KB logo

[HUMlab] - Copenhagen University Library, South Campus: Datasprint 2018

Rigsarkivets Digital History Methods Lab and The Royal Library's HUMlab introduce a Datasprint

This picture of a back yard in the areal between Tornebuskgade or Åbenrå and Gothersgade gives an impression of the housing conditions in Copenhagen in the last quarter of the 19th century. The photo is available from this site: labs.kb.dk 

About the Datasprint

Copenhagen 1885

- illuminated by digital methods through census, maps, photos and a comparison of data


This datasprint is aimed at understanding the city of Copenhagen in 1885 as a phenomenon (its people, its streets, its stories) through digital methods and a variety of data sources. It works through getting people from different backgrounds together for collaborating on this topic, developing research questions, sharing competencies and learning from each other. It will provide a stepping-stone into digital humanities and contribute to new research networks.

Time and place

Friday October 26 at 12:00 - 17:00
Saturday October 27 at 10:00 - 17:00
Participants meet in the Cultural Heritage Hall (Kulturarvssalen), The Royal Library

Who is the datasprint aimed at?

Students and staff from universities around Denmark. Prior knowledge of digital working methods is not a prerequisite for participation, but a good deal of curiosity is :-D


Friday, October 26, 10:00 – 17:00

10:00 – 11:30 – Installing software and taking a look at the data (optional)

12:00 – 12:10 – Welcome and presentation of the program and the groups, Lars Kjær

12:10 – 12:20 – Presentation of the assignments and datasets, Lars Kjær and Bo Henriksen

12:25 – 12:50 – Introduction to OpenRefine, Muhamed Fajkovic

12:55 – 13:25 – Introduction to Excel, Barbara Ana Revuelta Eugercios

13:30 – 13:50 – Introduction to ArcGIS, Lars Kjær and Jesper Fogt Nielsen

13:50 – 14:10 – Introduction to the historical background: Copenhagen in 1885, Mikkel Thelle

14:10 – 17:00 – Hands-on work with the assignments and datasets 


Saturday, October 27, 10:00 – 17:00

10:00 – 10:10 – Welcome and presentation of the program for the day

10:10 – 12:00 – Hands-on work with the assignments and datasets   

12:00 – 12:30 – Lunch break

12:30 – 15:30 – Hands-on work with the assignments and datasets   

15:30 – 17:00 – Group presentations

An example: Mapping of religious community data from Copenhagen and Frederiksbergs census 1885

For example you could learn to make a map like the map above. The map examines whether there was geographic segregation of mionority religious communities in the city. It is made on the basis of processed and refined data from the 1885 census from Copenhagen and Frederiksberg. The census will be made available for the datasprint.

More about the datasprint

Educational purposes

The educational purposes is to create a framework for learning about:

  • A historical topic and period
  • Cultural, social and urban history
  • Digital research methods
  • Software for research
  • Digitized sources and digital collection

Who organizes it?

It is organized by Rigsarkivets Digital History Methods Lab and The Royal Danish Library's HUMlab, who disseminate their collections through training in digital methods, with the collaboration of Copenhagen City Archives. It is also supported by DIGHUMLAB and different departments from The Royal Danish Library, the University of Copenhagen, and Aarhus University.

Why 1885?

People have asked why 1885? Why chose that year? The late 19th century is one of the most interesting moments of change in the city. The walls were coming down, letting the city expand to the west, old and new practices started to co-exist in its streets and there is a wealth of data sources. In particular, the special census of 1885 that was only carried out in Copenhagen then 1885 offers one of the best sources of data.

Teams and groups

We form the teams so they consist of people from different academic fields, and we will assign team members with different roles.

Each team is assigned a task that they will work together to solve.


Based on the datasets we wish you to create a digital presentation that illuminates one of the assignments below. You could click on the links and read an elaborated description of the tasks.

For example you could learn to do a map like the one you'll find on this page called "Mapping of religious community data from Copenhagen and Frederiksbergs census 1885".


Digitized demographic data, literature, maps, and photos from the collections of various institutions.

The Royal Danish Library

Rigsarkivet (Danish National Archives)

  • 1885 Census of Copenhagen and Frederiksberg
  • You can browse the data online at the Danish Demographic Database (www.ddd.dda.dk). You can also get the data extraction by writing to Lars Kjær, lakj@kb.dk after registering.

Copenhagen City Archives


Following software are recommended:

  • ArcGIS (HUMlab provides the licenses)
  • OpenRefine
  • Excel/Opeb Office Calc

You are of course welcome to use other kinds of software as well. But we'll provide a introduction to the software mentioned above. 


Bárbara Revuelta-Eugercios, senior researcher MSO and archivist

Muhamed Fajkovic, information specialist

Lars Kjær, Information specialist

Jesper Fogt Nielsen, Geoinfo