May 11th 2016 meeting

May 11th Toflit meeting
Attending : Requia Bouali, Loïc Charles, Guillaume Daudin, Béatrice Dedinger, Federic d’Onofrio, Meng Ying Du, Hasna El-Adel, Pierre Gervais, Paul Girard, Corentin Ponton, Grégory Tible, Elisa Tirindelli, Quentin Vidal

1. Presentations

2. Retranscriptions
– For Marseille, Requia is doing year 1749 and Hasna 1751.
– Laura is working on 1789.
– By the end of May, we should have most of Marseille + Nantes.
– Demba will finish afterward. We plan to stop in July.
– Corentin Ponton adding some unit values from 1815 to 1821. But they are not bilateral : it seems like there is a double aggregation of values and quantities because computing of average prices exhibits wrong results.
– Quentin Vidal is transcribing post-1815 sources by the customs, that indicate quantities and duties.

3. Verifications
•    Loic Charles is checking the retranscription of Grenoble and England sources (4 to 5 thousands lines a day). He expects to end this job by September.
After summer holidays, we should stop retranscripting of new sources so as to focus on the database exploitation.

4. Identification
– Identification of commodities is nearly done (thanks to Quentin and Corentin); some doubts remain concerning strange words, though most of them might come from foreign languages (Dutch or Flemish mainly). Note that those unknown goods are worth only small amounts.
– We could use Beccia’s information to enhance the identification
– We could identify some Indian textiles because they all end the same way.
– There are copyist mistakes that are very difficult to correct.

5. Identification
Pierre Gervais and Guillaume are working on the SITC variant we will be offering as one of the classifications. We discuss the difficulties.
•    SITC: consists of a dozen of categories, divided into more sub-categories.
o    Motivation: building bridges between different projects and between different centuries.
o    Drawbacks: frontier between categories might be too blurred, and some goods create ambiguities, about the transformation degree for example. There are way too much commodities in the category “9C: other products”.
o    Should we create a new version of the SITC classification, maybe more fitted to our project but less standardized and thus less internationally recognized?
•    Examples of problems encountered during the classification: What to do with some chemical products, such as medicines that are not always transformed products? With textile goods, made of cotton, silk or something else we do not know?
•    Ideally, we aim for a classification perfectly understandable for someone who does not know anything about the project, or at least anything but the rules of the classification.

6. Quantities in the datascape
We discuss how to integrate quantities in the database. Guillaume suggests we could create one variable / facet for each type of quantities (weight, volume, number and maybe length). In that way, they could be treated like values in the datascape.

7. Work on the datascape
We have a quick discussion on progress of the datascape, and how to treat 1749 and 1751 for National Best Guess

8. Ricardo
We admire the new version of the Metadata view.

9. Next meetings

•    June 8th 2016 (Toflit meeting), at 9h30, Medialab.
•    June 22nd  2016 (Ricardo meeting) with Giovani Federico and Antonio Tena
•    July 5th: last meeting before summer holidays.
•    September 16th : public meeting with people from the English project, Norway, Ireland and the STRO. There will be an internal meeting on Saturday 17th.
•    October 14th in Chicago (financed up to $4500 from Chicago side). It would be nice if Pierre, Paul and Siliva could come.


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