Aspects of Record Linkage

Marijn Schraagen

Promotor: prof.dr. J.N. Kok (UL) and prof.dr. C.A. Mandemakers (UL)
Co-promotor: dr. ir. G. Bloothooft (UL)
Universiteit Leiden
Date: 11 November 2014, 13:45
Thesis: PDF


This thesis is an exploration of the subject of historical record linkage. The general goal of historical record linkage is to discover relations between historical entities in a database, for any specific definition of relation, entity and database. Although this task originates from historical research, multiple disciplines are involved. Increasing volumes of data necessitate the use of automated or semi-automated linkage procedures, which is in the domain of computer science. Linkage methodologies depend heavily on the nature of the data itself, often requiring analysis based on onomastics (i.e., the study of person names) or general linguistics. To understand the dynamics of natural language one could be tempted to look at the source of language, i.e., humans, either on the individual cognitive level or as group behaviour. This further increases the multidisciplinarity of the subject by including cognitive psychology. Every discipline addresses a subset of problem aspects, all of which can contribute either to practical solutions for linkage problems or to further insights into the subject matter.