HURIDOCS researches and develops tools and techniques specifically tailored to the human rights context. This research is linked to the needs of human rights NGOs, as detected through our capacity building work.
The scope of our research and development is very wide, and can be defined as follows: if its helps human rights NGOs to manage their information more efficiently and advocate or litigate more effectively, then it is part of our scope.
- We track and test existing tools and technologies that can be harnessed for human rights. We find there is an amazing potential to use low cost and powerful ICT solutions, which are currently unknown and under-utilized.
- When we find a gap, we develop new and innovative solutions.
Tracking and testing
Our research and development program consists of tracking and testing existing tools and technologies, to see how they can be used by human rights NGOs, to provide powerful, simple and low-cost solutions.
- Some tools we are tracking: WordPress to power advocacy websites, Google Apps to provide low cost and secure email communications, Knowledge Tree as an online data repository, Managing News to scan media content.
- Some technologies we are tracking and testing: Solr to power search engines, ExtJS to build Web 2.0 intefaces for online databases and intranets, Google Charting tools to power online reporting systems.
Development of new tools
We develop new tools when these five conditions are met:
- We find a particularly difficult information management challenge or inefficiency.
- This challenge is common to many NGOs, meaning there is a generic need thats worth investing in.
- This need cannot be filled conveniently or safely by existing tools.
- We feel we really understand the problem that needs to be solved, and are confident that we have a prototype for the right solution.
- We find a first partner (who will use the tool) and a donor (who will fund its development).
Tools we have developed, or which are under development
- OpenEvsys: a database software system to document human rights violations, track victims and interventions. Status: ready. Learn more.
- AeroCMS: a web content management system designed to handle extremely large human rights websites, with tens of thousands of documents. Status: ready. Learn more.
- Caselaw Analyser: an innovative online caselaw database, which makes it easy to find, browse and annotate caselaw relevant for litigation. Status: the Caselaw Analyser for decisions from the African human rights system is ready at http://caselaw.ihrda.org. Learn more. A prototype for the Inter-American human rights system is currently under development and can be found at http://cejil.huriweb.org/.
- CaseBox: an integrated case management database, document storage solution and task management system for litigation NGOs. Status: ready, with documentation to be completed later in 2013.Learn more.
- HuriSearch: a search engine that indexes over 5000 human rights websites, and can be adapted to power vertical search engines of other NGOs or networks (child rights search, refugee search, etc). Status: ready. Learn more.
In addition to these generic tools, we also develop custom systems for specific NGOs as part of our capacity building work: advocacy webasites that offer live display of data on violations, intranets to handle communication with litigation leads, and data repositories.