Data Is Plural

... is a weekly newsletter of useful/curious datasets.

2019.07.17 edition

Wildlife shipments, Security Council debates, international arbitration, foreign lobbyists, and global administrative boundaries.

Four decades of wildlife trade. The CITES Trade Database, named after the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, contains information about more than 20 million shipments of wildlife (e.g., live tapirs, sturgeon eggs, wolf skulls) and wildlife products (e.g., venus flytrap extract) since 1975. The database is maintained by a UN agency and includes the year of the shipment; the scientific name of the plant or animal; the type and quantity of the particular thing being traded; their purpose and source; and the country of origin, export, and export. Related: Citesdb, an R package for analyzing the database.

Two decades of UN Security Council debates. A group of researchers have collected, parsed, and added metadata to all UN Security Council debates from 1995 through 2017. The dataset includes more than 65,000 speeches (with information about each speaker), extracted from nearly 5,000 meeting transcripts. Related: The authors describe their methodology. [h/t Ronny Patz]

International arbitration. The PluriCourts Investment Treaty Arbitration Database (PITAD) provides “a comprehensive, regularly-updated and networked overview of all-known investment arbitration cases.” You can download the 1,400+ cases or explore them online, searching by case, arbitrator, investor, or country. Note: PITAD says its data are “strictly for academic use.” Related: My former colleague Chris Hamby’s “The Court That Rules the World” series — “an exposé of a dispute-settlement process used by multinational corporations to undermine domestic regulations and gut environmental laws at the expense of poorer nations,” as the Pulitzer committee put it. [h/t Joel Dahlquist Cullborg]

Foreign lobbyists. The United States’ Foreign Agents Registration Act requires lobbyists who represent foreign governments to file paperwork with the Department of Justice. The database has long been available to browse online; last month, the agency added a last month, however, added three new features: full-text search, an API, and bulk downloads. [h/t Lachlan Markay + Jack Corrigan + u/surlyq]

Inter- and intra-national boundaries. The Database of Global Administrative Areas aims “to map the administrative areas of all countries, at all levels of sub-division.” With 386,735 divisions and counting, “this is a never ending project, but we are happy to share what we have.” Note: “commercial use is not allowed without prior permission.”