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Wikileaks and Other Tools for Digital Humanists


Whatever it is — Journalistic Tool, Treasonous Act(or), Cryptographic Safe-haven, "a not-for-profit media organization"— Wikileaks is here, and it's important. It provides scholars, researchers, and other investigators of all persuasions a large and fascinating source of data and information that invites and rewards further study.

The problem one runs into in working with Wikileaks is that its site, or, more precisely, its sites —the site is mirrored many places all over the world-- are often down or slow. I've found the below sites to be somewhat reliable, however, I've had more and more difficulty accessing the Iraq War Logs and the Afghan War Diary.

Afghan War Diary

The Information:archived website (via the Internet Archive) the data

  • Information about the information, i.e. metadata:
  • What am I getting? What sort of file should I download?
  • CSV = Comma-separated Values = Excel = copy and paste-able = a good place to start.
  • HTML = original context, better for looking at rhetoric of Wikileaks (a fascinating subject on which I hope more will be done)

Analysis and Refinement (Clean Up):



  • Linkable/Embeddable Google Map - or KML output for viewing in Google Earth


The Information - the website and the torrent (of everything, not just the cables)

Analysis and Refinement (Clean Up):

  • File Conversion - Google IT. File Renamer Basic - turn html files to txt.
  • Aggregation - TextCollector - Combine multiple Txt files into one.
  • Find Replace Need good Text Editors. Notepad++ for Windows, TextWrangler (free) or BBedit($) for mac
  • Adobe Bridge also good for working with files.


Result: Textual Analysis via ManyEyes


Iraq War Logs

Digital Humanities Tools - a list to get you started