Amnesty creates digital global human rights archive

Human rights organisation to create global archive designed to speed-up investigations and protect digital records of historical importance.

James Hayes | 23rd Jul 18
Image: Amnesty International

Amnesty International is to create a new digital archive for its International Secretariat that will enable secure access to data for up to 700 users across the human rights charity’s 20 international offices.

Built using cloud-based digital preservation software from Preservica, the archive will also enable Amnesty to digitally preserve and provide better access to records concerning its 57 years of history.

Amnesty’s International Secretariat contains a large archive of paper-based, digitised, and digital-first records actively collected by its global team as evidence in human rights violation cases throughout the world.

The International Secretariat has moved from a central base in London to open regional offices in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. The Archive of the International Secretariat has had to adapt to support staff regardless of their location or time zone.

The new digital archive is designed to enable Amnesty to ensure that it can retain and manage content that has long-term value to the organisation and others. It will also provide secure global access for staff working to assemble evidence for presentation to international bodies, and speed-up online discovery and the production of reports through the enriching of metadata (i.e., data that describes other data).

“Ensuring the secure capture of evidence of human rights abuses was a major factor in our decision to choose a system like Preservica,” said Bryony Hooper, Archivist at Amnesty International. “We needed to procure a digital preservation solution that could ensure the integrity and long term preservation of data, regardless of the format or medium. If Amnesty uses footage from a website to support a claim we make, we need to know that we can still access this content if we are challenged about it. In addition, our support of individuals and communities can span decades. And so access to prior information regarding their situation and the work Amnesty has done to support them is vital.”

Hooper added: “Digital evidence can come in all shapes and sizes. By providing a search platform such as Preservica’s Universal Access, we can enable staff to discover relevant resources while also maintaining appropriate access rights to some of our more sensitive data.”

“We’re delighted to be part of this important new initiative at Amnesty to empower the global team and future-proof evidence for future generations,” said Mike Quinn, CEO at Preservica. “We look forward to welcoming Amnesty International to our rapidly growing global user community.”