The Cultures Observations Database is a multi-purpose tool which aims to mine, valorize and analyze the untapped wealth of historical and contemporary descriptions of cultures by travellers. It does this by collecting the descriptions in an open database including biographical details of the observers and their own native culture. Attributes perceived by the observers are first individually indexed by the user, then inserted into groups, also created by the user. This naturalistic real-world data can be cross-analysed by date, native culture of observer, number of cultures observing or not observing an attribute or group in a given culture, etc., in other words who saw what, who didn't see what, and when. We are currently in need of voyagers' observations on France, England, Italy, Germany, Spain and the USA. The voyagers can be from any culture, and any epoque, including the present.
The fundamental idea of this database is that of an expanding, permanent collection of behavior-descriptive quotations, ideally in original language but also translated into a single language, which is currently English. The database, in Microsoft Office Access 2007 format, is freely downloadable and can be read on a free runtime program if Access is not available. New quotations (called Observations in the database protocol), sent in by volunteers in a standardized form, are vetted by the database caretaker before being added.
The database body is thus a simple collection of extracts from historical and contemporary literature, in the form of one or several paragraphs in the original language accompanied by
-date and place of publication
-the name of the author,
-his or her date of birth, birthplace and native culture,
-biographical details if available,
-translation into English (we need volunteer translators for this)
-location of source material if available.