historydata

What a terrific idea: Lincoln Mullen has uploaded [sample data sets for historians learning R][cran]. His note states that “they include population, institutional, religious, military, and prosopographical data suitable for mapping, quantitative analysis, and network analysis.” I would love to see something similar done for folklore studies, and I’ll see what I can to make that happen.

In the mean time, many thanks to Lincoln for doing this. One of the crossroads many at which individuals find themselves when they begin the journey towards computation is not having any material with which to work. Quite often, writers describing their work assume that everyone already has a corpus of material with which to work. Or, we act as though anyone is going to pull stuff off [Project Gutenberg][pg]. A controlled data set gives new users a chance to try things out and get predictable results.

[cran]: http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/historydata/index.html
[pg]: http://www.gutenberg.org

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