RDF-HRD Tool Selection

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Participants Alix Tanya Milena Elizabeth Kody Michael Morgan

To make sure the resource we build is useful, we narrowly defined it to fit a particular need: what questions do we need to ask of a human rights documentation project to understand what responsible data challenges will they face, and ultimately what recommendations can we make to them.

The output we are working towards is that set of questions.

To develop a first draft of questions, we decided to focus on a particular type of documentation project, and we chose a land rights documentation project.

This set of questions is designed to surface the needs, the wants, and the contextual and resource constraints for a documentation project whose answers prompt strategic decision-making and critical consideration of how to design an effective, responsible, and appropriately ambitious project.


  • Who would want to stop you from doing this work?
  • Who is your audience and what value does your project provide that audience?
  • What needs does it satisfy?
  • How will it induce or compel change?
  • What impact will it have on your ability to do other things?
  • Who else is doing this type of work?
  • Who would want to stop you from doing this work?
  • What will happen if this information is lost or accessed by an adversary?
  • What types of expertise will you need from outside of the organization or group?
  • Who do you need to convince?
  • What do you need to show?

Project Infrastructure

  • Who is collecting the data?
  • Do you have the opportunity to train?
  • Is there a common language you work in?
  • What people, partners, allies are involved?
  • Are the communities you are working with using social media?
  • What questions do you want to be able to answer?
  • How do you plan to structure your data?
  • What devices are you currently using?
  • How much freedom do you have to experiment with new tools?
  • How do you want your success to be evaluated?
  • What would a pilot or proof of concept look like?

Data Collection

  • What other data is out there that would supplement what you are collecting (cadastra, archives, open data, court cases)
  • How do you collect this data?
  • What kinds of data do you want to collect?
    • video, audio, interviews, social media data
  • How can you minimize the data you collect that you don't need?

Data Processing and Communication

  • Where does the data need to go?
  • Is there a feedback loop? How does the data influence the people that collected it?

Data Afterlife

  • What is the legacy of this data?
  • How do you see the data you are collecting being useful to other initiatives?
  • What do you need to do to make it useful and shareable?
  • How do you plan on making the methods you use transparent?
  • How can you provide context to the data so others not directly involved in your project can use it?