Przeszłość Demograficzna Polski

Poland's Demographic Past

ISSN: 0079-7189    OAI    DOI: 10.18276/pdp.2016.4.38-05

Issue archive / 38, 2016, nr 4
Metoda badania wiarygodności masowych źródeł historycznych, baz danych i opracowań badawczych
(Method of testing the reliability of mass historical sources, databases and research studies)

Authors: Konrad Wnęk
Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Wydział Historyczny
Keywords: Benford’s law databases historical demography mass research criticism of historical sources
Data publikacji całości:2016
Page range:16 (119-134)
Cited-by (Crossref) ?:


The article presents the idea of applying Benford’s law to check the reliability of historical sources of mass character and to detect possible adulterations that could appear in scientific studies containing large amounts of numerical data. In order to verify the feasibility of implementation in historical research, the analysis has been based on one historical source, two research studies and one database. As a result of the tests, statistical material was collected and then compared with the Benford distribution for the leading number. The possibility of conducting internal criticism of mass sources was confirmed and synthetic measures were proposed as a tool for verifying the reliability of sources, in which many numerical data are present.
Download file

Article file


1.Benford, Frank. „The Law of Anomalous Numbers”. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 78 (1938), 4: 551–572.
2.Campbell, William Wallace. „Biographical Memoir Simon Newcomb 1835–1909”. National Academy of Sciences, 1916. Dostęp 20.03.2017. biographical-memoirs/memoir-pdfs/newcomb-simon.pdf.
3.Cover, Thomas M., Joy A. Thomas. Elements of Information Theory. New York: Wiley, 1991.
4.Diaconis, Persi. „The Distribution of Leading Digits and Uniform Distribution Mod 1”. The Annals of Probability 5 (1977), 1: 72–81. Dostęp 20.30.2017. http://www.jstor. org/stable/2242803.
5.Fewster, Rachel M. „A Simple Explanation of Benford’s Law”. The American Statistician 63 (2009), 1: 26–32. Dostęp 20.30.2017.
6.Hill, Theodore P. „Base-invariance Implies Benford’s Law”. Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society 123 (1995), 3: 887–895.
7.Judge, George, Laura Schechter. „Detecting Problems in Survey Data Using Benford’s Law”. The Journal of Human Resources 44 (2009), 1: 1–24. Dostęp 23.03.2017. http://
8.Kula, Witold. Problemy i metody historii gospodarczej. Warszawa: PWN, 1963.
9.Logan, Jonothan L., Samuel A. Goudsmit. „The First Digit Phenomenon”. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 122 (1978), 4: 193–197. Dostęp 20.30.2017.
10.Newcomb, Simon. „Note on the Frequency of Use of the Different Digits in Natural Numbers”. American Journal of Mathematics 4 (1881), 1: 39–40.
11.Norberg, Arthur L. „Simon Newcomb’s Early Astronomical Career”. Isis 69 (1978), 2: 209–225. Dostęp 23.03.2017.
12.Pericchi, Luis, David Torres. „Quick Anomaly Detection by the Newcomb–Benford Law, with Applications to Electoral Processes Data from the USA, Puerto Rico and Venezuela”. Statistical Science 26 (2011), 4: 502–516. Dostęp 23.03.2017. http://www.
13.Raimi, Ralph A. „The First Digit Phenomenon Again”. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 129 (1985), 2: 211–219. Dostęp 23.03.2017. http://www.jstor. org/stable/986989.
14.Raimi, Ralph A. „The First Digit Problem”. The American Mathematical Monthly 83 (1976), 7: 521–538.
15.Szołtysek, Mikołaj. Rethinking East-Central Europe: family systems and co-residence in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Vol. 1–2. Bern: Peter Lang, 2015.
16.Wnęk, Konrad. Własność nieruchomości w Krakowie w połowie XIX w. Kraków: Historia Iagellonica, 2011.