorpus.
Funding obtained mostly through private donors, but it constrained the project somewhat: short-term funding renewed several times and for teaching rather than research purpose.

7th paper:

Sound Toll Registers Online, 1497-1857. Standardisation and classification issues.
By Jan Willem Veluwenkamp (Groningen)
Again, the difficulty of using a precise SITC category is apparent.

8th paper:

Your ‘goods’ are not my ‘products’; a preliminary methodological discussion of our instinctive belief in the permanence of things over time and of its unintended consequence
by Pierre Gervais (Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle)
Argue that the main difficulty that arise with any classification of the trade of traditional economies is that it had to cope with commodities that are to a large extent unique for each local context (an ‘indienne’ in Bordeaux in 1726 might not be the same an ‘indienne’ in Marseille in 1726 or an ‘indienne’ in Bordeaux in 1756, etc.)

Wrap-up session :
Guillaume Daudin presented the datascape methodology and how it was applied in the TOFLIT18 project to manage the French balance of trade dataset. Then, he moved on to show some preliminaty results and how the visualization of the relation between commodities illustrates how La Rochelle changed from a port with a diversified set of exports in the 1720s to a much more specialised one in the 1780s.

Loïc Charles gave some concluding remarks. Suggest that they are two different strategies to build a trade database : either to digitize the data and try to save up as much as you can or try to simplify. The latter was the only option available before the IT revolution of the 2000s. But now, it is of the utmost importance of keeping everything in the database.
Second point : You do not have to define a classification ex-ante. Quite the contrary, the philosophy of the datascape is to have a tool that allow the ex-post creation of several classifications in a relatively short period of time (a few weeks). The argument is that each research issue requires more or less a different classification : if one wants to work on an historical issue, it is better to use a classification close to the sources, while SITC is better for long period studies especially when comparison with 20th century is wanted.
Finally opens a discussion on a possible convergence at a European level, through an ERC project.

Septembre 16th 2016 Workshop «Classifying trade statistics before 1945»

Chers collègues,

J’ai le plaisir le vous informer de la tenue d’une journée de travail « Classifier le commerce international avant 1945 » à SciencesPo Paris (salle Goguel) le 16 septembre 2016.

Vous êtes tous cordialement invités. Pour des raisons de sécurité (et pour que nous sachions combien de plateaux-repas commander), merci de vous inscrire auprès de Biljana Jankovic

Sincères salutations,

Guillaume Daudin



Classifying international trade before 1945

Classifier le commerce international avant 1945

September 16th 2016
Salle Goguel, SciencesPo, 27 rue Saint Guillaume, 75007 Paris

The long history of globalization is blessed with a comparative abundance of data. Foreign trade has long been a sizable source of income for states and the latter have been careful in collecting information on it: series on international trade starting in the eighteenth century exist for several countries and regions such as England, France, Sweden, the Austrian Netherlands, Venice, Portugal, Spain. (Charles et Daudin 2015). The Sound records go back even further. Hence, much information on past economies may be gained through the systematic collection of these data. This calls for the creation of large databases and there are a number of active projects, under different states of readiness: Ireland, Norway, UK, World, France, Germany, the Sound… The identification and classification of commodities is at the core of any project that want to use these databases for comparative analysis or even to simply use the information collected to its potential.

For example, in the French case, there are more than 45,000 different merchandises mentioned in the 18th century sources (for 400,000 trade flows). Correcting for mistakes made by the original scribes and the person in charge of the transcription brings that number down to 20,000. Further identifying synonyms brings it down to 16,000. It is however necessary to devise some sort of aggregation process to be able to use the data collected to answer a wider set of economic history issues such as those linked to the question of trade diversification, intra-industry trade and revealed comparative advantages.

An additional difficulty is international comparison. There are more problems linked to it than the sole issue of translation. The creation of internationally comparable merchandise classification was a long process starting only in the late 19th century (Kolesnikoff 1953) and it is still a work in progress. Yet, it is central to any comparison process.

Choosing a classification to categorize commodities should meet several criteria: it has to be informed by past practices of recording flows (which are different from one place and one time to another), the characteristics of the past society/economy where trade took place, convenience (as classifying goods is hard work), and the research issue. Among the possible options are: 1. the adaptation of modern nomenclatures, which have a great level of detail, accuracy and comparability, but hardly relates to the economic issues of past societies; or 2. the creation of a tailor-made historical nomenclature, which takes into account the historical context of commercial exchange but begs the issue of intertemporal (and often geographical) comparisons. Moreover, creating a nomenclature takes a lot of time in particular if one wants to produce disaggregated categories. A flexible system of classification that can be integrated in data exploration in order to be able to create detailed categorization for specific purposes within a reasonable amount of time and resources would be ideal. But that requires to invest a substantial amount of work in the creation of sophisticated digital tools, as endeavored by the project TOFLIT18 (


9.00-10.45 What can classifications of goods teach us ?

