This page gives some general guidance on installing OpenEvSys. If you are installing OpenEvSys on a computer running Windows XP or Vista, this very detailed walkthrough will be more useful to you.

1. Requirements
2. Installation Steps (Local)
2.1. Download OpenEvSys application
2.2. Install supporting technologies
2.3. Extract the application
2.4. Grant Directory Permissions
2.5. Run the Web Installer

1. Requirements

Because OpenEvSys runs through your web browser, it will run on almost any computer that supports a JavaScript-enabled web browser. In addition, OpenEvSys will work on any Linux system, or Microsoft Windows XP and Vista operating systems.

To get OpenEvSys working on your local computer, you will need a few technical skills. You will be working with some concepts, such as webservers, that may be unfamiliar to you. Getting OpenEvSys running safely and securely in an organisational context, over the Internet or a Local Area Network will certainly require a skilled IT officer, such as a webmaster or a server technician.

To use OpenEvSys, you will need to install the most recent versions of the following software on your computer:

          o Your MySQL will need innoDB support enabled by default (on some webhosts, it is not enabled, so check your my.cnf)
          o Gettext support will speed up localisation features
          o Enabling Adodb support will be speed up the application

You will also need these installed on your computer (it's likely they already are if you are reading this):

2. Installation Steps (Local)

2.1 Download OpenEvSys application

The OpenEvSys application can be downloaded from Download OpenEvSys

The file you will download is an archive containing all the files that the OpenEvSys application needs to work.

Choose the most recent release, which will be the one with the highest number. All past and future versions will also be listed on the download page.

All OpenEvSys download files are all digitally signed with an MD5 sum, which is a unique number for that particular file. You can use this number to verify the file you have on your computer has not been tampered with during download. To learn how to do this, visit this webpage.

If you cannot download OpenEvSys, please contact HURIDOCS and we will gladly send you a CD with a package of tools and documents, including OpenEvSys.

2.2 Install supporting technologies

To run OpenEvSys, you will first need to install a local "webhost stack" on your computer. This installs PHP5, MySQL 5 and Apache for you, and allows your computer to behave like a web server.

If you are using Windows XP or Vista, you can do this easily using one of the below:

          o Download XAMPP directly from ApacheFriends
          o Download size is about 35Mb
          o The installation instructions for XAMPP are here.

          o Download WAMPServer directly from
          o Download size is about 15 Mb
          o the installation instructions for WAMPServer are here.

If you are using an Apple Mac:

          o Download MAMP from here.
          o Installation instructions for MAMP are here.

If you are using Linux, use the LAMP version of XAMPP or your local package manager to install the necessary components.

2.3 Extract the application

Once you have the proper software installed and running, download OpenEvSys and extract the folder into your web hosts’ document root:


For security reasons, you should only expose the “www” folder within the OpenEvSys package, but if you are simply running this locally, this should not be a major concern.

2.4 Grant Directory Permissions

You will need to make sure that the following folders have write access by granting the relevant permissions (read more on this here if you are using Windows: or here if you use Linux: ):

2.5 Run the Web Installer

Access the www directory through your web browser (often “localhost/openevsys/www” but this is dependent on the directory structure you have created).

You will be prompted to fill out information about database, admin and system identification settings. Give the installer the information to access your database (the Host will likely be "localhost" and the username and password will be what you set it up as when you installed MySQL). In addition, create a password for the administrative account. Try to create a safe, hard-to-crack password to protect your information (for more information on password security, visit The system identifier value is, by default, random: it identifies this instance of OpenEvSys: you can choose any value you want. Then click "install".

As the installer indicates, you should now go and make the /conf/sysconf.php file read-only to protect from potential modifications which may cause problems when running OpenEvSys.

Click to continue, and login with username “admin” and the password you inputted during installation.
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Installing Wamp Server

This document describes in great detail how to install OpenEvSys 0.9-rc1 on a Microsoft Windows XP or Microsoft Windows Vista computer using WAMPServer.

It is designed to get you moving, and allow you to try out OpenEvSys for yourself. If it doesn't work, it's a problem with Windows, not OpenEvSys. The installation that you use here in not secure, so don't put anything confidential in it. If you want to use OpenEvSys for storing confidential information, or for use online over the Internet for your organisation, we strongly recommend that you involve your webmaster or a server technician.

Get WAMPServer running on your computer

Get WAMPServer

Open your Internet browser, and visit the WAMPServer website (, or the project page on Sourceforge ( Save the file somewhere on your computer, for example:


Find where you saved the WAMPServer installer

Once the download is complete, find the installer file in C:\Users\Example\Folder\Stuff. Left-click on it twice, quickly, to start the installation process.

WAMPServer warning about previous version

If you have a previous version of WAMPServer running, backup any data and remove it before starting to install the newer version.

WAMPServer starts to install

Accept the WAMPServer terms of use and licence

Select I accept the agreement, and then Next to continue the installation process.

WAMPserver is Free Software like OpenEvSys. You can download, share with friends, and modify it if you like.

Choose where WAMPServer should install

By default, WAMPServer installs itself in this directory on your computer:


You can choose any location you like though.

Finalise the installation

Create a desktop shortcut and quicklaunch icon if you like.

The WAMPServer installer gives you a chance to change your mind about where to install.

Sit back and watch as WAMPServer installs

This should take less than a minute.

Configure WAMPServer's mail server

You don't need an email server for OpenEvSys. Leave the data that is already there. Select "next" to continue installing.

WAMPServer Installation is complete

Click on "finish" to start WAMPServer running on your computer.

WAMPServer is starting up

WAMPServer is now starting up on your local computer. You will see a new icon in Window's system tray, at the bottom right hand side of your screen, where the clock is.

The WAMPServer icon looks like a little horsehoe, or a fan. When WAMPServer is starting, this little icon is partly yellow.

