TORA is a historical geographic register provided by the Swedish National Archives. It uses a service, where information about people, events and things in various historical documents and datasets could be linked to the places defined in TORA. Currently about 50 percent of all villages and farms in medieval and early modern Sweden are covered. Also, historical divisions, for instance parishes, are included. Using linked data technologies, the goal is to increase, simplify and improve the use of historical sources in research and applications.

The TORA project has been initiated by a group of researchers and co-workers at several institutions in Sweden, with funding (2015–2019) from Kungl. Vitterhetsakademien, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and the Swedish National Archives. A first public launch will take place in 2019.

For proof of concept and more information, contact the project leader.

The c. 26,000 spatial coordinates in TORA, referring to settlement units such as villages, hamlets, single farms, manors and towns, have been excerpted on basis of the following source materials (in the order they have been added):

  • Large-scale maps from the 17th century: In principle, all settlements in Sweden mapped by land surveyors during the 17th century are included in TORA. These maps covers 15,000 settlement units, which were registered as coordinates in two projects at Riksarkivet during 2003–2011.
  • The illustrated topographical survey of Sweden – Suecia antiqua et hodierna (Sweden past and present): This collection, at the National Library of Sweden, consist of more than 1,000 draughts, drawings and engravings of settlement in Sweden from the second half of the 17th century. About 240 sites appears in this source of which c. 180 are new registrations.
  • Medieval written sources and cadastres (jordeböcker): All settlements in Sweden, documented in medieval written sources and later registers until c. 1570, are continually identified and described by the research group Det medeltida Sverige (Medieval Sweden) at Riksarkivet. Many of these have already been assigned to coordinates (see above). Those not found on 17th century maps have been assigned to coordinates using later maps. At present about 6,600 settlements units have been added (ongoing).
  • Sources and reference books about manors: The database Sveriges herrgårdar (Manors in Sweden) contains information about 3,500 manors in Sweden. Basically all have been matched with coordinates in TORA.

  • Read more: Historical Settlement Units as Linked Open Data, in Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries, 2019, pp 259–269

    Project leader is Olof Karsvall


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Olof Karsvall