Wolf-Fabian Hungerland (Humboldt) «Making historical international trade data useful: German product-level data from 1880 to 1913 and the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC)» .Co-author : Chris Altmeppen
Ana Carreras Marin (Barcelona) «Standardization of Latin American trade statistics. Sources and methodology for a study on the diversification of export baskets » Co-authors:  M. Badia-Miró and A. Rayes
Michael Huberman (Montréal) Domestic and International Trade in Interwar Brazil: Complements or Substitutes?

11.00-12.00 Early stages of data collection

Aidan Kane (Galway) « Customs 15: constructing a database of Ireland’s international trade 1698-1784 »
David Jacks (Simon Fraser) « British Trade Statistics, 1700-1899 »

1.30-3.00 Struggling with the classification of goods (1)

Bertrand Blancheton (Bordeaux) « Choosing a product nomenclature: the French case 1836-1938 »
Ragnhild Hutchinson (University of Oslo and Norwegian Institute of Local history ) « The Norwegian customs project- classification and standardization- a practical solution? »

3.15-4.45 Struggling with the classification of goods (2)

Jan Willem Veluwenkamp (Groningen) « Sound Toll Registers Online, 1497-1857. Standardisation and classification issues. »
Pierre Gervais (Paris-3) « your ‘goods’ are not my ‘products’; a preliminary methodological discussion of our instinctive belief in the permanence of things over time and of its unintended consequence. »

5.00-6.00 Wrapping up

Loïc Charles (Paris-8) and Guillaume Daudin (Dauphine) : «Multi dimensional classification of goods in a datascape : the TOFLIT18 project»
General discussion and wrapping up
This event is open to all. It is funded by the ANR TOFLIT18 (
Organizers: Guillaume Daudin ( & Loïc Charles (
Inscriptions & information: Biljana Jankovic ( 01 45 49 72 51 or

References :

Charles, Loïc, et Guillaume Daudin, éd. 2015. « Eighteenth Century International Trade Statistics: Sources and Methods ». Revue de l’OFCE (Special Issue), no 140: 7‑377.
Kolesnikoff, Vladimir S. 1953. « Commodity classification ». In International Trade Statistics, par R. G. D. Allen et J. Edwards Ely. New-York and London: John Wiley & Sons Inc. and Chapman & Hall, Limited.


Ramillo Parungao

Bienvenue à Ramillo Parungao, qui nous rejoint milieu juillet pour un stage jusqu’à début septembre.

Ramillo a intégré l’école de commerce ISC Paris après deux ans en classe préparatoire Technologique. Il souhaite se spécialiser en Marketing Digital.

Il a intégré l’équipe du projet Toflit18 le 18 Juillet 2016 dans le cadre d’un stage de validation de sa première année. Il travaillera principalement à l’Université Paris-Dauphine. Il aura pour mission de faire de la retranscription de documents de la balance commerciale qui concernent les exportations de Nantes entre 1728 et 1779.

« J’ai découvert grâce à ce stage en tant que transcripteur données un aperçu du travail de chercheur. Ce stage m’a apporté certaines connaissances au niveau de l’histoire, du commerce et de l’économie en France au xviiie siècle. De plus, j’ai gagné en autonomie et rigueur, car les données sont précises et doivent  être vérifiées pour vérifier la cohérence des documents.

Le projet Toflit18 m’a permis de découvrir une autre facette de l’économie car mon cursus n’a pas couvert l’histoire du commerce. J’ai trouvé intéressantes les corrélations qu’il y’a entre les différents évènements historiques et leurs influences sur le commerce. »


July 5th 2016 meeting

July 5th 2016 meeting

Attending: Loïc Charles, Guillaume Daudin, Béatrice Dedinger, Frederico d’Onofrio, Meng Ying Du, Pierre Hollegien, Pierre Gervais , Paul Girard, Corentin Ponton, Grégory Tible, Quentin Vidal.,

  1. Ricardo

Following the meeting with Federico and Tena, some changes have been implemented to the datascape: bilateral trade flows and world flows are now separated; the Federico-Tena database has been added in the metadata view where partners can be displayed by color. Moreover, it is now possible to compare the Ricardo’s best-guess with the Federico-Tena’s one in the country view: they largely match except for a period where exports are missing.

The project is to be presented at the digital humanity conference newt week.

  1. Transcriptions

Hasna achieved her tasks: she completed every import in Marseille, and the ones in Nantes until 1761. Requia has not made such good time: about 10 years of exports in Marseille are still to be retranscribed (1741 and 1742 are very difficult to read and are hard to read, Loic will have to deal with them).

Demba is going to complete Bordeaux and will start transcription for imports or export in Nantes.

  1. Verifications

Loïc is still checking transcriptions. There are many difficulties: typos (easy to correct), computing errors, wrong unity of measure (more annoying), etc. Trade records were on average better done in big direction than in small ones. Marseille represents a lot of works (about 2500 lines per year – a big day of work is not enough to deal with one year).

Total sums computed by the copyist does not always match with the ones computed by ourselves, but the later are to be preferred because of the excessive rounding or computing errors made by copyists.

  1. Merchandises

Since 1815, merchandises’ names appear to be much more heterogenous, which increases the work of orthographic normalization and simplification. However, it can be explained by the large number of braces in the products’ labels that are used to distinguish classification and specification.

