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Communication in Crisis / Large databases

Large databases

Following WWII the systematic collection of data related to social crisis has come out from the captivity of historical sciences. The data collection nowadays can be considered not only as a means of the accumulation of knowledge but as a means of early warning of social crisis. Data are indispensable for the effective intervention into social crises as well.

The aim of the present chapter is to give introduction into the architecture of some online databases that can be used for detection and early warning of social crises.

Two sorts of databases can be distinguished. there are databases collecting and storing qualitative and qualitative data. first the qualitative databases will be discussed.

Qualitative databases

1.Youtube, Google, Facebook

YouTube was founded on February 14, 2005 by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim. YouTube has been ranked quite soon as the third most visited website on the internet, behind Google and Facebook.

Being one of the most popular genre of social media YouTube made possible sharing of audiovisual content between everybody who have broadband internet access. YouTube can be considered as a living archive of audiovisual content. The technology used is Adobe Flash Video and HTML5 to display content which is generated by the users themselves. In 2012 YouTube was serving more than four billion videos a day. This number is much greater than the number of viewers of the prime time audience of the three US TV networks combined.

In November 2011, the YoutTube site was integrated with the Google+ social networking site and the Chrome web browser, allowing youtube videos to be viewed from with Google.

Jawed Karim stated that YouTube was conceived to be a site where anyone could upload content that everyone else could view. In December 2006, Time magazine compared YouTube in video browsing to the Wal-Mart supercenter. It is true, that in both places everything is there. YoTube makes possible to find the videos we want to see according to theme and frequency of usage.

In order to look for information concerning to the crisis situations in the world we should choose the category of „news and politics”. The most frequently viewed videos will be followed by the less frequently viewed ones. For purposes of analysis the most frequently viewed videos are interesting. The videos dealing with conflict in the world provide information concerning the place and the protagonists of the conflict.

In the course of the qualitative analysis of the crisis concerned we can resort to the Google Trends, which is a real time index of the volume of queries that viewers enter into Google. The volume of queries on the antagonists of the individual social conflicts during a specific period of time may be helpful to predict the escalation of the given conflict in a given location. We can assume that the daily and weekly indices would correlate with various indicators of crisis and consequently may be very helpful for early warning and prediction.

We know that the internet is widely used for travel planning which indicates that google trends data concerning vacation destinations may be useful to detect peaceful territories which are free of conflict.

Facebook is a social networking platform launched in February 2004. The number of users in 2012 has exceeded one billion. Release of statistics by double click showed that Facebook has become the most visited website of those tracked by double click,

Facebook has emerged as one monolithic application using a combination storing data across distributed machines. A tailing architecture is used, new events are stored in log files, and the logs are tailed. The system rolls these events up and writes them into storage. The user interface then pulls the data out and displays it to users.

Data is read from these log files using Ptail, an internally built tool to aggregate data from multiple scribe stores. The analytical potential of the aggregate data from Facebook has not yet been fully exploited. Users provide continuously data stemming from their mode of behavior and their will to communicate. these data can be used for analysis of potential conflicts between various groups in the society.

2. Professional qualitative databases

Texts concerning the various aspects of social conflicts can be found in the wikipedia which is an internet based ever growing body of knowledge. Entries of the wikipedia frequently refer to sources that can be assessed in the internet. Books can be reached through the sites of http://books.google.com or http://archive.org/details/texts.

Most of the journals can be found in the internet as well. The list of databases where journal articles can be reached is below:

List of websites: Springer: http://link.springer.com/ , Jstor: http://www.jstor.org/ , ScienceDirect: http://www.sciencedirect.com/ , Sage: http://www.sagepub.com/home.nav

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Each of these databases make possible queries according to words, phrases, authors, titles and subjects.

3.Human relations Area File

The most comprehensive online database of human affairs in cultural context is the Human Relations Area Files (http://www.yale.edu/hraf/.). HRAF is a scholarly organization in the field of cultural anthropology. Founded in 1949 at Yale University, HRAF is a not-for-profit membership consortium of universities, colleges, and research institutions. Its mission is to provide information that facilitates the cross-cultural study of human behavior, society and culture.

