Navigocorpus uses a database structure built from scratch and ideally suited for working with historical maritime shipping data. Navigocorpus’ database structure is general in nature and therefore capable of capturing a wide variety of historical shipping registrations.
The main components of the database structure are Points, Cargoes, Taxes and Actions which are all linked one with the other by means of a unique identifier (Documentary_Unit_ID). The basic idea is that a ship movement registration contains information about the route of a ship. This route is specified by the denomination of one or more geographical locations or points. Each of these geographical locations has its own function in a ship movement. Distinction can be made between point of departure, point of destination, intermediary points of call and – most importantly – point of observation. The point of observation plays a pivotal role: unless the document requires to proceed differently, any information in the ship movement registration will logically be attached to the point of observation.
A key position is reserved for the uniform point definition fields, a method elaborated for the description of points (i.e. geographical locations).
The database structure obtains its general nature thanks to the application of the uniform point definition fields to all shipping registrations obtained from new archival research as well as from existing datasets. Indeed, every field in the main components of the database structure (Points, Cargoes, Taxes and Actions) can in principle be connected to any point.
If you want to learn more about the database structure, consult the existing bibliography