An international team of researchers has developed a website at d-place.org to help answer long-standing questions about the forces that shaped human cultural diversity.
D-PLACE – the Database of Places, Language, Culture and Environment – is an expandable, open access database that brings together a dispersed body of information on the language, geography, culture and environment of more than 1,400 human societies. It comprises information mainly on pre-industrial societies that were described by ethnographers in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The team’s paper on D-PLACE is published today in the journal PLOS ONE.
“Human cultural diversity is expressed in numerous ways: from the foods we eat and the houses we build, to our religious practices and political organisation, to who we marry and the types of games we teach our children,” said Kathryn Kirby, a postdoctoral fellow in the Departments of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Geography at the University of Toronto and lead author of the study. “Cultural practices vary across space and time, but the factors and processes that drive cultural change and shape patterns of diversity remain largely unknown.
“D-PLACE will enable a whole new generation of scholars to answer these long-standing questions about the forces that have shaped human cultural diversity.”
Co-author Fiona Jordan, senior lecturer in anthropology at the University of Bristol and one of the project leads said, “Comparative research is critical for understanding the processes behind cultural diversity. Over a century of anthropological research around the globe has given us a rich resource for understanding the diversity of humanity – but bringing different resources and datasets together has been a huge challenge in the past.
“We’ve drawn on the emerging big data sets from ecology, and combined these with cultural and linguistic data so researchers can visualise diversity at a glance, and download data to analyse in their own projects.”
D-PLACE allows users to search by cultural practice (e.g., monogamy vs. polygamy), environmental variable (e.g. elevation, mean annual temperature), language family (e.g. Indo-European, Austronesian), or region (e.g. Siberia). The search results can be displayed on a map, a language tree or in a table, and can also be downloaded for further analysis.
It aims to enable researchers to investigate the extent to which patterns in cultural diversity are shaped by different forces, including shared history, demographics, migration/diffusion, cultural innovations, and environmental and ecological conditions.
D-PLACE was developed by an international team of scientists interested in cross-cultural research. It includes researchers from Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human history in Jena Germany, University of Auckland, Colorado State University, University of Toronto, University of Bristol, Yale, Human Relations Area Files, Washington University in Saint Louis, University of Michigan, American Museum of Natural History, and City University of New York.
The diverse team included: linguists; anthropologists; biogeographers; data scientists; ethnobiologists; and evolutionary ecologists, who employ a variety of research methods including field-based primary data collection; compilation of cross-cultural data sources; and analyses of existing cross-cultural datasets.
“The team’s diversity is reflected in D-PLACE, which is designed to appeal to a broad user base,” said Kirby. “Envisioned users range from members of the public world-wide interested in comparing their cultural practices with those of other groups, to cross-cultural researchers interested in pushing the boundaries of existing research into the drivers of cultural change.”
The Latest on: Open-access database
via Google News
The Latest on: Open-access database
- Computational advances in the label-free quantification of cancer proteomics data on December 27, 2018 at 6:42 am
PubMed and Web of Science databases were searched for label-free quantification ... proteomics in the future once its limitations are accounted for. The article is Open Access till 31st December, 2018 ... […]
- Stanford designed software to spot every solar panel in the US (there’s a lot of them) on December 20, 2018 at 5:22 am
The tool (accompanied by an open-access website) draws on high-resolution satellite data and automated image analysis. “With these methods, we can not only maintain and update a high-fidelity database ... […]
- Open access under attack – how international regulation collides with the open use of genetic sequence data on December 17, 2018 at 4:58 am
In public databases such as Genbank ... The principles of PIC and MAT on one side and open access on the other are diametrically opposed, a plain but sad fact that needs to be acknowledged. Nobody wan... […]
- Morning Break: Hospitals Sue Medicare; Med Schools Diversify; Insys on Deathbed? on December 5, 2018 at 6:35 am
The FDA gave its blessing to the National Institutes of Health's open-access ClinGen database as a resource for developers of genetic disease-risk tests to use in establishing clinical validity, a key ... […]
- New open access database for medieval literature on November 2, 2018 at 5:17 am
The new Norse World database will make it easier for researchers to study perceptions of the surrounding world in Medieval Scandinavian literature. The new tool is a digital resource aimed at research... […]
- Chan Zuckerberg Biohub launches open-access database of mouse cells to fuel research on October 3, 2018 at 4:06 pm
Mice are the quintessential research animals. Over decades, these unassuming creatures have played a role in almost every advance in modern medicine. That’s why the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, the nonprof... […]
- Open access database to raise education research visibility on July 5, 2018 at 5:00 pm
All reader responses posted on this site are those of the reader ONLY and NOT those of University World News or Higher Education Web Publishing, their associated trademarks, websites and services. Uni... […]
- Aluminium Scrap: Open access database for impurity levels-microstructure-property and methods to recover properties in high impurity scrap on August 30, 2017 at 5:00 pm
Aluminium (Al) alloys are extensively used in transport (28%), construction (35%) and engineering (27%) sectors. The total Al in use is expected to increase from 600 million tonnes in 2013 to one bill... […]
via Bing News