Wo an der publizistischen Zukunft gewerkelt wird: im Labor der New York Times Research & Development group. Von tagging-Werkzeugen über Leseranalysen bis zu neuen Möglichkeiten, Vergangenes und Verblichenes zurück an die Oberfläche zu holen – die NYT gibt auf ihrer neuen Lab-site tolle Einblicke in ihre Arbeit und einen Vorgeschmack auf das, was uns vielleicht eines Tages erreichen wird. Auf jeden Fall einen Besuch wert: nytlabs.com


Open Data for Africa

opendataforafrica.org is a very interesting platform, launched three month ago by the African Development Bank Group. Data covers a wide range of topics in 20 African countries: Algeria, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, Republic of Congo, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The data collection isn’t exhaustive but nevertheless, it is a very promising mine for data diggers yet.

Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI)

Other interesting data – conceptually inspired by the transformation theory – provides us the Bertelsmann Foundation with their BTI. Check this discussion on the CRRC-blog and the reference below.


  • BTI – Detailled data 2008. now available here.
  • Schmidt, Siegmar, 2006. “Wie viel Demokratie gibt es in Afrika?” Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, APuZ 32-33:2006. This article is online available here.

Data on democratization

Often, students ask me where to find indicators measuring democracy. Hum. Well known and commonly used is the data provided by freedomhouse.org, an US-based NGO. Freedomhouse data are handy, but their operationalization and measuring is sometimes quite rough. An other well known dataset, Tatu Vanhanen’s Polyarchy dataset including Vanhanen’s index of democracy, is much more sophisticated but also more complex. Check the CSCW website to get the original data. Updates and additional data by Lars Wilhelmsen can also be found there.

There are many other datasets available, unfortunately there are only few covering a broader range of countries over a longer timespan. E. g. Schmidt (1997, 264-291; 2000, 539-550) gives a good overview of datasets and indicators on democratization.


  • Schmidt, Manfred G., 1997. Demokratietheorien, 2. Auflage, Opladen: Leske & Budrich
  • Schmidt, Manfred G., 2000 (unveränderter Nachdruck 2006). Demokratietheorien, 3. Auflage, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.