About the HISTFORM standard

Norwegian standard for registration and exchange of nominative census data for the period 1865-1910. This standard describes how to convert handwritten entries in censuses to searchable data in The Digital Archives.

Transcription and standards

Transcription is the conversion of text from one format to another, for example conversion of handwritten text in older archive sources to machine readable, searchable text in The Digital Archives. In The Digital Archives, the majority of transcriptions are based on one or other of the two standards HISTFORM-standard or KYRRE-standard. Despite these standards being created primarily for censuses and church books, they can be useful to know about when approaching other types of source material.

The HISTFORM-standard is a result of collaborative work by the Norwegian National Archives, Oslo and Bergen Universities, the Registration Centre for Historical Data (RHD), and Teleskelt/Dovre Data Archive in the region of Oppland. The standard applies to all census material containing name individuals in the period 1865-1910, and describes how to transcribe this information as well as how the column layout should be.

Even though the standard was developed with focus on the 1865-1910 censuses, many of the instructions for transcription can be applied to other censuses and rolls, as well as other sources which contain similar information.

The HISTFORM standard

HISTFORM is a set of rules for transcription, not an actual tool. For the transcription itself, you must use your own applications / utilities. You should choose a tool you are comfortable with, as long as it allows structuring of the data. The Digital Archives accepts data in a number of different formats, but we prefer tabular/comma-separated formats with the column names on the first row.