Drawing by a prisoner of the Mukhabarat
The North Iraq Dataset (NIDS)
The 4,200 documents presented here
represent a small sample of one of the
Iraq Memory Foundation’s
oldest collections, the North Iraq Dataset (NIDS). Below is a brief description
of the dataset in its entirety.
The NIDS consists of approximately 2.4 million pages of official Iraqi
documents, recovered from areas of Northern Iraq following the 1991 Gulf War.
These documents, produced by security, intelligence, military, Ba‘th party, and
other official agencies of the Iraq state, originate from various northern Iraqi
localities—primarily from the three northern Muhafazat of Sulaymaniyyah, Arbil,
and Dohuk, and span, in their majority, the crucial decade of the 1980s (thus
covering the consolidation of power of the Saddam Husayn regime, the Iran-Iraq
war, the Kurdish insurgency, the Anfal operations, the preludes to the second
The NIDS gives an expansive view of the bureaucratic apparatus of the Iraqi
state, providing documentation of its procedural control methods. The Memory
Foundation believes that this view is essential both to Iraqi national
reconciliation, as well as offering a unique opportunity for a qualitative
advancement in the field of Middle Eastern studies. Through the NIDS, the issues
of governance, totalitarianism, social control, ethnic policies, and ideological
indoctrination can be studied and analyzed through substantial and substantive
primary source documents. The Memory Foundation undertook a detailed processing
of the NIDS that categorized and organized the wealth of materials available,
making them better accessible for academic researchers and others.
The NIDS can be accessed and referenced through unique serial numbers assigned
to individual pages. The whole NIDS can be searched for keywords, personal
names, and place names as they appear on screening sheets generated during the
initial survey of the documents. Screening sheets are folder cover sheets
describing the contents of a batch of documents, averaging 60 pages each. An
Index lookup feature is also available, listing all the words used in these
sheets. A significant portion of the NIDS can be searched using the more
thorough page annotations.