  1. SITC

Pierre Gervais is pursuing the classification of the goods, but his facing some difficulties due to the state of the “simplification” file. Most problems wil be tackled by an algorithm that does not integrate every spelling yet.

Beatrice proposes to make a unique and universal classification of products from the 18th century. It sounds like an enormous project for the moment though

  1. Datascape

New classifications have been added up to the datascape or updated: Medicinal Products by Pierre Hollegien, North American products by Quentin Vidal, Eden Treaty by Corentin Ponton. The grains’s classification made by Federico d’Onofrio is still to be uploaded. “Revised” classifications are now the standard ones.

Bugs of interface are being fixed, especially when selecting parameters for plotting network views.

Guillaude Daudin asked Paul Girard and Gregory Tible on the possibility to implement a new feature in the datascape. It would consist in a tool allowing us to pick terms from a daughter classification and use them in a mother classification. The mother environment would be filtered by the daughter classification.

  1. Next Meetings

No more TOFLIT meetings before the end of the summer holidays.
Research of a room that could host the 16
th September meeting, and discussion about an accommodation in Chicago for October.


June 8th 2016 meeting

Merci à Corentin et Quentin pour la première version du compte rendu de la réunion du 8 juin.

Guillaume Daudin, Béatrice Dedinger, Meng Ying Du, Pierre Gervais , Paul Girard, Corentin Ponton, Grégory Tible, Elisa Tirindelli, Quentin Vidal.

1)    Retranscription
Imports coming from Marseille are done, but are still to verify.
Marseille’s exports however should be done in two weeks, as well as 1789 sources.
Moreover, Demba will achieve entering Nantes and Bordeaux sources before long
Cyril Canet is doing Rennes and Nantes ones
Quentin Vidal is completing the 1823 Table of Quantities, while Corentin Ponton in entering unit prices from 1819 to 1821.
Since character recognition does not work (even on printed registers), manual retranscription is necessary, even though it is long and dull. Anyway, we really would like to stop it by the end of summer, so as to focus on the database exploitation.

2)    Verifications
1789 is nearly done (only 4 directions are left) 1789, and then it will be over.
For England, 1787 and 1788 still need to be done.
Idem for Marseille’s imports. It is a long job (between 2000 and 3000 observations each year).

3)    Identification of commodities and classification
We are still following the 21th century Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) proposed by United Nations to group the nearly 20 000 goods of the dataset by category. However, Pierre Gervais is facing some difficulties regarding particular products and groups which are completely meaningful nowadays but did not make any sense back in the 18th century.
For instance, he evokes the case of medicinal products that were often considered as food supplies in those days (such as the saffron, which is also used as a dye). Besides, dye plants and tinctures are also mistaken.
Tea is an issue for 0a/0b as it can be both be produced by local farmers or on plantations.
So far, about 20% of the 15 000 goods are classified, although a large part of them goes in “category x” whenever a doubt arises. By the way, a great share of commodities is also labelled as raw materials, which is certainly overestimated. This work should be done by the end of the month.

Furthermore, Elisa’s Hambourg classification is available on the datascape, while Quentin aims at creating a classification for specific Canadian products and Corentin for products impacted by the Eden Treaty

4)    Elisa Tirindelli
Elisa Tirindelli defended her master thesis this week: she tried to explain the effects of war on French exports by distinguishing the effect on colonial exports (sugar and coffee) and non-colonial ones (wine and spirits).
She will pursue a PhD track in Dublin next year in historical and urban economics.

5)    Datascape
Paul Girard and Gregory Trible have improved the performances of the website. They created two new tabs from the “Global tab”: Countries Network and Product Terms. The former is not completely working by now but will display interesting information on countries relationships in trade, while the later could return details on the complexity of merchandises by analyzing every term of each commodity.
The metadata tab has seen a few improvements. However, we would also like to aggregate flows by classification. For instance, we would like to see how the “pays grouping” classification has evolved through the decades so as to understand how Toscane, Piémont and other provinces were assimilated in Italy by the statistics.
Besides, as some particular mixes of criteria do not obviously exhibit any results (since they are completely irrelevant), we should give users more information and advises regarding requests, by the means of help pop-ups or FAQ.

Gregory Tible’s internship is nearly over; he will leave Sciences Po at the end of July. Paul will Guillaume Plique might punctually intervene on the datascape. But Paul will do the main work. The additional budget will be necessary to find some help.

6)    Ricardo
Ricardo is doing well. The team has been chasing bugs and developing the mew Metadata view (issue of mirror rates)
After that, it will be back to data management (eg source cleaning).

7)    Next meetings
•    June 22nd: (Ricardo meeting) with Giovani Federico and Antonio Tena
•    July 5th, 9.30am at the Médialab: last TOFLIT meeting before summer holidays.
•    September 16th – 17th: public meeting with people from the English project, Norway, Ireland and the STRO (7 guests have already favorably answered); internal meeting on Saturday 17th.
•    October 14th in Chicago: need to obtain more details from Loic Charles.

Transformations of the french economy through the lens of international trade, 1716-1821