Building a Linked Open Data Platform for the study and exploration of the historical slave trade.

In recent years, a growing number of archives, databases, and collections that organize and make sense of records of enslavement have become freely and readily accessible for scholarly and public consumption. This proliferation of projects and databases presents a number of challenges: 

  • Disambiguating and merging individuals across multiple datasets is nearly impossible given their current, siloed nature;
  • Searching, browsing, and quantitative analysis across projects is extremely difficult;
  • It is often difficult to find projects and databases;
  • There are no best practices for digital data creation;
  • Many projects and datasets are in danger of going offline and disappearing.

In response to these challenges, Matrix: The Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences at Michigan State University, in partnership with the MSU Department of History and scholars at multiple institutions, has begun work on Enslaved: People of the Historic Slave Trade, a constellation of software and services built to address these challenges. Enslaved’s primary focus is people—individuals who were enslaved, owned slaves, or participated in slave trading. 

Mellon Foundation Announcement

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State University, supported by nearly $1.5 million from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will create a unique online data hub that will change the way scholars and the public understand African slavery. By linking data collections from...

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Partner Profile: Slave Biographies

Slave Biographies: The Atlantic Database Network is one of the founding partner projects for Enslaved, and we are excited to work with its team to link its datasets to the Enslaved Hub. Slave Biographies: The Atlantic Database Network is an open access data repository...

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Partner Profile: Liberated Africans

Enslaved is excited to announce its partnership with Liberated Africans ( This project traces the lives of over 250,000 men, women, and a large proportion of children, taken off slave ships in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans during the campaign...

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Enslaved would not be possible without the support and input of many partner scholars, projects, and institutions. Find out more about our partners by selecting below.