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Human Rights Documentation Initiative

The UT Libraries' Human Rights Documentation Initiative (HRDI) is committed to the long-term preservation of fragile and vulnerable records of human rights struggles worldwide, the promotion and secure usage of human rights archival materials, and the adv



  1. What types of resources can I find through the Human Rights Documentation Initiative website?

    The HRDI website provides access to archived human rights web content (see Archived Web Resources) as well as links and descriptions for other human rights related print materials on the UT Austin campus (see UT Collections). The Archived Web Resources may be accessed through a full-text search or browsed by HRDI Thesaurus Term or language. The UT Collections may be browsed by region, topic or language. Currently, the materials from UT’s partnerships with the Kigali Memorial Centre and Free Burma Rangers are not publicly available, in order to protect the safety and privacy of those documented. However, in the future, these materials will be made available to the UT community and beyond.

    On the home page, you can find preselected searches in the UT Libraries catalog for topics such as human rights, humanrights violations, crimes against humanity, human rights advocacy, truth commissions, human rights and gender, gay rights, immigrant rights, indigenous rights, labor rights, genocide, state-sponsored terrorism.

    To find other primary source materials, you can search the UT Libraries CatalogTexas ScholarWorksTexas Archival Resources Online (TARO) and the individual sites for campus libraries and centers – Benson Latin American CollectionCenter for American HistoryHarry Ransom Humanities Research CenterPerry-Castañeda LibraryRapoport Center for Human Rights and JusticeRomani Archives and Documentation Center, and Tarlton Law Library.

    The Links page provides links to other human rights archives, centers, organizations and pertinent background documents on human rights in general.

  2. What is the difference between searching Archived Web Resources through the HRDI site and through the Archive-It site?

    The search box on the HRDI site searches the websites' descriptions - title, URL, abstract, language, coverage, subject heading, and date. It is best to do broad searches in this box, such as country name (i.e. Colombia), resource format (i.e. video, photos, audio), or topic (i.e. women, disappearances).

    The search box on the Archive-It site searches the full text of websites. It is best to do very specific searches through Archive-It, such as a person or organization's name. Broad searches such as "women" or "Colombia" will return results of any page that mentions these terms, even if the content is not specifically about these topics. The advanced search option through Archive-It allows you to customize your search by limiting it to a particular website, format, and exact order of terms. Note that you will have to choose "University of Texas at Austin Libraries, Human Rights Archives Project" from the drop down menu, otherwise you will search across all the Archive-It collections. If you can't find what you are looking for through the UT collection, try searching through the "Columbia University Libraries, Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research" collection.
  3. What should I do if I need research resources I can’t find here?

    If your research need is immediate, your first step should be to contact a research librarian with your question or topic for assistance (see Ask a Librarian). You can also investigate the Links page for other human rights archives and organizations that might have the resources you need.

    The Human Rights Documentation Initiative welcomes suggestions and comments regarding existing materials, areas to strengthen, and ways to improve the usability of resources. Please feel free to submit suggestions and communicate your comments to the Archivist Theresa Polk (Email).

  4. I have worked with a human rights organization that needs help preserving its records. How could I start a conversation with UT Libraries?

    The Human Rights Documentation Initiative is excited about the possibility of working with human rights organizations from the U.S. and countries around the world and welcomes proposals for mutually beneficial working relationships with these organizations. Each partnership must be outlined through direct conversations between interested organizations or individuals and the UT Libraries. Please contact Archivist Theresa Polk (Email) to start these conversations. If you are unsure about taking that step, you should feel free to consult the HRDI Information Sheet (link to program one-pager) regarding strategic partnerships between UT Libraries and organizations.

  5. My UT organization would like to get involved with the Human Rights Documentation Initiative. What can we do?

    The HRDI is happy to support and publicize human-rights related research and advocacy efforts of faculty, student, staff and community members. If you have an event that you would like us to publish on our events calendar, email the name of event, date, time, location, sponsoring organization(s), contact information, website (if applicable), and flyer or promotional photo (if applicable) to Archivist Theresa Polk (Email). If you would like to co-sponsor an event with the HRDI, email the Archivist for more information.

  6. Where can I submit suggestions to improve the Human Rights Documentation Initiative?

    Please contact Archivist Theresa Polk (Email) with your suggestions and comments regarding the Human Rights Documentation Initiative.


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