3.4.2 Units of history: the human rights violation act

For human rights work, usually the most important link structure is an act of human rights violation. An act is the smallest unit of history represented in a human rights database. An act represents the most basic "who did what to whom" information in the system. The resolution, or fineness of the representation of "what" depends on the level of precision the organization chooses for the controlled vocabulary of violations. If the organization has a controlled vocabulary list of several hundred types of violations that may have occurred, then they will code many more acts in a given event than an organization that works with only a dozen types of violations.

An actual violent act (e.g., Col. Schmidt executed George Jones) is a combination of two people -- a perpetrator and a victim -- who are related by a particular type of violence. Since a human rights abuse event typically involves many acts of violence, each act also includes a reference to the event of which it is a part. A single violent act is part of a sequence of such acts in an event. Thus the violent act is a combination of several basic entities.

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