In the 21st century we need to access our world-class demographic data digitally and longitudinally in order to remain at the forefront of population oriented studies. As the forefront of population research also historically moves from the use of cross-s ectional sources to longitudinal registers, the data structure of our source material must be reorganized in order to serve us and our major international partners in comparative research. The current stand-alone data bases with the sources organized cros s-sectionally and separately is a straightjacket. Therefore, individuals and groups making up the population can only to a very limited degree be followed over time. However, the potential inherent in the combination of contemporary Scandinavian register data and our rich historical data is huge. Only in Norway do we plan for national long-term high-qualtity coverage, and such a database will be an internationally unique resource for so many types of population oriented research purposes.
For a host of re search questions in the humanities, social sciences and medicine the new database structure open up possibilities in three new ways: 1) The periods before 1960 will be opened up for longitudinal research on a national scale. 2) The analysis of recent soci al and other population phenomena can be based on data with a longer time horizon. 3) it is of crucial importance to be able to follow individuals, kinship and genetic networks over extended time periods.
In addition to planning how the Norwegian nominati ve source material can be made available for research and documented on a longitudinal basis, two existing integrated community databases will be expanded, made compatible and documented in order to test out relevant procedures, especially the developing international standard for the exchange of longitudinal data.