WAMPServer is now running

When WAMPServer is working smoothly, the little icon is all white. When some services (eg. MySQL, or PHP) are not working, or are switched off, this icon may be partly red.

Access WAMPServer's control panel and disable PHP error reporting

With your mouse pointer, right click once on the white icon in the system tray. The WAMPServer control panel will pop-up immediately.

Using the menus in this control panel, you can stop and start WAMPServer, and change most of the settings of PHP, MySQL and Apache. Hover over PHP, then PHP Settings, and then select "display errors" and "display startup errors". This will remove the "tick" and disable PHP error reporting.

Now open the WAMPServer control panel again, and select www directory. This will open up this directory in Windows Explorer - the file browser in Microsoft Windows that you use for things like moving and deleting files, or creating directories.

The WAMPServer /www directory


The WAMPServer /www directory is where we will put OpenEvSys. It is here:


If you had installed WAMP somewhere else, it will be here:


 Download and Extract OpenEvSys

Download the OpenEvSys application from

Open up your web browser and visit the OpenEvSys download page on, here. Because you are installing OpenEvSys on a Microsoft Windows computer, you will need to download the file called:

Save OpenEvsys in the WAMPServer /www directory

Right click on the link called Now select "save link as" from the menu. When asked, choose the following directory (or wherever you installed WAMPServer):


An empty /www directory

Nothing in the c:/wamp/www directory yet!

The OpenEvSys application is now saved in the right directory

There you go.

Un-archive the OpenEvSys application

The file you downloaded from has a .zip extension. This means it is archived or compressed. Archiving makes files smaller, which means they can be downloaded more quickly. Archiving also means that complete directories containing many files can be transfered all at once.

To use the contents of the .zip, we have to extract the folders and files from it first. There are many different tools to do this, including the tool built into Windows Vista, or third party tools like WinZip, 7Zip or WinRar. Usually, the controls of these archiving tools are accessed by right clicking to bring up Window's context menu.

I am choosing to use WinRar. Right click on and choose "extract here". This means that the contents of will be extracted to this directory:


This directory will be created automatically by the unarchiving tool that you use.

OpenEvSys is being extracted from its archive

WinRar - and any other archiving tool - will show you what files it is extracting, and how much progress it has made.

OpenEvsys has been successfully extracted

You can see the new directory alongside the original .zip file.

Have a look inside the new OpenEvSys directory

Web applications have a directory structure containing lots of different files. For the purposes of this tutorial, we don't need to know anything about these.

Install OpenEvSys

Install OpenEvSys

Start an Internet browser like Firefox or Internet Explorer. In the address bar, type the following URL and press enter:


The localhost is WAMPserver, and your browser will know where to look. Localhost is shorthand for the WAMPServer's /www directory, as you can see:


The installer will now start automatically.

If it doesn't start automatically, this is probably because you have unarchived OpenEvSys in a different directory. Some users have found that their un-archiving tool installs in a directory like the below:


To access OpenEvSys you can either copy the contents of the final "/openevsys_0.9-rc1" to the previous directory, or simply put the following in your browser:


The OpenEvSys installer starts

OpenEvSys requires some information from you, which we have to input.

1. Check file permission

This checks whether the OpenEvSys can save data on your computer. On Microsoft Windows Vista and XP, this permission is granted by default to you, if you are the administrator of your computer.

2. Database setup

OpenEvSys stores information in a MySQL database. You installed MySQL on your computer when you installed WAMPServer. OpenEvSys will create the database automatically. Because this is just a local installation, we can use the WAMPServer defaults:

Host: localhost

This means the MySQL database on your computer.

User: root

This is the MySQL "super user". To use another user, or configure OpenEvSys for real use, you will need to configure MySQL, which is covered in another tutorial.


On WAMPServer, the user called root has no password. This is not secure.

Name: openevsys

Give the database a name. MySQL can have many different databases running, so we have to create one specifically for OpenEvSys data. Let's call it openevsys

3. Admin Password

When OpenEvSys is first installed, it has one user:


admin has complete complete control over OpenEvsys, and we set up the password during installation. You will be able to change the admin password once installation is complete, but we suggest selecting a strong password now.

4. System Identifer

The value that you choose here is unique to this particular installation of OpenEvSys. OpenEvSys creates a random value for you, which we call the Base ID. In the screenshot above, it is "SyyGGq", but you can delete that value and put what you like For example, you could put "myorganisation" or "myorganisation-fo1" (for Field Office 1).

The system identifier will appear in the record numbers inside OpenEvSys, for example:


The reason for this is simple: it allows you to condolidate data from different installations of OpenEvSys. If OpenEvSys only had a single ascending record ID number, consolidating data would be far harder since there might be many different records with the same ID. THis makes that less likely.

Enter the installation details, and start installing

Now just select "install". The installation process will start: it should take no longer than 10 seconds.

OpenEvSys is now installed

OpenEvSys's essential information, such as the database password, is stored in this file:


You can choose to do what OpenEvSys suggests, and make the file read-only. This will prevent it from being altered by the application, and is a basic level safety measure. For this tutorial, don't bother.

Go to the login link that OpenEvSys provides you with.

Login to OpenEvSys as Admin

The default username for the administrator is admin.

The password will be the password you gave during installation to login to OpenEvSys.

If the screen looks strange, and appear to have some errors on it (something about "setting headers", or "...reference has been deprecated" this is because you have not disabled error reporting in PHP, as was recommended above in this tutorial. You should do that now.

OpenEvSys is installed, and you are using it

You can now start creating new users, new events, set up OpenEvSys and begin entering data on your computer. 

Get and Install MAMP


Download MAMP

Open your web-browser and go to the MAMP download page MAMP download page ( Save the file somewhere on your computer.

Check the hardisk space

Please check you have enough free space on your computer before installing MAMP. To install MAMP, you will need space 356 MB on your hardisk.

