Today we’ll be sharing our third data spotlight showcase! In this series, we archive some socially or historically important data on the permaweb, preventing it from ever being lost. Through this process, we will continually build up a hand-curated archive of human history and knowledge, permanently archived for future generations.
The data in the spotlight this week is a series of excellent country and regional studies, originally published by the US Library of Congress Federal Research Division. From Ghana to Bolivia and beyond, these are fascinating long-form research reports cover a vast range of topics, from nations’ societal and government structure, to their languages, criminal justice systems, and religions.
We hope you’re just as excited to dive into these tomes as I was — I’ll share a few interesting tidbits that I encountered to get your ideas flowing!
These country and regional studies are in themselves fascinating historical resources. Several of the books cover countries that no longer exist today. These examples include Yugoslavia (dissolved into multiple nations over several years), East Germany (unified with West Germany into modern-day Germany), Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Czechoslovakia (peacefully disbanded into the Czech and Slovak Republics), and of course, the Soviet Union (dramatically dissolved into fifteen independent nations).
I personally find these very interesting, as with hindsight we can start to unpick how much of these nations’ dissolution and downfalls might have been predicted ahead of time.
I would heartily recommend taking some time to explore the reports on ex-countries specifically — remember, they’re all very layman-accessible and are easy to skip around topics that pique your personal interest!
North Korea's Media
As a project dedicated to the freedom of information between people and across time, we naturally have to highlight discussions of censorship and information control in the collections we preserve.
The North Korea country study discusses the regime’s restriction of media and a dire lack of freedom of information (Chapter 4, ‘The Media’ section). Combined with the powerful propaganda published by the government itself, the passage paints a gloomy picture of North Korean life.
Jamaica's Criminal Justice System
Rather than a country study like most of the other books, the Islands of the Commonwealth Caribbean study is a regional one, and was published in 1989. This study therefore gives an interesting overview of, for example, Jamaica’s first decades of life as an independent nation since 1962.
The Criminal Justice System section (Chapter 2) is particularly interesting to me. This section touches on the lasting impact in Jamaica of the colonial British legal code, and the remarkable changes from those traditions as Jamaica constructs its own unique criminal and judicial processes. For instance, the establishment of a specialised Gun Court in 1974 to deal with firearms cases, and the suspension (and then reinstatement) of the death penalty.
East Germany's Longevity
The East Germany country study edition we have archived was published in 1988, just a few very short years before the fall of East Germany and the formation of a (re)unified Germany in 1990.
I personally find the discussion of the state’s influence on news very interesting, which can be found in the section titled “The Party and The Media’ (Chapter 4). The motives and mechanisms of information control in East Germany and in North Korea are worth comparing, especially the tight control of citizens’ access to ‘Western media’.
Why ePub format?
We believe these books in ePub format offer a good compromise between the pure, unadulterated original material, and a format that the general public can easily can conveniently access. The Library of Congress itself offers a nice range of formats for this collection, including PDFs, JPEGs of specific pages in multiple resolutions, pure text documents, and of course, ePubs. EPubs offer a relatively low file size (which is a positive thing for our databases!) while still including relevant images such as maps and diagrams, all accessible in an open, non-proprietary format that many people can easily access.
If you’re not sure how to view ePubs on your device, here are some options for you:
iOS — The iBooks app comes as standard, but many prefer the more featureful Marvin available on the App Store.
MacOS — Just as with iOS, ePubs can be accessed with the native iBooks app on MacOS.
Windows — Many recommend the Icecream ebook reader for an unusual, more traditionally ‘book-like’ reading experience. As with Linux, FBReader is also highly recommended by online reviews, which you might prefer for a simpler appearance.
Linux — FBReader is highly recommended by the Linux community — it’s open source, lightweight, and simple.
As always, thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please consider following us on Medium, and over on Twitter! Or, drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with an interesting open data or public domain dataset you’d like us to perma-archive (for free!) or include in a future ‘data spotlight’ blog.
To learn more about the Decentralised Public Library’s mission and motivations, please check out our opening blog post here.
