work combines publication and other forms of communication with
an intensive and continuous effort to acquire up-to-date information
about policy-relevant aspects of CBW and to make that information
available, not only to HSP staff, but also (within obvious constraints)
to the wider community. It is work that gives a uniqueness and a
special strength to HSP's research and training activities. The
work is centered on the Sussex Harvard Information Bank (SHIB),
which is HSP's living archive and which, together with the HSP research
programme, supports the HSP publication effort.
has products of four main types:
- HSP is itself a publisher, its publications including its own
quarterly journals and the occasional paper series detailed below.
HSP has also published other occasional items, notably Challenges
to the Chemical Weapons Ban, which constitutes the proceedings
of the Open Forum on the Chemical Weapons
Convention that was organised by the OPCW at the Peace Palace
in The Hague on 1 May 2003 during the First CWC Review Conference.
CBW Conventions Bulletin,
which used to be called Chemical Weapons Convention Bulletin
until issue no 36 (June 1997), is HSP's flagship publication.
Produced during 1988-93 from the Federation of American Scientists
in Washington DC, it has since then been produced from SPRU, University
of Sussex. It is edited jointly by the two directors of HSP and
has the HSP Advisory Board as its editorial committee. The Bulletin
has become the journal of record in the field.
The Sussex Harvard Information Bank
co-directors, HSP has been continuously engaged in CBW-policy research
since the 1960s. The documentation and other materials accumulated
in the course of this work now constitute a major research resource
not only for HSP but also for others outside HSP, and for the future.
So HSP has built the collection into a organised and accessible
archive to which it allows supervised access. This is known as SHIB,
for Sussex Harvard Information Bank, and is open to anyone who can
demonstrate a worthwhile need for access to what it contains. To
enhance access, searchable electronic data-bases are used to register
certain categories of information entering SHIB. Web interfaces
are currently being developed for two of these data-bases in order
to enable access to them via the HSP website.
SHIB is a living
archive in the sense that its structure is always being developed
so as to suit the changing requirements of researchers in the field.
And its holdings are continually growing, under several influences:
- Deposit of
of state papers, some of which are copied into SHIB by HSP researchers
of new research projects
monitoring and scanning of new sources by HSP researchers, associates
SHIB is chiefly held at Sussex where it now occupies nine bays
of archive stacks and other space at the Freeman Centre, about 230
metres of shelving in all. Some specialized parts of the collection
are held at Harvard, mostly with copies at Sussex. Literature-monitoring
efforts of several types keep SHIB up to date, and a network of
correspondents and collaborating literature-scanners worldwide ensures
that the monitoring is broad in its international coverage. SHIB
holdings, which by now must number many hundreds of thousands of
items, are organized so that people outside HSP, as well as those
within it, can gain access to the information contained in SHIB.
Development, aimed particularly at improving remote access, is in
The fundamental purpose of SHIB is to facilitate and empower policy-orientated
research in the field of CBW disarmament, antiproliferation and
associated international regime formation and implementation; research
which in the past has suffered from the poor quality of available
information. This objective directs the emphases in SHIB's holdings
and in the way in which the holdings are organized. Thus, there
is a particular emphasis on acquisition of uptodate political information,
a current-awareness function which supports the News Chronology
section of the HSP quarterly journal, The
CBW Conventions Bulletin. Scientific, technical, military
and historical information also enters SHIB. The holdings are organized
into a fine-grained storage system organized by date and/or by subject
and also, in particular cases, by author or originating agency.
This enables browsing by visiting researchers. In some areas of
SHIB more active methods of processing incoming information are
also applied, through the use of registers and computerized data-bases.
Within the SHIB storage system, there are some 3000 separate storage
locations, each one with a different alphanumerical label. These
labels, which serve as locators for each item of stored documentation
and are inscribed on each such item, also serve as subject-matter
descriptors in the computerized records of stored documentation-items.
A single item of stored documentation may bear more than one such
descriptor, though in hard-copy form it will generally be stored
in only one location; duplicates, or copies of its title page, may
be held in other possible locations. Subject-matter searching is
thus made relatively easy.
Access to SHIB
By prior arrangement with HSP Sussex,
visiting scholars and researchers may consult SHIB and its associated
databases. For people who have not yet visited, the account given
in Guide to SHIB of how hard-copy (as opposed to electronic) material is stored in
SHIB may be useful.
Three searchable computerized data-bases are being developed and
maintained so as to increase the utility of SHIB. The most advanced
is the CBW Events Data-Base, which is a systematic record
of events back to 1987 in and around the world of CBW. It is from
this data-base that the 'News Chronology' section of each issue
of The CBW Conventions Bulletin is excerpted. Each record
in the data base -- one record per event or cluster of associated
events, currently about 15,000 in all -- is fully referenced with
citations of SHIB-held documentation. The records are held in a
powerful text-oriented data management programme that enables different
types of search to be run through the records. The data-base is
continually updated, corrected as necessary, and added to retrospectively
as new documentation comes in. It is being extended backwards in
time (to 1945) as well as forwards.
The second database is a continually updated register of substantial
new publications in the field since 1987. It is called the CBW
Publications Data-Base. Its records, of which there are now
some 4,500, are held in EndNote, so as to facilitate searching and
Every three months, the latest additions to the Events and Publications
data-bases, including prior records that have been introduced, revised
or expanded from late-received information or that were for some
reason excluded from the Bulletin, are published in hard-copy form
as the HSP CBW Chronicle, which is distributed to a small number
of specialist libraries and HSP collaborators.
The third data-base, still at an early stage of construction, is
the CBW Archives Data-Base. SHIB has substantial holdings
of photocopies of British, American and other state papers addressing
CBW matters, mostly copied by HSP or collaborating researchers from
national archives or, in the case of some of the American ones,
obtained under the Freedom of Information Act or from personal papers.
The research value of such documentation is very much dependent
upon its indexing; the bibliographical records initially used in
SHIB for this purpose were manual ones on index cards. These records,
which are necessarily far more detailed than those of the CBW
Publications Data-Base, are now being replaced by computerized
records. As this proceeds, the data-base is becoming an increasingly
powerful tool for further archival and other research.