Installing MAMP

Find and extract the file by clicking twice to install it onto your computer.

License Agreement

To continue the installation, you must agree to the license agreement.

Just click "Agree" button to continue the installation.

Up-grade MAMP

If you have a previous version of MAMP installed, please read “how to upgrade.rtf” to find out how to upgrade MAMP.

Drag the MAMP folder to Application folder or you can copy the folder and put it into


Please use the MAMP rather than MAMP PRO on this installation. Otherwise you will have to buy the PRO version.

Installation process begins.

Check the Installation

Please check the installation by checking the Application folder


Finished! You have MAMP on your computer! Well done.


Starting MAMP Server 


Please go to MAMP folder with your finder at:


Execute by clicking the file twice.

Widget Control

If you wish, put the MAMP widget control on your Mac's dashboard by clicking the MAMP Control.wdgt. It will automatically put the widget to the Dashboard, so you can find it easily later.

Running the Server

Now, how to run the server? There are two ways to activate the server: first, open the MAMP application and by default the server will start running and open the welcoming page in your default browser (probably Safari).

The second way to start the server is from the dashboard, by clicking “start server” button on the MAMP widget.

If you can see the welcome page in your browser, the MAMP is installed on your Mac and everything is working!

Installing OpenEvsys

Get OpenEvsys

Download the OpenEvSys application from Open your web browser and visit the OpenEvSys download page on

Get The File

Because your installing OpenEvSys on Macintosh, you'll need to download specific file called:



For this tutorial, we use openevsys_0.9-rc1.tar.gz

Later versions of OpenEvSys will also be listed here when they are released.


To use the application, you must extract the file to the right directory. Open the package file using your archive application (The Unarchiver is the default application for Mac) and put the file into to:


Please make sure that you put it in the right folder, or else the application won't work properly.

Installing OpenEvsys

Open your web-browser. In the address bar, type the following URL:


 and press enter.

The localhost:8888 is the MAMP server, and your browser will know where to look. Localhost is shorthand for the MAMP server's /htdocs directory, as you can see:

 http://localhost:8888/openevsys_0.9-rc1/www/ is .../Application/MAMP/htdocs 

The installer will now start automatically. If it doesn't start automatically, this is probably because you have unarchived OpenEvSys in a different directory. Find where you've unarchived it, and move the whole directory to .../Application/MAMP/htdocs

Setup Database

OpenEvSys stores information in a MySQL database. You installed MySQL on your computer when you installed MAMP. OpenEvSys will create the database automatically. For now, we can use MAMP default MySQL credentials:

Please fill all the field with:

Now just select "install". The installation process will start: it should take no longer than 10 seconds.

OpenEvSys's essential information, such as the database password, is stored in this file:


You can choose to do what OpenEvSys suggests, and make the file read-only. This will prevent it from being altered by the application, and is a basic level safety measure.

You can start using OpenEvsys!

The default username for the administrator is admin. The password will be the password you gave during installation to login to OpenEvSys.

Have fun!

Who did What to Whom?

The methodology behind OpenEvSys is based upon a tried-and-proven approach to human rights abuse documentation, namely "Who did what to whom?" This question implies a victim, a perpetrator, and an act that brings them together. Focusing on this question allows us to systematically break down events into ways that will allow for better documentation and analysis. From this, we derive a whole host of roles a person can assume. Take a glance at this graphical model we've developed that provides an overview of the OpenEvSys methodology:

Pairing our initial question with this model, we can modify the question to: "Who (perpetrator) did what (act) to whom (victim)"? In essence, we've created a relational system that allows you to better understand these types of events. All violations are inherently tied together by an actual act (or omission of one). But we also understand that there are times when acts are linked to each other and can only be understood in conjunction with each other. Thus, we introduced Events, allowing you to encompass an unlimited number of acts, victims, and perpetrators into a single entity. This represents the core model behind OpenEvSys. The other roles and formats allow for a completion of the tapestry of acts that represents a human rights violation, giving you a fuller understanding of the circumstances behind any event.

Events Standard Formats

A Review of the Events Standard Formats

The HURIDOCS Events Standard Formats make up an integrated, standardized, adaptable tool that covers the various aspects of documenting human rights events. There are four kinds of formats:

Entity formats

Role formats

Link Formats

Attachment Formats

Note that the Biographic Data Format is both a link format and an attachment format. It can be used to link the record of a person to that of another, if a relationship, such as marriage, exists. Or it can be an attachment format, to be attached to a Person record, to provide additional information such as about the educational background of an individual.

A basic characteristic of the events documentation system developed by HURIDOCS is that persons are related to events. The main formats are the entity formats: the Person format and the Event format. For more details about the various formats and the recording of events, please consult the HURIDOCS Events Standard Formats: A tool for documenting human rights violations.


What is Documentation?

Documentation is crucial in understanding and analyzing human rights abuses. Many OpenEvSys users new to the idea of documentation may be confused as to what it exactly entails.

There are a variety of definitions for documentation, but in the context of OpenEvSys there is a specific conception involved. The following definitions come directly from the HURIDOCS book What is Documentation?:

Documentation is a process consisting of several activities, namely:

Documentation could also mean a specific part of this process. Thus, documentation could refer to the act of recording information, or the act of collecting and organising documents. ...

Why Document?

There are a number of reasons why documentation is important. For one, events happen and are finished after a certain time. Or there could be some events which are useful to be informed about, but which happen elsewhere. People may also have different perceptions and analyses of events. If there is no documentation on these events, information on them may forever be gone, and the benefit that could have been derived from them is lost.

In other words, documentation is an activity that is forward-looking, meant to address a future need. People who need certain information will need documents that they can refer back to. Moreover, if properly documented, information can be re-used and re-used.