List of Permaweb URLs to the LOC’s Country and Regional Studies:
Albania: A Country Study, 1994: https://arweave.net/mDbPXh9vzf0vRsDWVUwKbAVJsb8em-Y-n22OqinhFNs
Algeria: A Country Study, 1994: https://arweave.net/zW_D1FgufNEXNaz6-cdhAySAd-d8i8rCoOfiTP0pEAk
Angola: A Country Study, 1991: https://arweave.net/nK_i32Fm6K9sVhzkDVOe9i9KUkODuGWY1XrMy2qpuGU
Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia: Country Studies, 1995: https://arweave.net/JLDXncqcTaumLvt9EOOq-M3yTFQhWdu0KAusOk0YrBY
Austria: A Country Study, 1994: https://arweave.net/bysJAe8Q5exST9L0BSNyGNsf2NiDg3tiKdkZTjERl1k
Bangladesh: A Country Study, 1989: https://arweave.net/Ujh_aCH-e6574yhVVD951lJOx7TOgpA3qMu4HfpZo2o
Belarus and Moldova: Country Studies, 1995: https://arweave.net/Z_W5SJ7B-aibeCl2-END0Jy5I9fGEvr5a8anVihQIPw
Bolivia: A Country Study, 1991: https://arweave.net/P3HMZ0c18b81-k_DsDPh3kGlbZhd5_vsOaHm1uL8u0E
Brazil: A Country Study, 1998: https://arweave.net/LEA5iQo15uXTxqYWGYLPmKx3g0gq3UOcQhRiMoF9m3E
Bulgaria: A Country Study, 1993: https://arweave.net/uW9tHS45NK0scVyrw59JCmvYocGg1nyIif02dhZTexU
Cambodia: A Country Study, 1990: https://arweave.net/1jSUeiwGDbKsNEk373ap4kvIN8tf5d-Ns3ADp7z7HWw
Chad: A Country Study, 1990: https://arweave.net/_N-3zKE3veB3jPZ9mlHFAi-450WC-B4-hb5oUOYEQoQ
Chile: A Country Study, 1994: https://arweave.net/fvNV1iqX0VMfDaFp1whUCiGGQW2943FVTwCKY23wBeo
China: A Country Study, 1988: https://arweave.net/J8qR4oS9R7rjGdDk_HGGVr8i3wCnhIxp9it7HkuoJYQ
Colombia: A Country Study, 2010: https://arweave.net/-rYyB1Pspg1IKWK8fr-0E8K3D42W2jbAxM2JC_41Qq0
Cote d’Ivoire: A Country Study, 1991: https://arweave.net/zBda-eI5ZShUscyIfcDTgKRV-dd3bENYZrmbOPd1aFg
Cuba: A Country Study, 2002: https://arweave.net/DzGasIPNOQPqG6lGbx1RTljMpPnfcF3VMfuajMhpzAw
Cyprus: A Country Study, 1993: https://arweave.net/ye8my5n4iupX-o9mizu3Fvgd7VqZUdScepz_o7oJcCg
Czechoslovakia: A Country Study, 1989: https://arweave.net/iELw2p_MRV6DnGLvpPhmFwJrLf9hfmFgW1a_vF4uKQo
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Country Studies, 2001: https://arweave.net/ksfuGtDbyw-j3dVJr40X7IRUCMnX1zPVbDZCxuF3fqc
East Germany: A Country Study, 1988: https://arweave.net/twUk8NxHxGxmbNZVowwXAeejsD7eDhKzZBMuqXcGLvo
Ecuador: A Country Study, 1991: https://arweave.net/XUZshMsYfds3MNOa6IKcB2zPowYqV0sGkDnVc_sqEcQ
Egypt: A Country Study, 1991: https://arweave.net/veWR2wWq321U6XCri32dsU5qjh3tallgv2PEnFzZaec
El Salvador: A Country Study, 1990: https://arweave.net/qsQA1gQZSS6jxWFD93d9MvyFzqc_KrlltxnmdqHZ50A
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania: Country Studies, 1996: https://arweave.net/Av58-4cvKHUWhnOBhBV62UKw9UGWZTl1C08-sEM9dg0
Ethiopia: A Country Study, 1993: https://arweave.net/rh_iqXYP2r7pTIZNdKri4Reg4ot-4ifqInOqRwV8hU0
