Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Library and Links: Overview: United States Institute of Peace

Library and Links: Overview: United States Institute of Peace

This week, I've selected the United States Institute of Peace's Digital Library. This organization received a grant to collect, scan, and feature peace treaties put together in 1988 and later to contribute to their mission to strengthen the worldwide access of documents that feature the efforts to prevent, manage and resolve international conflict. As of now the Digital Library features three collections: Peace Agreements Digital Collection, Truth Commissions Digital Collection, and Oral Histories Project on Stability Operations.

According the digital library's website, the US Institute for Peace created the digital library to utilize technology to strengthen preventive diplomacy and increase ease of access to these hard-to-reach documents. One collection, the Peace Agreements, will accept any official peace agreement document that ended any kind of inter- and intra- state conflicts worldwide since 1988. The other collection, Truth Commissions, acquires any decrees establishing truth commissions and similar bodies of inquiry around the world and the reports published by such groups. The third collection is collecting full-text interviews of individuals involved in stability operations, namely in Afghanistan or Iraq.

As for metadata, the collections are organized by country. In the Peace Agreement Collections, some countries have a pdf copy of the peace agreement, so the user can see it in its original language and type and marginal notes that have been added to the document itself; but others just have a transcribed and typed version on the US Institute of Peace website. For the Truth Commission Collections, each country has a list of the names of different organizations (sometimes huperlinked to take you to their homepage, but sometimes it's just an explanation posted on the website. US Institute of Peace work in the different metadata elements in tiny print on the bottom. The third collection, Oral Histories on Stability Operations, each stability operation has its own section with a list of interviews to access through pdf files. The interviews are divided up by personnel and date of interview.

Each of the items featured in the US Institute of Peace was selected with the motive to educate people on the state of international conflict management, so the documents featured are all of an important cultural nature, along with the full text transcribed interviews. The collection is not much to look at, but the content is pretty weighty.

According to the website, the digital library was built to benfit an audience of social work students, along with political science students and diplomats, historians, and the US Institute of Peace's students.

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