The Documentalist

An Oldy But Goody: Thoughts For Constructing a Human Rights Community Space

Posted in Uncategorized by Sarah on January 12, 2010

We want to know what you think!

"Archives Shaping Man" image courtesy of Randolf County Archives

One of the goals for the CRL Human Rights Electronic Evidence Study is to organize an on-line community space where activists and archivists can access  resources and share information about the role of digital technology in human rights documentation and archiving.  With this goal in mind, Sarah (the CRL Project Coordinator in Human Rights) has been trolling the web for information on how various technologies are currently serving human rights endeavors, as well as models for how to structure and share information for on-line communities.    With this goal in mind, here is an old sites with some good information.  This might be the sort of information we want to consider pulling into the on-line community space once we start building it, so please give us feed back.  Is this sort of information useful?  Do you have suggestions for what you would like to see in such a space or what sort of functionality would server your needs in human rights archiving?  Please let us know!

Derechos Human Rights Report: “Concise Guide to Human Rights on the Internet”

In September 1998, Derechos Human Rights (an online human rights group dedicated to supporting international human rights law) published an online report called the “Concise Guide to Human Rights on the Internet.”   Originally published in 1996, this 1998 version recognized the increasing importance of the internet to human rights activism and sought to help users begin to figure out how to navigate the increasing amount of human rights information available on-line:

Since this guide was first published two years ago, there has been an explosion of human rights information on the World Wide Web (web). Not only have many non-government organizations (NGOs) gotten online and began publishing their materials, but international organizations have begun to make large portions of their materials available online, making research much easier than in the past. Academic and legal journals, moreover, have begun to offer at least some of their articles in the web as well. The growth of the web, however, has also meant that finding the desired materials is likely to be more difficult for those not already acquainted with the major human rights sites. Fortunately, most of the major sites have done a very good job of compiling lists of links to other sites with human rights materials, so that using them as starting points is likely to lead you to the material you seek. Those sites and the other tools described here should help you find you what you need.

The guide provides Web-links to sources of information in human righst and could serve as a partial model for the kinds of information we’d like to incorporate into our own site as we develop it.  Many of the links in the Derechos Report still access resources and group Webpages, but many of the links no longer function.  Due to the nature of electronic communication and digital documentation, information is in constant need of updating in order to be informative and useful, but this sort of updating appears to be quite challenging.  We thus propose that a dynamic community environment that members contribute to on a regular basis as part of their daily interaction might be one means of overcoming this particular challenge.  Please let us know if you have ideas about how this can be accomplished in straight forward ways that would be useful for you.

Derechos Human Rights Links

Derechos, through its partnership with Equipo Nizkor, offers a “Human Rights Links” page that is more straightforwardly organized and seems to present more up-to-date information.  The page is available in English or Spanish and offers a list of thematic categories such as “Campaigns and Actions,” “Law,” or “General Websites” that offer more specific resources within them.


2 Responses

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  1. Tessa Fallon said, on January 27, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Here is a general suggestion:

    I would love a some sort of news aggregate for current stories, new tools, announcements, etc. Right now, I follow news on Google Reader, Twitter, Facebook, various blogs, and about, oh, a thousand different list-servs. It would be nice to have a central location or feed for the most popular/relevant news. If members could submit or share via a tool like Digg, it would be most convenient. Ideally, some sort of tool that would live in your browser toolbar.

    • Sarah said, on January 28, 2010 at 8:46 pm

      Thanks Tessa–I’ll talk to our tech folks and see what the possibilities are.

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