Hamburg Commodity Calculations

The project employs digital methods for automated text recognition and semantic annotation to a series of commodity calculations published in Hamburg between 1772 and 1774. This four-volume publication is available as scans in the Rostock Digital Library. Commodity calculations (further: CC) are concise summaries of the costs involved in purchasing or selling a certain amount of a commodity on the international market. CCs describe the various payments to be made at the port of origin of the cargo, underway and at the final destination. CCs also provide information about measurement and currency conversions. CCs offer merchants a typical example calculation that allows to estimate the chances to make a profit under the circumstances outlined in the calculation.

The challenge of analysing the collection lies in the density of the information and the large number of abbreviations for currencies, weights, measures and exchange rates in the CCs. The value added lies in the in-depth knowledge about logistical activities related to early modern commodity trade, which can be obtained from the CCs.