In the 1930s HRAF grew out of the efforts of the behavioral scientists at Yale's Institute of Human rRelations to develop a classification of cultural information by subject, providing quick access to research materials. Nowadys hraf has developed a dynamic, fully-indexed electronic collections on the world wide web. HRAF has two electronic collections: eHRAF world cultures and eHRAF archaeology. Availability of HRAF collections, however, is limited to members of the hraf consortium.

The services of HRAF make possible the classification of content stored in the archives according to the conception of the individual researcher (ford et al. 1945).

eHRAF Archaeology

This is an online, full-text database of prehistoric information throughout the world. The database is organized into archeological traditions and the text is numerically subjectindexed according to HRAF’s Outline of Cultural Materials. This subject retrieval system extends search capability well beyond the usual keyword searching allowing search in non-English texts.

eHRAF Archaelogy is constructed by regions and archaeological traditions. Each tradition consists of a general summary and full-text documents including books, journal articles, dissertations, and manuscripts. This archaeological database provides researchers and students access to archaeological materials for comparative studies within and across regions.

eHRAF World Cultures

eHRAF World Cultures is an annually-growing online cross-cultural database that contains information on all aspects of cultural and social life. Its uniqueness is that the information is organized into cultures and ethnic groups and the full-text sources are subject-indexed at the paragraph.

This multi-cultural database provides i in-depth information on all aspects of cultural and social life. Each culture or ethnic group contains a variety of source documents (books, articles, and dissertations) that have been indexed and organized according to HRAF's comprehensive culture and subject classification systems: the Outline of World Cultures and the Outline of Cultural Materials. The database appeals to many academic disciplines in the social sciences, humanities, medicine, and any other area with an interest in cultural diversity and conflict potential.

Access to the online eHRAF World Cultures (http://ehrafworldcultures.yale.edu ) database requires membership (or temporary password). A free month trial for eHRAF World Cultures available for interested individuals and a semester-long trial is available for institutions.

Quantitative databases

Uppsala Conflict Data Program

The qualitative databases make possible the identification of the setting of the conflict including the major antagnosists and trhe historical, economic, sociological, cultural circumstances. Helped by the quantitative databases the scope of the analysis can be further extended including the number of victims and the level of the conflict (local, regional, national, international).

The Conflict Data Program operated by the University of Uppsala is collecting data on organised violence. The Progtam’s major concern is gathering qualitative and quantitative data on all sorts of organised violence concerning violence between states and within states. Researchery, journalists and policí makers can use the data collected.

The UCDP has been launched in the mid 1980s when the demand for systematic and global data on armed conflict became conspicious as a result of the ever-growing empirical peace and conflict research. The program collects data on “armed conflict” that is defined as fighting exceeding 25 deaths between two antagonists of which one at least is a state. In addtition the program collects data on “non-state conflict” as well. In the early 2000s the program has put the database online where data are availabe for anyone, free of charge.

The program is actively involved in dissemination of konowledge concerning the trends and the dynamics of armed conflict in the world. The UCDP’s homepage is located at http://www.ucdp.uu.se . The on-line database of organised violence, accessible at http://www.ucdp.uu.se/gpdatabase/search.php. The database provides free information on state-based and non-state conflicts, as well as one-sided violence. It also includes descriptive information on causes and histories of conflicts and one-sided violence and brief descriptions of rebel groups, governments and related items.

In order to define the varieties of organised violence the program has developed the concepts of “state-based conflict”, “non-state conflict” and “one-sided violence”.

State-based conflict refers to what most people intuitively perceive as “war”; fighting either between two states, or between a state and a rebel group that challenges it. The UCDP defines an armed state-based conflict as: “.The program’s definition differs somewhat from other data collection programs, which only counts conflicts where at least 1,000 deaths have been recorded during one calendar year. In UCDP’ terms such an armed conflict is labelled as having the intensity level of “war”, whilst armed conflicts that reap between 25 and 999 battle-related deaths are seen as having the intensity of a “minor” armed conflict.

In non-state conflicts none of the warring parties can be a state. Such conflicts are taken into account if they reach the 25 battle-related deaths threshold. Examples of non-state conflicts are, for instance, the Fatah-Hamas fighting in 2006 and 2007, and clashes between organised ethnic groups

The term “one-sided violence” refers to the use of armed force by the government of a state or by a formally organized group against civilians which results in at least 25 deaths in a year”.

