Research Tools: “Syrian Archive Catalogues War Atrocities Online”
From Deutsche Welle:
Two young men working from their homes in Berlin with 3,000 euros ($3,130) in funding have created a database of atrocities in the Syrian war that is being used as a source by the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as lawyers and activists all around the world.
The Syrian Archive, presented at the Chaos Computer Club in Hamburg on Wednesday, has so far documented more than 2,200 illegal actions in the ongoing five-and-a-half-year civil war with the help of a network of volunteers around the world, and especially in Syria, who verify the material.
The database collects raw and frequently gruesome video footage from Syria – often uploaded to YouTube – of the aftermath of airstrikes on hospitals, attacks with chlorine gas, cluster bombs, and other illegal weapons, by all sides, along with a location, date of recording and the source.
But there is always the inevitable problem of verifying sources in a war zone. That’s why they have a vetting procedure, [Jeff] Deutch [co-developer/editor] explains, during which they look at “how long [the new sources] have been reporting on issues, where they’ve been reporting – we have a list of questions we have to go through – and we look at whether they’re familiar to our network of activists, and whether the reporting they’ve been doing in the past has been reliable.” Al Khatib and Deutch also check whether the new sources are actually providing original material, rather than just aggregating footage from elsewhere.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.