Historical International Standard Classification of Occupations

English Abstract: 

"Starting in the 1950s the International Labour Office has developed an International Standard Classification of Occupations (isco) allowing classification of occupational activities worldwide. Naturally, this system is not intended to deal with historical information. In recent years, a group of historians and sociologists have started to build upon the 1968 version of isco to create a classification scheme for occupational titles in the 19th and early 20th centuries, called hisco (...). It is tailored to cope with historical changes in the production process, and allows storage of information on product and status that could not be accommodated in isco. Large historical databases from which the hisco-data are taken and the international association of historians working on censuses have already agreed to adopt it, an many individual researchers are expected to do so as well.
Altogether, the HISCO scheme was originally based on the coding of the 1,000 most frequent male and female occupational titles in datasets from eight different countries: Belgium, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. The occupational data which were employed to develop the scheme span the period 1690-1970, but are mostly from the nineteenth century. They contain titles declared by or recorded for people of all ages in parish and civil registration documents. The data used to create HISCO encompass the largest country in western Europe, the world’s first industrial nation, the two most influential of the Scandinavian territories, and a newly-settled region of French-Canada. This, and an emphasis on variations within economies in sampling design, ensures that they provide a good mix of agricultural, industrial and commercial activities, of old and new technologies, of traditional and modern forms of organization. Moreover, the inclusion of two French-speaking populations, and a further region in which the official language was French, provides an effective test of the HISCO scheme’s sensitivity to the relationship between language and meaning. Nevertheless, the scheme is currently limited in coverage to the Northern European and Atlantic economies. Future development of the scheme will broaden its scope. To this end, the coding of new data into HISCO is being undertaken in several other countries.
The History of Work Information System has a coding section that helps users code their data in HISCO, and thus both make it comparable to other datasets, and make it of use to other scholars. The Provenance file lists all contributors to the HISCO-database."

Alternative Title: 
HISCO
English Title: 
Historical International Standard Classification of Occupations
Author: 
International Institute of Social History
EuroVoc: 
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Address: 
Cruquiusweg 31, Amsterdam, 1019, Netherlands