UCDP datasets

The datasets of the UCDP can be used in research aimed at to respond to the following basic question: Why do escalate some conficts into armed fight while oher conflcts not?

The datasets are free to use. They can be reached at the site II. UCDP conflict encyclopedia (ucdp databases)

1. Georeferenced event dataset.

This dataset makes possible to create maps demonstrating the space dimension of conflicts (Eck 2012).

2. UCDP External support data.

These data are referring those who supported between 1975 - 2009 (Croicu et al. 2011).

ii/3 UCDP actor dataset.

This dataset consists of data of all actors participating in armed conflicts between 1975- 2011 (Petterson, Themnér 2012).

4. UCD/prio armed conflict dataset.

This dataset contains data form all armed conflicts between 1946 - 2011 where at least one of parties was state (Wallensteen et al. 2012).

4/a Dataset of intrastate armed conflict

Chatacteristics of the most intense conflicts between 1946 - 2011 (0-10 scale)

4/b UCDP dyadic dataset.

Change of conflict between dyadic actors between 1946 - 2011 (Themnér 2012).

4/c UCDP conflict termination dataset.

Length of conflicts (1946 - 2009) (Joakim 2010).

5. UCDP peace agreement dataset.

Data of peace treaties undersignes between 1975 - 2011 (Högbladh 2012).

6 . UCDP conflict database of categorical variables.

This datasetfuyses the cdp/prio armed conflict dataset and the ucdp dyadic dataset 1989-2009 (Högbladh 2008).

7. UCDP non-state conflict dataset.

This dataset consists of data of conflicts between non-state parties in the period of 1989 - 2011.(Petterson 2012).

8. UCDP one-sided violence dataset.

Conflicts between armed organizations and civil population between 1989 - 2011 (Petterson 2012).

9 .UCDP Battle-related deaths dataset.

Death numbers between 1989 - 2011 (Sundberg 2012).

10. Managing intrastate low-intensity conflict (milc) dataset

The dataset consists of data of low intensity intrastate conflicts and interventions of third parties (UNO, Foreign powers, NATO) (Möller, Heldt 2007).

International comparative survey research

The datasets stemming from the sociological survey research carried out simultaneously in many counries can contribute substantially to the understanding of the underlying causes of conflict and social crisis in the individual countries.

The European Values Study started in 1981, when a thousand citizens in the European Member States of that time were interviewed using standardized questionnaires. Every nine years, the survey is repeated in an increasing number of countries.

The European Values Study is a large-scale, cross-national, and longitudinal survey research program on basic human values. It provides insights into the ideas, beliefs, preferences, attitudes, values and opinions of citizens all over Europe. It is a unique research project on how Europeans think about life, family, work, religion, politics and society.

A rich academic literature dealing with cultural diversity has been created around the original and consecutive surveys and numerous other works have made use of the findings.

The World Value Survey has grown out from the European Values Survey. (http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/)

This initiative is a worldwide network of social scientists studying changing values and their impact on social and political life. The WVS in collaboration with EVS (European Values Study) carried out representative national surveys in 97 societies containing almost 90 percent of the world's population. These surveys show pervasive changes in what people want out of life and what they believe. In order to monitor these changes, the EVS/WVS has executed waves of surveys. Resusts can be reached at the site of Leibniz Institue for the Social Sciences: (http://zacat.gesis.org/webview/)

The third important source of data is the European Social Survey (the ESS) that was established in 2001. ESS is an academically-driven social survey designed to chart and explain the interaction between Europe's changing institutions and the attitudes beliefs and behaviour patterns of its diverse populations.(ess@city.ac.uk) This biennial cross-national survey covers more than thirty nations and employs rigorous standardized methodologies. (http://europeansocialsurvey.org/)

These surveys are invaluable sources of data for research aimed at to revealing the sociological circumstances of conflicts past and present in Europe and in the world (Csepeli, Prazsák 2011). Values that are of primary importance in social conflicts are especially well represented among the issues studied systematically in EVS, WVS and ESS (Schwartz, 2003)

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