May 9 2014

Social Science Sites of the Week from LSE Libray

In the news this week ordination of women priests: see our resources.

British library launch crowd sourcing metadata project game

In December 2013 the British Library posted over million public domain images onto Flickr Commons. They have now established a project in collaboration with Tiltfactor which will use crowdsourcing through games to help add more information or metadata to some of the items. A digital gaming platform developed by Tiltfactor Laboratories  at Dartmouth College is being used for 3 games. The first one called Ships Tag was launched recently. Participants are asked to describe images using tags.

2014 Better Life Index released by OECD

This annual survey of OECD countries seek to answer the question. What do people want from life? It has been in operation since 2011. You can view results on the interactive map by region. and age group. It also cross compares life and considers the impact of the economic crisis on well-being in individual nations.

Composition of Religious and Ethnic Groups Data

Free access from Cline Center for Democracy at the University of Illinois. to statistical data which provides information on religious and ethnic diversity in over 100 nations worldwide from the 1940s to the present day. The main data sources used for compliation are the Britannica Book of the Year, the CIA World Factbook and the World Almanac Book of Facts. It is designed to help political and social scientists consider the extent and nature of ethnic and religious divisions within certain countries.

Also available from the centre: The Social, Political and Economic Event Database (SPEED) Project – Data. Comprising data on destabilising events such as coups, revolutions and political and economic upheaval, the analysis has been made from a global news archive. Materials generally date from 1945 onwards. Event file data and visual representations can be downloaded. For example the Google Earth File: 1979-2009 Sample Set contains  data of three types of civil unrest events for five countries (, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, the Philippines, and Sierra Leone) for the period between 1979-2008.

Other useful sources of armed conflict data include:

  • FIRST: Facts on International Relations and Security Trends
    Excellent free database maintained by leading research bodies (including Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research). Get chronologies of conflicts and security related events, country data, statistics on conflicts, military expenditure and reports on human rights and human security worldwide.
  • CSCW and Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, provide free access to some conflict data covering 1946 to the present day. It includes battlefield deaths, georeferenced conflict sites, data on civil war and intrastate conflict.
  • For a longer scale picture the Correlates of War Project provides free access to data from the 19th century onwards . It includes intra and extra state conflict data, alliances and diplomatic exchanges.

LSE staff and students can also use these subscription resources:

  •  IISS Armed Conflict database . Maintained by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). It Includes reports, data and analysis of international and national conflicts and terrorism worldwide from 1997 onwards.
  • The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), is a vast archive of social science datasets. It includes large numbers of datasets suitable for International relations students. Examples are: Middle-East Political Events data 1979-1995; and African Coup events data, 1986-1990.

Global Governance Monitor Tool from the Council on Foreign Relations.
Aims to monitor how the international community is doing in dealing with security threats. It has a timeline of key events in preventing war from 1648 to the present day. Other features of the site include: A matrix of Core United Nations peacekeeping documents, lists of UN missions, essays on key issues such as preventing armed conflict and bibliographies of further recommended readings.

Serendipity: A New  Search  Tool for Open Access Educational Materials
An interesting  project from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (Ecuador). It aims to help users quickly locate high quality open educational courseware resources. A conference paper by Nelson Piedra given at OCWC conference 2014 explains its purpose more fully.  For instance if you search broadly for politics results are divided by OER (open education resources) and Open Courseware you can also sort by language, location and license. It also has a very interesting visual display

In the news this week: South Africa Elections
See our recommended research resources on the Elections blog.
Try the LSE Library Africa Guide for links to websites and subscription databases
Also from South Africa:

Forward to Freedom:  The History of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in Britain 1959-1994.
Great new website  funded by the Barry Amiel & Norman Melburn Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund. It provides free access to a wealth of resources. These include: a history of the campaign and boycotts,  oral history accounts from activists  and original documents. The latter includes annual reports, campaign pamphlets, submissions to parliament, plus images of posters badges and other ephemera. The physical national Anti-Apartheid Movement archives are held at the Bodleian Library in the University of Oxford and the site has links to other local group archives.

Finally the French national library BNF Bibliothèque nationale de France has added some curiosities of its map collection to pin interest.  See the humorous diplomatic atlas of Asia and Europe from 1904 where Russia is likened to a black octopus with many arms grabbing and ‘Hark hark-  the dogs do bark’ a political map of warring factions in Europe from 1914. The main map collections can be viewed online via Gallica

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