Quentin Vidal

Welcome to Quentin Vidal! He is a student at TSE who will work with the project from April 18th to July 13th. He is currently working on identifying unkown goods in the database (we have nearly 1,200 definitions in our glossary).

« After four years of university education in the Toulouse School of Economics focused on macroeconomics, history and development economics, I now have to seriously consider my professional plans. Thus, this internship should constitute my first approach of the world of the academic research, a field that intrigues me as much as it interests me. Those three-months of observation and work among a research team offer me the opportunity to discover a multi-disciplinary project, involving historians, economists and data scientists all connected by means of some useful, powerful and productive online tools. The thoughtful building of such a large and essential dataset and its subsequent analysis are very challenging aims; both of them require a great curiosity for this historical period, which perfectly matches with my interests. I hope I will be able to add my contribution and am really looking forward to assisting this project. »


Quentin Vidal CV

April 13th meeting

Réunion Toflit 13/04/16

Requia Bouali, Marie-Laure Dagieu, Guillaume Daudin, Béatrice Dedinger, Hasna El-Adel, Paul Girard, Laura Mouton, Grégory Tible, Elisa Tirindelli, Du Meng Ying,

1) Interns
The project is presented to out two new interns : Hasna El-Adel and Requia Bouali. They are working on the retranscription of Marseille and Nantes. We discuss how to use the datascape to facilitate the retranscription

3) Budget
INED has 35,000 € left. We expect to spend approximately 20,000 € this year. At the end of 2016, 80% of the initial budget will have been spent, mainly on wages and contractors.

Sciences Po has 25,000 € left at the end of 2015. 60% of the initial budget has been spent, mainly on wages. After Guillaume Plique and Gregory have been paid, we will have approximately 10,000 € left. We discuss whether we want to transfer this money for other workers in 2017.

Dauphine has 70,000 € left. Only 15% of the initial budget has been spent. This is because Dauphine will mainly take in charge missions and conferences, which will be more important at the end of the project when we will be able to present the data and our research results. We are late in the collection and organization of the data.

4) Datascape
Pierre Gervais is currently working on the SITC classification.

We discuss the chronological repartition of good names. Only roughly 10% of products are mentioned every year, suggesting that semantic variations are very important.

Paul Girard is working on making updates to the datascape easier so that they can be done regularly.
Gregory is working on improving the interface and squashing bugs. For exemple, the server breaks down under searches crossing countries and goods in the indicator visualization.

There is still a bug when trying to search by crossing simplification pays and direction.

5) Ricardo
The source names have been nearly fully streamlined.

Du Meng Ying is working on a new « metadata» visualization. It  shows which data are available from which place: they can be sorted by number of flows in the whole period or by average value of flows.
We discuss the use of absolute value of trade or share for sorting purposes. It would be better to calculate average value as average of the share of what is available, to avoid countries with trade only in 20th century to stand out just in value terms.

Each main viz will have a metadata equivalent. This is done for the Country and the World view, but not yet for the Bilateral view.

6) Meetings
Next meeting is May 11th at 4pm at the médialab 13 rue de l’Université. We discuss our schedule for the end of June without reaching a definite solution.

March 16th meeting

Thank you to Elisa who wrote the first version of this report.


Guillaume Daudin, Béatrice Dedinger, Pierre Gervais, Paul Girard, Guillaume Plique, Grégory Tible, Elisa Maria Tirindelli, Du Meng Ying

1) Database
We have now a new version of normalisation orthographique. We discuss the integration of the work of GD, GP, PG, and ET.
We also have a new version of «simplification».
GD will be working on a new SITC before Cambridge.

We know have a more-or-less working datascape at :
If you want to explore it, please ask Guillaume Daudin for access codes.

2) Ricardo
The paper was accepted and Ricardo will be presented in July. Du Meng Ying is doing her internship on Ricardo at present.
Major work to be done on Ricardo:
– Correcting bugs and adding new views (like the metadata in toflit).
– Creating a flow of data, converging to what was done in toilet. Transferring everything in a github account.

The breakdown into sources is still to be done.

We discuss the integration of an additional « world» trade estimate.

3) Merchandise treatment

– Normalisation orthographique is nearly done. It classifies 44,000 items into 21,000 groups. The only data missing are the data that have not been acquired yet. According to Loic there are 25% more lines to be done, even more according to Pierre.

– Simplification brought normalisation down to 16,500 lines. It still needs to be revised in detail because it still contains some old version of the work. Pierre suggests to organise a group meeting to talk about it and to work on it in a more organized way.

– Original orthographique needs to be cleaned. some products are still unknown and it is necessary to understand what they are. Pierre says they are not many.

– Catégorisation issue:

Pierre G. is of the opinion that the 1789 categorization (c. 250 categories) is not very coherent and might not work well on the entire dataset.

Guillaume D. suggested to use categorization 1788 because it contains all the data and in addition it links XVIII to XIX century data.

Pierre is skeptical, in his opinion we are looking for categories that will be useful to economists and economic analysis and maybe the best idea would be to come up with a new proposal of classification in the style of 2 digit sitc.

In the end, we decide to work directly on a 20 groups categorization (sitc18_rev3). GD is to do the job (he needs it for Cambridge !)

4) The June meeting in  Chicago project is cancelled. We will try to do an other in December or late winter. We will try to re-use part of our ideas for the 2018 Boston WEHC conference ?

5) Schedule for next meetings :
–  13 April 13  14.30, room 84 rue de Grenelle
– 11 May 16.00, medialab
– 8 June 9.30, medialab
– 1 July 9.30, medialab

6) Paul suggests to do a “for paper sprint” in July (1st ?) or September to provide data generation and exploration specifically need to paper in progress. We need to discuss that.

7) 2018 Boston WEHC conference : do a BYOD (we need to contact organizers). Or maybe a big database thing with Berlin ?