Ten experts who worked on data processing, database representation, and generating analytical
reports documenting large scale human rights violations tell how they created and used information systems.
The reader can learn how to collect testimonies from a wide range of deponents,
standardize concepts and vocabularies to create common categories across thousands of
testimonies, design the computer data entry screens, structure the data into relational databases,
and then how to adapt a database to meet the changing criteria imposed by changing circumstances.
There are discussions about how to create statistical tables and charts and innovative
methods to make supportable inferences about the magnitude of violence and its characteristics in
time and space. The development of thesauri of vocabulary for use in reducing narrative information
to coded form is discussed in several contexts. The appendixes provide sample pages from the
working documents used on several projects.
Every paper includes or references a section on “Lessons Learned,” discussing problems, solutions,
and recommendations for others. The Lessons Learned sections and the cited resources
provide a guide to running large-scale databases with a high level of effectiveness and efficiency.
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