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Here is an interesting set of census data, digitized from print. The dataset documentation (The 1967 Census Of The West Bank And Gaza Strip: A Digitized Version Dataset Documentation, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, Joel Perlmann, Project Director, November 2011) also presents a detailed description of the methods used to create accurate, usable, digital statistical tables from print.
- The 1967 Census of the West Bank and Gaza Strip: A Digitized Version, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College.
In the summer of 1967, just after the Six-Day War brought the West Bank and Gaza Strip under Israeli control, the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS) supervised a census in these territories. The census included an impressive array of questions about individuals, households, and the quality of residences—about age, sex, religion, place of residence, educational attainment, occupation, industrial sector, income, household structure, health, female fertility, and housing conditions. Moreover, it asked two crucial questions about refugee status: Had the individual lived prior to the 1948 War in the area that became the State of Israel? And, Was the individual living in or outside of a refugee camp at the time the census was taken?
The ICBS prepared seven volumes of reports based on this enumeration—the first modern census reports on the Palestinian population. Yet these volumes have not been used extensively in the writing on the evolution of the occupied territories. One reason is that they are not widely available, and even when at hand they are subject to all the limitations of older volumes published as quickly as possible in order to be of use at the time.
For this reason, the Levy Economics Institute is offering, for the first time and free of charge, the content of six of these volumes (the seventh to be added shortly) in machine-readable form, in the hope that the data can be exploited by researchers interested in a fuller understanding of the social history of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories. Bard student volunteers contributed appreciably to this project.
The current Middle East crisis has received wide publicity via web 2.0. It is certainly a new way of reaching out to the international audience. Recently, there was an article in CNN about Israel’s attempt to influence the global public opinion through YouTube and Twitter. The Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Unit has uploaded several videos of the crisis on YouTube. Likewise, the Israel Consulate in New York held a “Citizen’s Press Conference” on Twitter on Dec. 30, 2008. While Israel is busy in engaging the international community’s attention, Al Jazeera also has been using Twitter to spread information about the Gaza conflict. For more details, take a look at boingboing.