The retirement of HuriSearch
HuriSearch was developed as the multi-lingual human rights search engine, providing a one-point access to information published on over 5000 websites of human rights organisations world-wide. It also aimed to provide more visibility to websites of NGOs world-wide that often do not appear at the top of the result lists of general search engines – even though these sites can contain the most relevant and up-to-date information.
HuriSeach indexed and crawled about 8 to 10 million web pages. Search results could be filtered by individual source, type of source and country.
Work on HuriSearch was started in 2003 and it was officially launched on 10 December 2006. Initially, HURIDOCS collaborated with FAST Search & Transfer – as from 2010 our technology partner was Dominique Bejean of Eolya Consulting.
The project was made possible with support from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and other donors investing in better technology for human rights. Our staff put considerable efforts into identifying the relevant sites to keep the engine updated. As the funding for the project became scarce in 2012, it significantly limited our ability to responsibly maintain and upgrade HuriSearch. In 2016, HuriSearch was taken off line.
We have received a number of emails inquiring about the fate of HuriSearch, and we regret that we are unable to sustain this tool. We feel that these inquiries show tremendous appreciation for this tool from the human rights community. It also underscores the important role that the tool played in the daily work of human rights advocates and organisations.
Now, in 2018, we hope that human rights defenders are able to use new search resources and services to carry out similar, or even better searches on the human rights information they seek. Here are some existing resources and general tips that human rights defenders can use:
- The United Nations Office of the Human Rights Commissioner (OHCHR) offers a variety of human rights-focused guides and databases, as well as links to external resources that could be useful for human rights groups and researchers.
- University of Minnesota Human Rights Library has a large collection of documents and articles related to human rights in eight languages.
- First Draft News offers practical and ethical guidance in finding, verifying and publishing content from the social web. Even though the project’s main aim is to fight mis- and disinformation online, some if its resources, like this quick video guide on mastering Google search, could be used by human rights defenders to tailor research settings for more precise results when using the Google search engine.
- This Ahrefs blog post offers a complete list of all Google search operators, which could help human rights defenders and researchers take their search to a more advanced level.
- DuckDuckGo, one of the most private search engines, offers a search syntax guide to help its users narrow down their queries.
- StartPage, a search engine that does not track searches or record IP addresses is another option that human rights defenders might opt for to conduct a secure and private search online.