The United States Institute of Peace was formed by the Congress of the United States in 1984 to strengthen the country's ability to promote the peaceful resolution of international conflict. USIP's website is a well-rounded and thorough extension of its mandate.
The initial page provides links to a variety of information resources. On the Wire lists media appearances by USIP fellows. Newsroom provides information for members of the press.
One of the most interesting elements of the USIP site is in the Events section. This section provides information on upcoming and past events held at or sponsored by USIP. In addition to providing documents produced by or presented at these events, in at least one case USIP provides an archival webcast (www.usip.org/oc/vd/mic/micwebcast.html) of its program on Managing Information Chaos. Visitors to this site can watch the briefing as it happened through the RealVideo format. As can be expected, the video is choppy, especially at slow transfer rates, but the audio is relatively clear and the effect much different than simply reading the report discussed. This innovation allows USIP to include many people in its activities who would otherwise not be able to attend. It is hoped that this webcast will be a model for future events.
The most practical and useful section of the website provides full-text reports. On the initial page, USIP lists a few Special Reports recently released or of a timely nature, but the real information is on the publications page (www.usip.org/pubs/reports.html). Here, USIP provides text- and sometimes .pdf-formatted documents free-of-charge. These documents range from the Peacewatch newsletter, which is published six times a year and archived back to June 1996, to Peaceworks and Special Reports. The reports are in-depth analyses prepared by USIP fellows on a variety of peace- and justice-related topics.
In addition to the addition of webcasts, another section has great potential for the future. The USIP library section includes information on a program USIP is developing along with the US Department of State. The State Department is building a digital library on diplomacy and USIP will be providing its support by collecting and digitizing all formal peace agreements signed since 1989 (www.usip.org/library/pa.html). The digital peace agreements initiative is an appetizing look at the future of peace and international relations research.
USIP also provides information on its grant program, fellows and fellowship program, and the USIP Press.
Overall, the site is easy to navigate and not too graphics-heavy. As a result, www.usip.org is a high-quality addition to the field and provides all users with a large variety of resources to encourage their work for peace.
OJPCR: The Online Journal of Peace and Conflict Resolution is published by the Tabula Rasa Institute, www.trinstitute.org.