My current research uses the Declassified Documents Reference System to explore US political and diplomatic discourse in the late twentieth century. This is part of the Corpus Protocols project funded by the Nottingham Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute and the AHRC-funded Data-Asset-Method network. In it, my team members and I focus on textual data (corpus) in order to review relationships between institutional infrastructure, external business partners and research questions and methods that deal with textual data.
The material in the Declassified Documents corpus was collected from U.S. government official bodies and agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Defense Department, the Justice Department, the National Security Council, the State Department, the Commerce Department and the White House. Texts in the Declassified Documents system include Cabinet meeting minutes, CIA intelligence studies and reports, correspondence, diary entries, FBI surveillance and intelligence correspondence and memoranda, the full texts of letters, instructions, and cables sent and received by U.S. diplomatic personnel, Joint Chiefs papers, National Security Council policy statements, Presidential conferences, State Department political analyses, technical studies, trade treaties, studies and analyses, U.S. briefing materials for meetings with foreign heads of state and government officials and White House Confidential File materials.
As an opportunistic corpus, this material presents a series of challenges. As the researcher on this project, I work within the constraints of the project to explore this data and hopefully come up with interesting questions to ask it.