Sunday, March 19, 2006

Database Diplomacy

As we reach the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq today, it is worth noting how certain kinds of information have accrued over the course of the war in online databases.

On the pacifist side there is the Iraq Body Count, which has been tallying civilian fatalities in Iraq, based on news accounts, with both minimum and maximum figures that are regularly updated.

On the other side of the political spectrum, there is the Iraq Memory Foundation, which is cataloguing oral histories of life under the Hussein regime.

Then there is the Coalition Casualty Count, which offers an interesting explanation of its methodology for aggregating data. Recently, the site was redesigned with a blog format. Note that CCC makes appeals to both humanitarian and patriotic impulses.

The developing field of "database aesthetics" may offer some insights.

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