Finland: A Country Study, 1990: https://arweave.net/9fDMGQMHmY42ozx4-g2t7uj7aNUAmMJXcDTdqA2PHvs
Germany: A Country Study, 1996 (HTML format due to large file size): https://arweave.net/XzjTRBWjR9bLWOf0nojEfcgaZz9j0z18JFS-M-Fi0Rs
Ghana: A Country Study, 1995: https://arweave.net/HYM_h1WgK5spjqt8mUYV-3YeUoin_mz7-3_ahK_GVSo
Guyana and Belize: Country Studies, 1993: https://arweave.net/bJcUvVS3_i5lKFpHzCwocb7c7U4KEjVVqux7oxbf1e0
Honduras: A Country Study, 1995: https://arweave.net/pvq2caXHTcXCmwohlQJLyDsVJKx5tda-QkVWN4YUtxw
Hungary: A Country Study, 1990: https://arweave.net/KwkD6LabsAYvzkspo5_45JrUy_Ynr44f3N60f2MHnyY
India: A Country Study, 1996: https://arweave.net/2Doj70FtkfadK_wReRc90VXlvwe0kMcvRfT8BXkq8lc
Indian Ocean: Five Island Countries, 1995: https://arweave.net/Nd5JnUIQnXgC8E53uTJ0K5HzN03Za661OMFhnEZtWPc
Indonesia: A Country Study, 2011: https://arweave.net/50_xgvCgN4f2UqemH9L8yHo2kNV8hNZkTg9kgz2k348
Iran: A Country Study, 1990: https://arweave.net/xDtb3o8YzaY_PbcwEuclcSHZ-MIwgC00N2n_4mrsDzY
Iraq: A Country Study, 1990: https://arweave.net/vNS--Xc2nVW03q3StuNXOlMbpVgajZoM3aYSNZIkLXo
Islands of the Commonwealth Caribbean: A Regional Study, 1989: https://arweave.net/kQY37aMYQUFlpXSzXi1wLiSoMeeD1BsINtL9qJampSw
Israel: A Country Study, 1990: https://arweave.net/lo3DzW5PyL-CVq6DzTRhfAR5IcHLR7Ku_lEiRsZrTFE
Japan: A Country Study, 1992: https://arweave.net/dRBUBPnD3D8stufLk9Ig-fWvOAv__SOM8WwaBIC1ZIA
Jordan: A Country Study, 1991: https://arweave.net/3q08uKh-mA4X0fSM720ihCKr-OcegAaHGQm-BxLXGU4
Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan: Country Studies, 1997: https://arweave.net/Vh8KQBqEDfvuPAd1aH3alzlW5ilCo8kSBKwHHUXOMD0
Laos: A Country Study, 1995: https://arweave.net/4-vGWMcUl9NOMEfr9S_0rYsv4lS0nByWbpkAY-Vdeo4
Lebanon: A Country Study, 1989: https://arweave.net/WnfJ1XI0McoKzuy8CA4DtD1AIK45qQ38EN6PcOp9pMw
Libya: A Country Study, 1989: https://arweave.net/MLcDOzFjyakCWkf9XQzg9awlj3hasfZE6jpkurBKtLI
Mauritania: A Country Study, 1990: https://arweave.net/HD7XEwMnSdT9_CoNbx9UOEHI6jKsbyi1OebUNFCzDGs
Mexico: A Country Study, 1997: https://arweave.net/zVk4gchVAKUb6z_RBX-i1UWIICyE6_gZp5q1pO5NYDQ
Mongolia: A Country Study, 1991: https://arweave.net/1NuBDAkPAaGUfk9ShBUBQVXyY7lOUTliZ8Zx11GYGAQ
Nepal and Bhutan: Country Studies, 1993: https://arweave.net/hzovlkKEin1G7mgWuJWXafzzoZ86C3nbJylwmRgZaHE
Nicaragua: A Country Study, 1994: https://arweave.net/qxL9C4mH2bJKezgcmslDlosJDfsxVIuRb36LahnzHuU
North Korea: A Country Study, 2008: https://arweave.net/QL7-P_mpbw4Xdh2e_O8wSN0SxWiMUyNZ9wTSoRF8TUQ
Pakistan: A Country Study, 1995: https://arweave.net/_L1yraM8UheGZUQEKp-l6RuelAkFMjee-EwU-xWG3dc