Purposes of Human Rights Documentation

Human right organisations are usually set up for the following purposes:

Human rights organisations must strive to obtain hard evidence to prove that violations of human rights are taking place and to which degree. This involves both the systematic documentation of particular cases and the compilation of trends and statistics based on a larger amount of information collected and recorded over time. This information can then be used for action at the national, regional and international levels.

A clear presentation of the facts surrounding an alleged violation will help in enabling concerned groups to provide immediate assistance to victims of violations. Systematic documentation that can enable groups to combine pieces of information from various sources is also crucial in bringing perpetrators to justice. Human rights groups can also build up a memory of violations which occurred in the past under a repressive regime, because it is important not to forget.


Monitoring means the close observation of a situation or individual case carried out so as to determine what further action needs to be taken. The following elements constitute monitoring:

Human rights monitoring can have the following particular purposes:

To read more on Monitoring, please refer to the HURIDOCS book on What is Monitoring?

The OpenEvSys User Interface

This page describes what you are seeing when you load the different parts of OpenEvSys. It starts quite general, with descriptions of the main parts of the screen, and how they change when you perform different tasks. It then becomes more specific, describing the tools that OpenEvSys gives you to enter and manage your data.

Browser Areas: Events, Persons & Documents

This section explains what are you seeing on the main, browser areas of OpenEvSys. These areas display tables about primary records (Events, Persons, Document), from which you can access more detailed information about Victims, Sources and other sorts of record.


   1. User controls: These links control your user account. You can log out, change your password and update your account details (such as you job title, or telephone number). The help pages are not active in OpenEvSys yet, although help specific to data fields is available when entering data.
   2. Main navigation: These links take you to the main areas, or modules of OpenEvSys.
   3. Breadcrumbs: These links are there you help you see where you are in OpenEvSys. They change depending on what screens you are working on (for an explanation of why they are called "breadcrumbs", read this page.)
   4. Primary tabs: These control what you see in the main area of your screen. There are usually two tabs. The first will contain a list of records, and the second will be where you view a specific record. A tab is becomes active when you select it, and will turn white.
   5. Action button: on this screen, you can see a "New Event" action button. Clicking this changes main screen to a data entry screen where you can enter an Event. If you selected "Persons" from the main navigation bar, you would see a "New Person" action button. Depending on what you are trying to do, other action buttons appear in OpenEvSys.
   6. Page controls: Where there is a list of more than 10 records, such as on the screenshot above, OpenEvsys will break up the list into "pages" of records. You can control how many records OpenEvSys displays, and navigate between "pages" of records using the numbers and arrows.
   7. Filter controls: You can type into the empty white boxes at the top of some tables, like on this screen. OpenEvSys uses the values you enter to narrow down the records displayed. Once you have typed in a text value or selected one from a list, click on "filter" (or just press enter). You can filter on a single, or all the columns. Clicking on "reset" removes all the filters, and therefore displays all the records again.
   8. Table headings & sort controls: By default, the rows in tables in OpenEvSys are sorted in the order in which they were entered. You can change this by clicking on a column heading. This will change the order of the rows in the ascending or descending order on the column you select. A little arrow pointing up or down indicates which direction you have sorted that column. You can only apply a single sort, but you can sort results that you have filtered.
   9. Link to main record: Clicking on this link will take you to that Event.

Viewing an Event

This section explains what you are seeing when you select a specific Event.

   1. Management information: This is inforamtion about this specific record that is created automatically by OpenEvSys.
   2. Title area: This displays the Event Title prominently. Where information about Monitoring Status or Permissions (confidentiality) is entered, this is also displayed in this area. If you were viewing a Person record, the Person Name would be displayed in this area.
   3. Secondary tabs: Different parts of the same Event are displayed in tabs. Selecting a tab will display that information in the main area of the screen. For example, selecting "Victim & Perpetrator" will change the main display to show a table with the Victim's Name, the Type of Act, the Perpetrator's Name and their Degree of Involvement, with links to relevant records. The secondary tabs for Events, Persons and Document hold different sorts of information.
   4. Action buttons: as noted above, action buttons appear depending on what you are looking at on screen, or the task you are trying to perform.
   5. Standard Format: This is the main record showing all the information you have entered about the Event.

Record entry screens

This section explains what you are seeing when you are entering a new record of whatever sort (e.g. Event, Act, Involvement, etc).

   1. Mandatory field warning: The presence of a red "required" notice next to a field means that you cannot save this record until you have entered data into the field. Any field can be mandatory (see OpenEvSys Form Customization)
   2. Inactive Secondary Tabs: When you first create an Event, OpenEvSys shows you the other areas that you can fill out, but only once you have completed the Event format.
   3. Active Primary Tab: When creating a new Event, Person or Document, OpenEvsys opens a new primary tab to show you that you are creating a new record. The other Primary Tabs (Browse, and View) remain active: clicking on them browse away from the record you are entering without saving your work.
   4. Record "workflow": When entering a new record, or set or records, OpenEvSys will show you the progress you are making, and the steps that remain. We call this a workflow. Some actions have longer workflows. For example, adding a Victim has five steps (Add Victim, Add Act, Act Perpetrator, Add Involvement, Finish).

Types of data entry field, buttons and interface widgets

Input field

Input fields are freetext field. You can type into them.

This is an empty input field. The red text indicates that it is mandatory, and the question mark shows that there is guidance available on how what information to enter into this specific field (Event Title).


When selected, input fields are "back lit" with yellow (in the default OpenEvSys visual theme).


Simply type into it.


Textarea field


Checkbox fields are fields where you check a box for the value that is relevant.

This is an empty input field.


You complete it by clicking on the appropriate value, in this case you want the Event record to be confidential.


Date field

The date field follows a pre-defined format for recording the dates when events started and ended, or events records were recorded or updated.

The question mark shows that there is guidance available on how what information to enter into this specific field (Initial Date).


