The Humanitarian Encyclopedia is based on a comprehensive mapping of humanitarian organisations and their documents. This research process has generated multiple datasets that can be used by practitioners and researchers to better understand the humanitarian sector. These databases inlcude:

About the Humanitarian Encyclopedia Corpus

Analysis of the Humanitarian Encyclopedia's concepts is underpinned by an innovative linguistic approach that uses natural language processing on a collection of documents - "the corpus" - to identify patterns and trends in the way humanitarians define, use, or debate key concepts. To analyse each concept, researchers query the collection of documents to find information on:

  • Frequencies of use by organisation type, region, document type and year
  • Definitions and elements of a definition
  • Related concepts
  • Nearby terms (co-locations) that qualify the usage of a concept
  • Synonyms and antonyms of the concept
  • Trends and usage over time
  • Debates and controversies 

The collection contains 4,824 documents or 71,201,157 distinct words published by humanitarian organisations from 2005 to 2019. Each document is coded with metadata including the type of document, organisation, region and year of publication. When interpreting the data, it is important to be aware of the balance of the corpus: many documents are from western organisations, recent years, and non- and inter-governmental organisation types. Overall, the corpus represents a wide range of humanitarian organisations and perspectives. However, where possible, it is helpful to compare findings of the linguistic analysis with the experience and data from other sources and perspectives, noting consensus and diversity where it occurs.

Organisation types

The corpus contains documents from 11 types and 26 subtypes of humanitarian organisations. Click on a wedge to reveal the subtypes of an organisation. Hover on a wedge to get more details on the number of words.


Documents are classified into seven regions: Africa, Asia, CCSA (Caribbean, Central and South America), MENA (Middle East and North Africa), North America and Oceania. Click on a bubble to see the organisation types in each region. Hover to get the number of words.

Document types and year of publication

All documents fall under one of three broad categories: General Document, Activity Report, and Strategy. Documents are published between 2005 and 2019. Click on a bar to highlight that year. Hover to get more details on the number of words.

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