How can I use GaW?
The Gender and Work database (GaW) is a tool for digitizing, classifying, and analyzing extracts from a variety of historical sources.
Students, researchers, and the general public can search in the material and download data for further use. Students can use the material when writing research papers. Researchers who work with source material that could be suitable for inclusion in GaW have the opportunity to use the database to analyze their sources, but also to make them more widely accessible.
A rich collection of sources
The texts in the database are drawn from different geographical areas, and different time periods, in early modern Sweden. All of the texts contain information concerning what people did to support and sustain themselves, but they also include a good deal of information that tells us about other aspects of life in the past.
- The registration of a large number of individuals performing activities amounts to a rich material for personal histories and genealogy.
- The names of people and places are recorded with variations in form and spelling.
- The digitized source texts entail a large and varied linguistic-historical material from early modern Sweden.
- Thorough archival references make GaW a useful entry point in the search for further source material.
Using data from GaW
The GaW database does not answer any research questions. However, with its help you can search, present, and compile data, important steps in building a foundation from which to answer research questions.
In working with source material, a historian must always use source criticism. A database is an added layer between the original source and the individual researcher, a condition that must be approached with an additional battery of source-critical questions (for example, questions regarding selection). At the same time, GaW can be used as a tool for source-critical analysis. The user has access to both the original source material, as well as documentation of the registration process. Furthermore, GaW presents the opportunity to compare and contrast different sources.
When considered alongside the individual source, the database has a substantial added value due to:
- the amount and variety of data collected
- the classification of this data
The contents of the GaW database reflect the sources that are registered within it. This reflection, of course, is dependent upon the research project Gender and Work and also, to a certain degree, upon the interests of the individual researcher. The over-riding advantage of GaW is that it can systematically demonstrate the ways that a variety of source material contributes to the emerging picture of the past. Moreover, it is always possible to return to and check the original source material.