Collections in WHG are sets of datasets. Registered users can link public datasets they own (or co-own), for purposes of presentation and filtering of searches. In our next release, it will be possible to create collections from individual records or groups of records by several means.
Creators of gazetteers for a particular region and period are increasingly interested in linking their data with projects that have overlapping spatial and/or temporal coverage. Loosely joining datasets in the WHG platform can potentially generate rich "focus regions," within the platform, effectively combining the efforts of numerous specialized projects.
For example, the Humanities Cluster of the Royal Dutch Academies (KNAW HuC) has begun developing the "Dutch History" collection, which will ultimately link a few dozen datasets of settlements and administrative areas in historically Dutch territories around the globe.
Preliminary discussion have begin on several similar efforts, including for Colonial and pre-Colonial Latin America (LatAm), the Middle East, the Ottoman Empire, Central Eurasia, Early Modern Europe, and the geography of the Atlantic slave trade.
Collections can also be used to link datasets from a single contributor, as Werner Stangl has done with two datasets from his HGIS de las Indias project ]WHG collection]; [project site]. One dataset contains around 13,000 settlements (lugares), the other around 900 political and religious administrative areas (territorios) they lay within— with their 3,000+ spatial extents that changed over time.
Collections are created by listing two or more existing public datasets in a new Collection record, and describing it briefly in a short metadata form.
Collections are an important new feature in WHG, and we have only just begun implementing examples demonstrating their use and value. Two so far are the "focus regions" mentioned above and teaching applications.