You can complete the field by recording the date in the order YEAR-MONTH-DAY. Use four digits for the year, two for the month and two for the day, and a hyphen between each.

Alternatively, you click on the "date" icon which will then allow you to browse through a calendar.


Clicking on "Clarify?" allows you to add additional notes, for example mentioning that the exact month or day are not known, and that this is an estimate.


Drop-down selector

The drop-down selector allows you to select the appropriate term from one of the HURIDOCS Micro-thesauri or from a thesaurus which you created yourself and which has one single level.


You complete it by clicking on the little "down arrow" button at the right of the box. A list of available options for completing the box will appear. For this example, "Final Date Type", the options are "Estimate", "Unknown day" and "Unkwnown month and day". Select the most appropriate one.


Tree selector

The Tree selector allows you to select the most appropriate term(s) of one of the HURIDOCS Micro-thesauri or of a thesaurus which you created yourself and which has multiple levels.

You start completing the field by "Click to select an option". A list will appear with all terms at the top level of the hierarchy. You select the appropriate top level by clicking on it.


Within the selected top level, you can then select the most appropriate second level.

If you change your mind and decide that this level is not the most relevant one, you can remove that selection and make a new choice. You can also add clarifying notes.


Most of these Micro-thesauri allow for multiple entries. After you have added one term, you can click again on the list of terms to add a second one, etc.


Supporting Document Field

The field Supporting Documents allows add documents which provide useful information about this case. A short format has to be completed for each document added.


By clicking on "Show Supporting Documents", you obtain a list of documents which have already been entered. You can either select one of these, or you can create a new Supporting Document by clicking on the "New" button.




Clarifying note

A Clarifying note allows to register additional information about the contents of a particular field.


Click on the word "Clarify" and a text box with yellow background will appear. You can add your note here.


The note can be deleted with the "Remove" button.

Help/glossary text

By clicking on the question mark "?" at the right of each field, you will get the help text for that field, with a definition, guidelines, rules for entering and examples.


Mandatory field

When creating a new event, you are obliged to give this field a title.


Browsing Events

Browsing with Multiple Events

In addition to having a great documentation system, OpenEvSys also boasts a great interface with which you can easily browse through the information that you have entered. To begin, let's go to the Browse Events page. Assuming you've added some events, you will see a table displaying the cases that you have entered already:

Note: You can change the columns that are visible. If you are interested in this, please refer to Form Customization.

Browsing through your events is really simple! By default, OpenEvSys "paginates" your results, which means it takes all your records and breaks them up in pages (by default, there are 10 records per page). You can choose to add more records per page, or to simply view all records at once. Warning: If you have a large amount of cases, it may take an extremely long time to load all events at once.

To modify the pagination, simply refer to the top of the table where you can Show All or modify the number of records per page.

Click on "Show All" or give in a custom number where 10 is and click "Set"

OpenEvSys also allows you to organize your results based on existing columns. For example, if you click on Event Title you will organize all records by it, either ascending or descending (the arrow will indicate which). Any visible column can be used to reorder your records. This is called sorting your results.


Clicking on "Event Title" results in a new organization of available records

Finally, in addition to sorting your records, OpenEvSys also allows you to filter the visible records. Filtering is basically a quick search. This is extremely useful when you know what group of records you are looking for. Do you notice the white spaces above the column titles but beneath Filter and Reset? Each of these blank fields corresponds to the column in which they are found. Here you can type in some information that you want OpenEvSys to use to narrow down the records that you see. For example, if you are looking for a specific project that contains multiple events, simply type in the Project Title, then click Filter (or Enter on your keyboard). Your results will be narrowed down to your criteria.


In this example, we know that "Chechnya" is in the project title. We simply type Chechnya, hit Enter or press the Filter button, and OpenEvSys automatically narrows our results down.

You can further refine your searches by giving in multiple criteria in multiple fields. In addition, once you've got your specified results, you may sort them as previously discussed by clicking on column titles.

Browsing a Single Event

You may have noticed that the Event Record Number column has links in it. These links correspond to their respective Events. By clicking on this link, you will be brought to the View Event section which displays more detail about the Event that you have selected.


The "View Event" section provides an extremely detailed overview of the event, with the tabs on top giving you access to nearly every aspect of the event.

OpenEvSys provides you with all relevant actions in terms of editing the Event you are viewing. The Victims and Perpetrators tab gives you an overview of all the Acts which have occurred within the Event, and who the victims and perpetrators were. From here, you can go to individual person records by clicking on a persons name, you can view the acts, and the involvements. These records will appear below the table.

Here we've clicked on a specific Act, after which OpenEvSys gives us the option to edit it in different ways.

All other tabs behave in similar ways. If you view a tab that has no information (for instance Source may not be filled out), OpenEvSys will notify you of this and ask you if you'd like to add that type of information.

One tab which may be of particular use to you is the Audit Log tab. OpenEvSys stores information on every action taken by users in regard to the creation or modification of records. This will allow you to track who has done what within OpenEvSys.

The Audit Log is ordered by the Timestamp which is the time at which a certain action took place.  

Browsing Persons

Browsing Multiple Persons

The interface for looking at multiple Person records is the same as when Browsing Events.

Browsing Single Person

The interface for looking at an individual Person record is similar to browsing single events.

Looking at an individual person allows you to get a good overview of what relations that person has to any events stored in your system. To see what roles this person has taken in various Acts or Events, simply go to the Role List and OpenEvSys will provide you with an overview. Remember: A person can have multiple roles, and can be both a victim and perpetrator.

Browsing Documents

Browsing Multiple Documents

The interface for browsing documents is identical to that of Browsing Events.

Browsing Single Documents

Viewing a single document will allow you to see where a document has been linked to. A document can be linked to multiple records. You can also download the document from this page.


