FITS: sharing tools to support documentation efforts with organisations in Mexico city

In August, Wingu invited HURIDOCS to participate in the 4th edition of the Social Innovation and Technology Festival in Mexico city, to talk about “Tools to document and build collective memory”. You can download here the pdf presentation.

The festival brought together more than 500 people from different organisations, offering a diverse agenda and a space for organisations to learn more about technology, new initiatives and opportunities.

On behalf of HURIDOCS, I facilitated a session to discuss methodologies, practices, and technologies that support the documentation of human rights violations. I had the opportunity to share with participants:

  • the “Who did what to whom?” data model and the events based methodology to spark conversation about how to start a documentation project and common mistakes to avoid,
  • learnings that were shared during the Community Discussion about Documenting the Disappeared, and
  • case studies of organisations around the world that are documenting human rights violations and the platforms they are using.

Exploring documentation platforms

One helpful output from this session is a list of criteria to use when choosing a technology platform for documenting violations (but can also be useful for other purposes):

  • What is the purpose of this documentation process?
  • Which type of outcomes are you expecting from the process? Needs: wished vs minimum?
  • How many people will be involved in the documentation process? And under which circumstances?
  • How is the data collected?
  • Is there anyone or any group who might want to have access to this information? Would anyone be interested in targeting or damaging your data? What could they do to do so?
  • Which capacities do you have within your organisation or group?
  • Does the platform you are looking at provide support? How easy is it to migrate the information from that platform to another one?
  • Is the platform open source? Has it been audited?

In the context of discussing documentation platforms, I shared the latest improvements in our Uwazi platform such as the addition of geolocation properties and better graphics that are allowing, for example, Hafiza Merkezi to analyse information on enforced disappearances in Turkey.

Additional resources and projects shared during the session:

Takeaways

For me, it was very interesting to learn about the different documentation-related needs of people based on their role in the organisation. what are some of the needs that people working on different areas of the organisations are trying to solve through documentation. Some participants were looking at documenting enforced disappearances, violence against women journalists or against LGBTIQ communities; while others were working on communications and need access to reliable information to support their campaigns. It is an important reminder for organisations to keep in mind the wide range of needs their team might have for a documentation platform.

This session also reaffirmed the need to more accessible descriptions of documentation methodologies. To that end, we are working on an introductory graphic to explain the events methodology and additional resources. Stay tuned for another blog post on the events methodology coming soon!

Thanks to the Wingu team for the invitation! And all the participants that shared with us their documentation questions and knowledge during the session. ¡Hasta pronto!

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