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International women's human rights database.

The Diana project, available at <http://www.law-library. utoronto.ca/Diana> and through the Bora Laskin Law Library homepage, has been an endeavour to find World Wide Web sites that have portions relevant to the study of women's international human rights. Diana is a metasite of both web sites and full-text Internet documents, as well as a bibliography of print documents pertinent to research in women's human rights. It is the collaborative venture of a consortium of law librarians, university-based human rights centre, and other non-governmental human rights organizations. Present endeavours and future projects are outlined. We hope that the site demonstrates how the Internet can be used effectively by women's groups to produce resources that are useful to an international community researching women studies.

Le projet "Diana," disponible a l'adresse http://www.law-library.utoronto.ca/ Diana et a travers la page d'accueil de la Bora Laskin Law Library, a comme but de reperer les sites Web contenant des elements ayant rapport a l'etude des droits humains internationaux des femmes. "Diana" est un meta-site compose de sites Web, de documents integraux d'Interner, ainsi que d'une bibliographie de documents imprimes ayant rapport a la recherche des droits humains des femmes. Il s'agit d'une entreprise de collaboration entre un consortium de bibliothecaires de droit, de centres universitaires des droits de la personne, ainsi que d'autres organismes non-gouvernementaux des droits de la personne. Y sont elabores les projets actuels et futurs. Nous esperons que le site demontre comment Internet peut etre un outil efficace pour les groupes de femmes desirant produire des ressources utiles a une communaute internationale effectuant des recherches sur les etudes des femmes.

Women's Studies research is often a mission in fact finding. The Diana Project, available at http://www.law-library.utoronto.ca/Diana and through the Bora Laskin Law Library homepage, has been an endeavour to find World Wide Web sites that have portions relevant to the study of women's international human rights. Ours is a metasite(1) of both web sites and full-text Internet documents, as well as a bibliography of print documents pertinent to research in women's human rights. One of the unique things about a resource like ours is the extent of its scope and, conversely, its concentrated focus on a specific topic. We are currently promoting ourselves as an Internet resource for students at a variety of levels, and for educators and advocates internationally.

Diana is the collaborative venture of a consortium of law librarians, university based human rights centre, and other non-governmental human rights organizations. These groups came together to build a comprehensive, timely and authoritative database of electronic materials essential to human rights research. Institutions currently participating in the project include the University of Cincinnati, Yale University, the University of Minnesota and the University of Toronto. The Toronto group is composed of a variety of women in a variety of positions both on and off campus. Brought together by a common interest, the group is comprised of librarians, lawyers, students and web specialists. The groups meets monthly to discuss problems, directions, future projects and to evaluate the page. Users of the page are encouraged to contact us by e-mail to express ideas or concerns regarding our site. Rather than tackling the whole issue of international human rights as the other groups have done, the University of Toronto group decided to take responsibility for the more specialized topic of women's human rights.

The University of Toronto branch of Diana was started in September 1995 as an extension of the Select Bibliography of Women's Human Rights, (2) compiled by Professor Rebecca Cook and Valerie Oosterveld for the American University Law Review. After the publication of this bibliography, there was a realization that such a resource would be a good starting point for a more extensive database on the World Wide Web. (Currently the Diana site consists of an on-line version of the bibliography, a list of internet links to sites of interest and a list of full text documents available on the Web.(3) The Bibliography page is a compilation of print resources related to the study of women's human rights (see above, and endnote 2.) The Internet Links page links the user to a series of Internet metasites related to the study of international women's human rights issues. The Documents page links the user to full-text documents available on the Web relevant to women's human rights including conventions, conference proceedings, reports, articles and other bibliographies. All three facets of the site are continually being expanded and updated and are meant to assist those interested in the legal aspects of women's human rights.

In both the Internet Sites and Documents pages the very substantial topic of women's human rights has been subdivided into smaller subtopics. We are attempting to cover a broad range of issues including education, right to health care, women refugees, violence against women, sexual orientation, political rights and participation, as well as a special section on the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.

Each site chosen for the Diana database is evaluated on legitimacy, quality, and relevance to our users. We often gather sites and documents from other large, authoritative sites such as the United Nations and Amnesty International sites. We also try to incorporate smaller sites in order to give voice to those smaller groups working internationally.(4) We attempt to offer directions through larger sites to orient the user to those pages relevant to the study of women's human rights through the use of annotations.

We hope to continue to extend and maintain the web page. Valuable documents and sites contained on the internet are increasing at an astounding rate and keeping the site updated involves constant, attention. Considering that the United Nations has declared this the Decade for Human Rights Education, we feel that our database and our decision to take on our latest projects are particularly timely. Our future plans include the digitization of the full-text journal articles and reports from the bibliography. If permission can be secured to digitize the text of every entry in the original bibliography, over 23,000 pages of printed text will be made a available on-line, creating an incredibly rich resource for those working in the field all over the world.

In order to become accessible to a younger audience, we have begun to compile a glossary of terms used throughout our site. Human Rights International, another Canadian Group concerned with human rights education, has approached us to join them in a human rights education website. Through involvement with Human Rights International and the Canada SchoolNet project (http://www.schoolnet.ca), we hope to target the educational levels of elementary and secondary school children in order to introduce them to the subject of women's human rights. We will need to explain concepts using basic language to define terms and the role of certain key human rights organizations.

Our hope is that the University of Toronto Diana site will become more and more useful to a larger audience of people over time. Through our digitization project and the glossary, our user group will continue to grow. Although such requests would be rare, we are making the page accessible to those without Internet access by offering a printout of the database through the library's regular document delivery service. International access has been increased by the fact that we have attempted to keep our page as technologically basic as possible in order to attain quick downloading. No photos are included and graphics are kept to a minimum on the pages since extra memory is required and loading time is increased exponentially when these elements are included. Users also have the option to turn off the graphics and to view the text-only version of the page. We hope this will permit technological access to as large a variety of users as possible. Since this site is meant to be international, we must keep in mind that many users have limited Web access and that their access is often much slower than what we have become accustomed to. We invite you to view the site and hope that we have demonstrated how the Internet can be used effectively by women's groups to produce resources that are useful to an international community researching women's studies.

Notes

(1.) Metasite -- a term used to describe a site that links to other World Wide Web (www) sites.

(2.) Rebecca J. Cook and Valerie L. Oosterveld, "A Select Bibliography of Women's Human Rights," in American University Law Review (Washington: American University, 1995), p. 1429. An earlier version of this bibliography appeared in the New York University Journal of International Law and Politics. See Rebecca J. Cook, "Women's International Human Rights: A Bibliography," in New York University Journal of International Law and Politics (New York: New York University, 1992), pp. 857-88.

(3.) The documents section includes conventions, reports, bibliographies, conference proceedings and articles. Examples include the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, an interview with Indonesia's State Minister for the Role of Women, the Ontario Human Rights Code, Australia's Sex Discrimination Act, etc.

(4) Examples of smaller groups include: the Global Fund for Women, the Human Rights Research and Education Centre at the University of Ottawa, the Tibetan Women's Association, and others.
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Author:McCready, Jennifer; Millar, Pamela
Publication:Resources for Feminist Research
Date:Jan 1, 1999
Words:1546
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