General Physical Description note:
2,394,561 pages 72 ppi black and white TIFF files
Scope and Contents note
These documents were created by security, intelligence, military, Ba'th Party, and other government agency offices in northern
Iraq, primarily in the three northern governates (provinces) of Sulaymānīyah, Dahūk, and Irbīl. Focusing on these governorates,
this series covers the period of the consolidation of power of the Saddam Hussein regime, the Iran-Iraq war, the Kurdish insurgency,
the Anfal operations of 1987-1988, and the prelude to the second Gulf War. The NIDS provides documentation of the bureaucratic
apparatus of the Iraqi State.
In the database, keyword searches on extensive English language descriptive data, including corporate names, personal names,
place names, and subjects, cover all of the 2.4 million pages in this dataset. All fields are in English except the title,
which is in both Arabic and English.
Browsing by names of individuals, localities, entities, or topics (all in English) is also available for all of the 2.4 million
pages. Browsing by serial-sheet number is also possible for the entire dataset.
Another browse option, by annotation, covers a 369,309-page subset (about 15 percent) of the 2.4 million pages in this dataset.
This browse option provides two tiers. The first is a list of 9 major topics; selecting one of them opens a second list of
The 9 major topics are:
Issuing agencies (4,044 subtopics)
Concerned localities (1,664 subtopics)
Communal affiliations (8 subtopics: Assyrians, Christians, etc.)
Political affiliations (7 subtopics: Communist Party, Da'wa Party, etc.)
Individuals (10 subtopics)
Dates (496 subtopics)
Topics (20 subtopics: Anfal, arrest, CBN weapons, etc.)
Categories (2 subtopics: administrative, political)
Glossary (25,492 subtopics: A'stebl, A'athis, A'deserter', A'na, etc.)
When accessing the digitized documents through the search and browse options that cover the entire 2.4 million pages in the
dataset, clicking on a listing leads to a computer-generated form showing the descriptive data for a batch documents. The
batch of documents may not be logically related--the documents in a batch might be about several disparate topics. You must
look through all of the documents in a batch to find the ones related to your interest. On average, one form describes 60
pages of documents; the maximum is 100 pages of documents.
This descriptive data was created by U.S. government reviewers from 1992 to 1994. They used a "screening sheet" to describe
the contents of a batch of documents. The dataset uses 40,826 screening sheets. These pre-printed forms listed numerous categories
of data that were checked off when applicable to the batch of documents being reviewed. For example, "Revolutionary Command
Council" and "Presidential Cabinet" are two of the data categories on the form, and a reviewer would place a check next to
"Presidential Cabinet" when at least one page in a batch related to the presidential cabinet. After checking all the relevant
data categories, the reviewers wrote comments that provided details. All data was recorded in English.
The original screening sheets, with the handwritten notations made by reviewers, were scanned and appear as the first pages
in the batch of digitized documents. The categories used on the screening sheets changed somewhat over time.
Up to 100 pages of documents were grouped into a batch, and the documents did not necessarily all relate to each other or
a single subject. Reviewers receiving a batch of documents could choose to break the batch into smaller groups, each with
a separate screening sheet, or keep them as one group with one screening sheet.
When accessing the subset of 369,309 digitized pages covered by the "browse by annotations" option, clicking on a topic and
then a subtopic leads to the serial number and sheet number for the actual page; from there you click once more to view the
actual page. Annotations were made at the page level, so that each page of a multi-page document was annotated separately.
A subtopic can contain just one page or thousands of pages of actual documents. (The subtopics used in these annotations are
not all searchable via the database's search function.)
The annotations were created by the Iraq Research and Documentation Project (IRDP), a predecessor of the Iraq Memory Foundation
(IMF), from 1999 to 2002. IRDP staff reviewed the screening sheets created by U.S. government reviewers and assigned priority
levels based on the screening sheet data. Those pages deemed highest priority were "annotated" by IRDP staff. Annotating involved
assigning terms represented in the "browse by annotations" list. The annotations were refined since 2002 by the IMF.