Panama: A Country Study, 1989: https://arweave.net/DYakXbJathn1OdZRNttOIoKqMEOpqv8deIKiTTcfqDI
Paraguay: A Country Study, 1990: https://arweave.net/LfqEVPohUuVaG8PgEOu-RiDkh5nuk-lgXM0BSC7zmWM
Persian Gulf States: Country Studies, 1994: https://arweave.net/aL6PyYuF2TJkColCKti26561meLgZdzkszvXnRaXcLk
Peru: A Country Study, 1993: https://arweave.net/Phwu4IH2_z-cggb05ilmW6tCpzvDTtw944lerkaIhm8
Philippines: A Country Study, 1993: https://arweave.net/BnIGBT9fgXeDwBi2EZn_YWaH1H-qX8GnVSxfnwU6z6U
Poland: A Country Study, 1994: https://arweave.net/aYjf4F0PXxiRSsIThl7zklwyGWjuSBYzOl3wVNWNcf0
Portugal: A Country Study, 1993: https://arweave.net/fvp4BARr-KqQA_havclwyD_dL0UNakorlleVk6yREY8
Romania: A Country Study, 1991: https://arweave.net/Kf8KrNlYs44_G50QFSyGuxAV3_hMDn4Sbj7MYbNUvkQ
Russia: A Country Study, 1998: https://arweave.net/pBWHMtnZJPfwDsMDw0qClERO00-zksJphqz3_nbhvpI
Saudi Arabia: A Country Study, 1993: https://arweave.net/gC7hUiGrEeDkkZVdWVHpwB6cHtIez6Akj_JyIr6zP-A
Singapore: A Country Study, 1991: https://arweave.net/92DXmkS9ew2l4xzY8KGu5-cMv3iGz0kPiJVmsZM7_u4
Somalia: A Country Study, 1993: https://arweave.net/BLzt-PjhLC3davCyIc_Q7_uqeK6DFvcxKLFRMnGBRIc
South Africa: A Country Study, 1997: https://arweave.net/BlKlGYyqc6NbSpQgMmBcm0cq8Kr4q0ZvhCJ28Mys3tg
South Korea: A Country Study, 1992: https://arweave.net/1bC569uH8x2kIOVUwWy8-ug-4Up8k9P9JxzGmuaA78g
Soviet Union: A Country Study, 1991: https://cdn.loc.gov/master/frd/frdcstdy/so/sovietunioncount00zick/sovietunioncount00zick.pdf
Note: We are not yet able to archive the Soviet Union ebook on the permaweb, given it’s uniquely large size. As soon as the planned software updates are finalised, we will archive this document!
Spain: A Country Study, 1990: https://arweave.net/ZRUorbjLWxhPHy8xJmkbhP0dx9jzW1s1z7rVb78D4uo
Sri Lanka: A Country Study, 1990: https://arweave.net/rju4YXmt6dP3L47YhCagJTd_iEc7jtRGvfop_Ql_gmc
Syria: A Country Study, 1988: https://arweave.net/PAe-FBlm6ABu0rW6Ix2zbBTxsxLaVIcFna-LLt38ETQ
Thailand: A Country Study, 1989: https://arweave.net/YWxGS3a8JFYkh11nT17vMqExx_pJRyJXmaY1JvP6AWk
Turkey: A Country Study, 1996: https://arweave.net/padjw_WNJxFXgOyjsYTZAhEnEW8aVsL6e3XfrBabFj0
Uganda: A Country Study, 1992: https://arweave.net/afGC-Zi_2TvyGfK2My0pM1s-lE6ZgRL8q_bPk1cdgmw
Uruguay: A Country Study, 1992: https://arweave.net/ka1QbSmW-gne-bTklmEnRNCGUbaFEs0q-B2gSp2ujvY
Venezuela: A Country Study, 1993: https://arweave.net/0NEnlB2o1nSWBX1phk8kzNW2I9VR7kjcfcp5l33IGK4
Vietnam: A Country Study, 1989: https://arweave.net/Op09y3FjZAT2ZLrHUSCTFcxlkLLVZvT-Uxxb4NroQWk
Yugoslavia: A Country Study, 1992: https://arweave.net/GdkqQm4m9a0QYV7jdfjNXuevKd5jXg5WNDePxwfjo7c
Zaire: A Country Study, 1994: https://arweave.net/zbfVzajZarC3twt6OhdyEqwmW6tZH1DmwRNYr_kbusg