Keyboard Shortcuts

OpenEvSys and your Internet browser have some keyboard shortcuts that can help you get around OpenEvSys, and perform common tasks more quickly.

 OpenEvSys Shortcuts

The following are programmed into OpenEvSys, and won't work on other websites.

Pressing the following keys all at once will take you to different areas of OpenEvSys:

Key Combination     What happens
Alt + Shift + e     Changes page to Events browser
Alt + Shift + p     Changes page to Persons browser
Alt + Shift + d     Changes page to Document browser
Alt + Shift + s     Changes page to Analysis main screen
Alt + Shift + a     Changes page to Admin main screen

Once you have chosen a main area of OpenEvSys, the following key combinations will perform common tasks:

Key Combination     What happens
Alt + Shift + b     Browses records in that area of OpenEvSys
Alt + Shift + v     Views the last viewed records in that area
Alt + Shift + n     Create a new record of that type (eg. when in Event, create a new Event)

Warnings about OpenEvSys Keyboard Shortcuts

    * If you press any Keyboard Shortcut when you are editing a record, you will lose whatever changes you have made to that record.
    * Pressing "Alt + Shift" alone on a computer running Microsoft Windows will change the input language, if you have more than one set up.

Internet Browser Shortcuts

The following keyboard shortcuts work on most Internet browsers on most webpages, and can help you get around in OpenEvSys:

Key combination    What happens
Alt + left cursor     Browse back to the previous page
Alt + right cursor     Browse forward to a previously visited page
Tab key     Takes you to the next screen element, which could be an input field, a dropdown menu or a hyperlink. Shift + Tab key does the reverse, and moves you back to the previous screen element.
Enter     If in an input field, Enter submits the form. If on a link, Enter selects that link
Space bar     Where nothing is select, pressing Space moves the current page downwards, "over the fold" (i.e. the bits you can't yet see). Shift + Space does the reverse, and moves the page back up.
Ctrl + +     Makes the text of the website bigger. Pressing this combination repeatedly will keep increasing the text size.
Ctrl + -     Make the text of the website smaller. Pressing this combination repeatedly will keep decreating the text size.
Ctrl + 0     Resets the text size to the website's defaults.

More information

    * Full list of keyboard shortcuts for Mozilla Firefox.
    * Full list of keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Internet Explorer

Basic search

The Basic search allows to search for records within a particular format.

Start by selecting the format in which you want to carry out your search, and you will obtain a search form.

For example, for searching in events:

You then complete one or more fields for which you want to carry out an "AND" search (matching all search criteria).


You will then get the search results, and you can do the following things:



    * click on a particular record that matches the search criteria. You can then edit, delete or print this record.

Advanced search

Advanced Search allows you to carry out searches in a combination of fields in different formats, which you determine yourself.

You start "Advanced Search" by clicking on the button under Analysis.

You will be asked to select the Entity (format) from which you want to search.


ATTENTION! While you can search in all formats, it is best to determine in advance in which fields you want to search. This is because the order of the formats searched in should be hierarchical. If you want to do a search including an event, you have to start defining the Event searches. Afterwards, you can search in another field in the Event format or in any other format: Act etc.



If you start in Act, you can only search in other Acts, Victims, Perpetrators or Involvement.

After selecting for example the Event format, you can then select the field in which you want to search.


For fields with text, you can select a word or various word that are part of a phrase (Contains), are like certain words, are the whole field (=), do not contain, are not like, sound like or are empty.

Sounds like will allow you to search fields which are similar in sound but with different spellings.

Users which are familiar with regex (Regular Expressions, which are special text strings for describing a search pattern) can also use these.


For fields with dates, you can select operators for events that occurred before or after a certain date, between certain dates or not on certain dates:


After you have selected the operator, you can type the term(s) you are looking for. For terms which come from a Micro-thesaurus, the top level of the thesaurus will be displayed.

You click on the top level, and the terms within this top level will be displayed. Click on the appropriate term to select it.


After you have selected the first field, you can select the second field.

You will also have to indicate whether your search should match both criteria (AND) or one of the two (OR).


After you have defined all your search criteria, you can add fields to the display of search results.

When you are satisfied with the search results and want to repeat this search in the future, you can Save the search by giving it a recognisable name and description.


Finally, you can export the search results in a variety of formats: CSV, Spreadsheet and Report.





Saved Queries

Saved queries allows you to repeat a query without having to reformulate it.

After you have formulated a query created in Basic Search or Advanced Search, you can save it by clicking on the Save button. You will be prompted to give the query a name and a description.

This query will then be added to the list of Saved queries.


Form Customisation

Although we have received inputs and feedbacks from several organisations, HURIDOCS realises that it cannot conceptualise every single use for OpenEvSys. Simply put, we cannot predict what your organization will want to do with it! Given this, we have consistently focused on giving OpenEvSys a great degree of flexibility. Thus, not only can you customize your Micro-Thesauri, but you can also modify nearly every aspect of the forms used to record information. Although you cannot add or delete actual forms, you can completely modify the content (or the "fields") within those forms.

The following forms exist in OpenEvSys:

Editing a Form

To edit a form, you must first navigate to the Admin section of OpenEvSys. Form customization should appear on the screen by default because it is the first link in the Admin navigation bar (located on the left). Open the drop-down list next to Select a Format and click on the form you wish to edit. In this example, we will open up the Persons form.

Once you click Select you will be presented with the following page:

There are seven sections to this page: Labels, Visibility, Validation, Search, Order, Clarifying Notes, and Help Text.



Labels determine what the human-readable name of a field will be. Depending on the language you have enabled, you will see a Label column and optionally another column next to it for your native language (for example, if Sri Lankan was enabled, a column labeled "Label in si_LK" will appear).

To change the label, simply click the relevant box under Label that corresponds to the field you wish to edit. For example, if you wanted to change the label of the "person_record_number" field, simply click where it says "Person Record Number" and give in your own text.

