Syria Casualties Project
Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Human Rights Science (CHRS) is partnering with the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) to improve mass casualty estimation and will start with the ongoing uprising in Syria. This project will focus on two major challenges of combining incomplete casualty records from multiple governmental and non-governmental organizations and using them to estimate total deaths:
- Record linkage and de-duplication of deaths within and between lists--i.e., when the same death is recorded more than one time within a list, or is recorded in multiple lists that are to be joined. These redundancies can be caused by slight variations in spelling of names, dates, places, etc.; incomplete data that makes it difficult to determine whether two cases are the same or not; or data entry errors.
- Developing better methods to estimate the number of deaths that go unreported by all of the organizations compiling lists.
This partnership is explicitly structured to be mutually beneficial. Carnegie Mellon researchers will gain access to real-world data that they can use to improve statistical methods for merging complex datasets, while the human rights community will gain freely available, ready-to-use tools that can be applied in Syria and other conflicts around the world.