Human Rights Research Project
Digging Into Human Rights Data

Lecture: Digging into Human Rights Violation: What We Know and What We Don't

Tuesday, June 19, 2012
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
NCB 285
North Campus Building, Western University

Ben Miller (Assistant Professor, Departments of English and Communication, Georgia State University)
Karthikeyan Umapathy (Assistant Professor, School of Computing, University of North Florida)
Lu Xiao (Assistant Professor, Faculty of Information & Media Studies, the University of Western Ontario)

This 45 minute presentation will be followed by a 15 minute discussion.

Project description:

Unidentified victims, perpetrators, and details of human rights violations are camouflaged by the scale of archival records of witness reports; keyword based search is insufficient to extract them. Digging into Human Rights Violations will develop an automated reader for large text archives of human rights abuses that will reconstruct stories from fragments scattered across a collection, and an interface for navigating those stories. By improving on anaphora resolution techniques in Natural Language Processing for the connection of pronouns to specific nouns, this system will help researchers and courts reveal witnesses and patterns contained in their own collections. This project will read reports of historic disappearances and systemic violence in Guatemala, and potentially other data sets, and provide new methods and free tools for human rights advocates.
Lecture website: