The Death and Burial Data: Ireland 1864-1922 project (DBDIrl) is funded under the Irish Research Council Laureate Awards 2017/18.

The principal investigator is Dr Ciara Breathnach, Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Limerick.

DBDIrl aims to apply novel computer science applications to historical civil registration (CR) death registration data in order to create new knowledge.

Vast quantities of historical Irish ‘big data’ are in the public domain but they exist as silos, much of it is unstructured and consequently they cannot interact or are not ‘interoperable’ with one another.

Among the aims of DBDIrl is to apply linked data techniques to pre-digitised, openly available data, to yield new knowledge about biopower behaviours. By placing the history of individual bodies and lives at the core of this research it will offer new ways of understanding death and the treatment of the dead body from civil, secular and religious perspectives.

Death and burial are key themes in this study, which adopts a ‘life events’ approach to the study of social class, gender and power in Ireland from macro and micro-history perspectives. It also represents an entirely new framework for Irish historiography, by not only providing linkages between bodies of data that were previously discrete, but also by offering a much more accurate series of datasets for analysis.