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."