The Intermediate Data Structure (IDS) provides a standard format for storing and sharing individual-level longitudinal life-course data (Alter and Mandemakers 2014; Alter, Mandemakers and Gutmann 2009). Once the data are in the IDS format, a standard set of programs can be used to extract data for analysis, facilitating the analysis of data across multiple databases. Currently, life-course databases store information in a variety of formats, and the process of translating data into IDS can be long and tedious.
The paper describes the methods used to create a database to study the fall of fertility in Tasmania, a colony of Australia, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The database was initially created from digitised Tasmanian vital registration data using techniques of family reconstitution.