Collective Biographies of Women (CBW) offers the study of cohorts of women, which are lists chosen for some purpose of representation or interpretation. A cohort can be any search result such as the contents of books of a certain type, or persons with certain types. Usually a cohort is a set of persons the have at least one type in common, such as occupation or race. In this project, we present sample cohorts: these confirmed individuals have been “typed,” and we have cleaned up their personal data such as date of birth or alternate names. Our strategic typologies for persons or publications derive from our research in this genre of printed book, and thus derive from the historical context of the publications, not our twenty-first century perspective. We use types with conscious care, because they aid search and analysis in a network. We note that individuals may be classified with many types, and that each living person actually defies typecasting.
Cohorts of Women in Biographical Collections is an NEH Level II Startup Grant through 2017 that focuses on the collaboration of CBW and Social Networks in Archival Context (SNAC). We have reconciled persons in the Lola Montez cohort—all the “siblings” or women whose biographies appear in a book of short lives with Lola’s biography—with the person records in SNAC; CBW persons either match with SNAC or are added to SNAC. Users can build their own lists of persons in our database of published short lives of women to cross-check with the portal for archival records around the world.
About Cohort Analytics
Researchers will be able to use the Cohort Analysis Prototype to visualize relationships of persons and records such as archives (SNAC) or short biographies (CBW), drawing upon our typologies of both persons and collections. Thus African American women (in collections of that type, and persons of that type) can intersect with the cohorts of nurses or teachers (search results by typology), creating a shorter list of those who have links in SNAC to correspondence, particular institutions, or other search criteria in the archival descriptions that lead to unpublished materials. These relationships can be charted and they can lead to further analysis of social networks or of life experiences shared by women in these cohorts.