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QUETELET.NET - Critical System for Integration, Digitisation and Retrieval of the Belgian Penal Statistics

Research project I2/2F/209 (Research action I2)

Contract I2/2F/209 :

Duration of the contract :


Partners :

  • Université Catholique de Louvain (Coordinator of the project)
  • Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix 
  • SPF Justice 
  • Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix 
  • National Institute of Statistics 
  • Universiteit Gent 
  • National and Provincial State Archives 
  • Institut National de Criminalistique et de Criminologie 

Description :

Today, despite their newsworthiness, use of penal statistics runs up against so many
difficulties (almost total absence of complete series, heavy integration and critical work) that it is practically impossible to have recourse to them outside of very circumscribed works. Yet,
particularly in Belgium, this data is of inestimable value, whether for scientific, administrative, political or civil use. This partnership has come together faced with this paradox and has conceived the project « », giving it as a mission the development of a system allowing the integration and critical availability of these statistics, published by the Belgian system since its founding. This system should moreover be conceived so as to allow the insertion of future statistics.

The project involves six partners, users of penal statistics, among whom are university
research centres (UCL-CHDJ, UGent-Vakgroep Nieuwste Geschiedenis), federal public services (SCP, Statistics Belgium) and State scientific establishments (GAK/SA, NICC). But the user community widely exceeds this strict context because these figures involve a domain of public information. That’s why the application developed will take in fine the form of a dynamic Website, managed by a federal public institution and accessible to every citizen. To respond to the demands of such a large panel of users, one of the project’s priorities is to provide the application with a system of configurable interfaces, notably depending on the type of use and the user’s « level of expertise » in the area of statistics. In this connection, the system will contain a critical apparatus paired with a data series, shedding light on them as to possible semantical variations. To achieve these objectives, the project can count on the experience of three university technical experts: the CHDJ in the critical and statistical integration area, the LIBD for its experience in the domain of analysis and setting up data bases (and most particularly temporal data bases) and the CITA for needs analysis and the socio-technical evaluation of information systems. We note that the Infopole I.S., which participates in the project as a sub-contractor, supports the co-ordinator in the administrative part of his task.

Practically speaking, the project is set up in two phases. At the end of the first phase, a
prototype has been proposed, conceived on the basis of initial user surveys, and on the integration and conceptual analysis of statistics. The validity of this prototype has been tested and evaluated within each user member organization of the partnership but also by other types of users, to be identified. The prototype moreover includes a data entry sub-system, permitting the technological transfer of figures and published information towards the databases. After consolidation of the prototype and still based on needs specified analysis, the second phase will be dedicated to the development of a use sub-system as well as to creating a Website. To achieve this task, a market study will be carried out in order to find a sub-contractor able to meet the demands that will have been formulated. At the same time, this phase will allow us to test and evaluate the final application, identify opportunities for its management and describe its demands in terms of maintenance, but also to define the conditions of transferability of this pilot–project to other areas of administrative statistics.


- Contact person (project's coordinator):

Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL)
Centre d’Histoire du Droit et de la Justice (CHDJ)
Fréderic Vesentini
Collège Erasme
Place Blaise Pascal 1
Tel : 010 47 48 67
Fax : 010 47 49 63


Coordinator Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL)
Centre d’Histoire du Droit et de la Justice (CHDJ)

Partner 1 Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix (FUNDP)
Laboratoire d’Ingénierie des applications de bases de données (LIBD)

Partner 2 SPC Justice
Service of Criminal Politics

Partner 3 Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix (FUNDP)
Cellule Interfacultaire de Technology Assessment (CITA)

Partner 4 StatBel

Partner 5 Universiteit Gent (UG)
Vakgroep Nieuwste Geschiedenis

Partner 6 General Archives of the Kingdom and State Archives in the Provinces

Parnter 7 National Institute of Criminalistics and Criminology
Department of Criminology

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