You may edit multiple labels at the same time. Your changes will not be saved until you scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Update Form.

Click on Update Form to save your changes.

If at any point you find you've made multiple mistakes, or simply wish to revert to the default labels originally provided by OpenEvSys, click on Reset All.


The Visibility section allows you to determine where this field will appear. This section should not be confused with user roles or permissions. Instead, Visibility simply decides whether a field will appear in the form, when viewing a record, or when browsing records.

Simply check the boxes next to the field you wish to change to customize its' visibility. For example, if you want to see what records are confidential when browsing through Persons, simply check "Visible in Browse" in the "confidentiality" field row. Now when you browse for Persons, an additional column will show up indicating whether a person record is confidential or not. Look at the following images for comparison:


This is the default browse persons view.


Notice how confidentiality has now appeared!


You may wish to customize whether certain fields are required or not. In addition, you may also want to make sure that certain types of information are given into a field. For example, you may want OpenEvSys to validate that a date has actually been entered into the date of birth field.

When you visit the Validation tab, each field has two columns for customization: "Is Required" and "Validation Type." If a check box under "Is Required" has a check in it, then that field is required. For "Validation Type" there exist 4 validation options: Phone No., Date, Email, Numerical. "Phone No." will check that the information inserted into a field is an actual phone number. "Date" will make sure that the data is a data. "Email" will check that an actual email was given, and "Numerical" will make sure that only numbers are within a field.

You don't have to set the validation type, but you might find it useful. So, let's make a quick, sensible alteration in the Validation section of the Person form. The Person form has a field called Date of Birth. Theoretically, perhaps the people in your organization tasked with giving in the date of birth for persons occasionally types in the date incorrectly. To make sure that they input a properly formatted date, we will require a validation type of "Date."

Make sure you are editing the Persons form, and then make sure you are on the Visibility tab. Scroll down till you find "Date of Birth." Click on the drop-down menu, and select Date. Once you've done this, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on Update Form.

Select Date, then click on Update Form.

Let's see this modification in action! Navigate to the Persons section of the site, then click on Add New Person. Go to the Date of Birth field. Although OpenEvSys has an awesome calendar widget that will usually ensure your date is correctly formatted, lets mess around with it to see our modification in action. Select any random date, and then delete one number (any number!) from the field.
Give in a poorly formatted date.

Scroll down, click on Continue, and you will see OpenEvSys catch your error!

Validation in action


The Search tab establishes what fields can be searched with, and what fields will appear after a search has been performed. These searches are performed in the Analysis section of OpenEvSys, which has a separate search page for each form. By default, only a minimal number of fields are enabled, but the Search tab allows you to customize the analytical aspect of OpenEvSys with whatever parameters you want.

Here is the default search form for the Persons form:

The choices here are minimal. What if we wanted to search for persons based on gender? OpenEvSys makes this extremely easy for you! First, make sure you're editing the Persons form. Then simply select the check box next to Sex under the Searchable column, scroll down, and click Update Form

Now, when we return to Analysis and go to Persons, we will be presented with a new field to search with:

That's it! As you can see, OpenEvSys is extremely flexible and easy to modify.

The other column, In Search Results, will modify the fields that appear after you've made your search.


This tab is used to set the order in which fields are displayed in any particular format. Changing the order of fields is done by altering the numbers in the column on the far right. The ordering concept is called weighting: if a field has a lower number than another, it weighs less. Therefore it floats upwards, and will appear above heavier numbers everywhere that form is displayed. Here's an example of weighted numbering:

* Field A - 01
* Field B - 02
* Field C - 03

Re-allocating the numbers to different fields will re-order the fields:

* Field C - 01
* Field B - 02
* Field A - 03

The different between numbers does not matter, so the same ordering as above can be achieved with the following numbers:

* Field C - 9008
* Field B - 44000
* Field A - 902224

The numbering system that is pre-programmed into OpenEvSys is the HURIDOCS field codings from the Events Standard Formats. The first two digits correspond to the format, and the second two digits to the particular fields. However, you can use any numbering system that you like.

Changes to the order of fields affect the read only versions of records, the data entry forms and the browser areas. So, if Event Description has a lower number than Event Title, it will be on top of Event Title in data entry forms, and to the left of it in the main Event browser.

Clarifying Notes

This section allows you to decide whether or not a field will have optional Clarifying Notes. Clarifying notes are useful when a field's data does not on its own sufficiently explain what the meaning behind that data is. By adding a clarifying note, anyone looking at that information can get a better idea of what it might represent.

Clarifying notes are not yet available for searching.

Help Text

Help Text is the useful information that appears when you click on the "?" next to most fields when editing forms. This section allows you to customize what that help text says and optionally to translate it into your native tongue. Simply click on the Field Label for the field you wish to edit, and you will be brought to a page which will allow you to customize the help text.

In this example, clicking on "Counting Unit" will allow you to edit that fields' help text

Once you've made all your modifications, click on Save Help Text to finish. Now whenever you click on the "?" for that field, your customized help text will appear.

Micro Thesauri Customization

How to Modify the Micro-Thesauri

Having the ability to modify the micro-thesauri is a crucial feature for many groups. While HURIDOCS promotes international standards for the purpose of information exchange, it recognizes that some thesauri may not meet the exact needs of organizations, thus the Events Standard Formats allow for fields with locally developed terminologies. Let’s say your documentation happens in Kenya. This is an extremely broad term and you want to be able to break down this broad category into smaller ones like districts, towns, and villages. To do so is straight forward, but the numbering system behind it requires some reading. Please refer to HURIDOCS Micro-Thesauri: A Tool for Documenting Human Rights Violations (which can be found here). We highly recommend you get a basic understanding of the numbering system to insure proper implementation of information in your database.

