CWGK is helping to define how scholars conduct historical research in the information age. With new ways of accessing and analyzing historical sources, CWGK will broaden and shape the new knowledge they will create. Thus, the benefits to scholars do not end at instant access to tens of thousands of transcribed and annotated documents from repositories across the nation. More importantly, CWGK’s powerful database will allow users sort, manipulate, and analyze this collection in profoundly revealing ways. Imagine what researchers will learn when they are able to follow individuals, businesses, commodities, military units, and governmental agencies across time and space. CWGK makes this kind of analysis possible.
In short, CWGK is far more than a collection of discrete texts. As a database-driven research collection, it will serve as a major resource for demographic and other statistical data. With the ability to “data mine” the entire collection, researchers will gain unprecedented insight into the role of social, economic, political, and cultural forces and networks in shaping American society in this era.