One of the most common questions is how to add local geographical areas, thus we will use this to serve as an example of editing a Micro Thesauri.

Geographical terms already come preloaded with OpenEvSys. For example, the Russian Federation is listed as a geographical term, but what if your human rights group is solely focused on human rights violations in Chechnya? You would want to not only refer to the Russian Federation, but also Chechnya, and from there on also certain towns or districts within it.

To do so, you most go to the Micro Thesauri section of the site, and select “63 – local_geographical_area” from the list.

Select the thesauri you wish to customize from this drop down list.

Assuming this is the first time you have edited a micro thesauri, the list should come up blank. To begin, click on “Add New.” Two fields will pop up (or more, depending on what languages are enabled), one for the “HuriCode” and one for the Term in the language you are using.

The HuriCode is the unique identifier that sets the term you create apart from other terms, and the Term is simply the label you are associating with it. From the HURIDOCS Micro-Thesauri book:

    "The new HURIDOCS codes consist of one or more group(s) of digits. Each group contains two digits, allowing up to 99 categories to be included on each level. The HURIDOCS documentation system allows for the use of a maximum of six groups of digits, or a theoretical possibility of coding almost a trillion categories! HURIDOCS recommends that organizations that use lists of the Supporting Documents start using the new codes. In order to illustrate the equivalence between the previous Supporting Documents and the Micro-thesauri, all Micro-thesauri that are based on Supporting Documents contain the codes used in the Supporting Documents. In assigning new codes, HURIDOCS has followed certain rules. These rules should also be followed when organizations develop local Micro-thesauri, as noted in the introduction Local Thesauri below."

To continue with our example, if we are working in only Chechnya and wish to create a list of geographical terms for this, our first term would be labeled as Chechnya, and we would probably number it “010000000000” (for an explanation on this, refer to the HURIDOCS book). Once you've given in the information, click "Save New Fields."

Enter the HuriCode and Term, then click "Save New Fields" to save your changes!

If all went well, you should be presented with the following screen:

From there on, we could start moving towards more local terms (like districts or town) which we could label “01 01...”, “01 02…,” and so on. For example, let's assume there are two districts within Chechnya that interest you: Shelkovskij and Groznenskij. We would number them "010100000000" and "010200000000," thus structuring our local geographical list properly. Once again, we recommend you read the HURIDOCS manual on the Micro Thesauri to help you create well-structured lists.

Follow the same process as before with entering the terms and numbers (use the numbers we've suggested for this tutorial) and save them. You'll notice that these items do not appear on your page! This is because OpenEvSys interprets the numbering system and recognizes that the new terms "Shelkovskij" and "Groznenskij" are child items of "Chechnya." To view the child items, you must click on the parent term (in this case, Chechnya). Click on the number next to the term Chechnya ("010000000000") to view the child items. You should be presented with the following view:
This view shows all child items for a parent term you clicked on.

Now, for example, when you go to edit or create a new Event, you will be able to select the local terms you've created:

Creating Users

When you first setup OpenEvSys, there will only be one account initially set up, namely the Admin account. You may wish to add more users, especially if you have a large case load and require multiple users to work with OpenEvSys at once. To begin, you must navigate to the user management page. This can be found under the Admin section.

Click on Admin, then on "User Management" to get to the user page.

From here, you can create new users, configure permissions, and create different roles. Right now we're only concerned with creating a new user.

Click on the Add New User button to begin. You will be brought to the following page:

Only the fields labeled "required" must be filled out. The username can be any combination of letters and characters, just make sure there is no duplicate username already in existence! All other information is voluntary. The last two fields, Role and Status are important, so do not overlook them! The Role field determines what type of account you create. For instance, creating an account the "Admin" role will give the new user all the permissions that you as an admin have. Refer to Setting Permissions and Creating Roles for more information regarding this field and its' implications.

Account Status

The Status field indicates whether an account is active or inactive. If an account is active, then it can be used to access OpenEvSys. If an account is set as "inactive" then the account will continue to exist, but it will not be able to access OpenEvSys. Generally, you will have most accounts set to "active" but if you wish to deactivate an account without deleting it you may do so. For example, if one of your accounts were to become compromised (a third party learns of an accounts' login credentials), you may want to deactivate the account to prevent the third party from accessing your information. Once deactivated, you could edit the account and change the password without having to worry that the account is still accessing your website as you make changes.

For completely inactive accounts, you may wish to simply delete them.

Deleting a User Account

Deleting a user account is quick and easy. Note that deleting users does not delete the records they have added or worked on.

Simply go to the Users page, click the check box next to the account you wish to delete, and click the "Delete" button.

You will be prompted whether or not you actually wish to delete the selected account(s):

Click "Yes" to continue with the deletion or "No" if you've changed your mind or possibly selected the wrong account for deletion.

Note: You can delete any created account except for the first one made with OpenEvSys, the "admin" account. 


Creating Roles

Within OpenEvSys there exist Roles for users (not to be mistaken with roles detailing person records) which allow you to specify what parts of the site can be accessed by a user. For instance, a user with the "admin" role has different access rules for OpenEvSys then an "analyst." To create, delete, or modify roles, go to the Roles / Module Access Control page which can be found in the User Management part of the Admin section.


Overview of the "Create Roles" page in OpenEvSys

You will be presented with four columns by default: Modules, Admin, Analyst, Data Entry. This page is structured to allow you to grant access to specific modules based on the roles already in existence. Each column has its' own set of check boxes which allow you to specify which module that role has access too. Thus, if the Admin column has a box checked under it in the "Admin" row, then the Admin role has permission to access the "Admin" section of the site.

Creating a Role

OpenEvSys comes with three preconfigured roles by default: Admin, Analyst, and Data Entry. If you want to create additional roles, you may easily do so. To begin, you must create a New Role Name. You can find the field for this right above the table detailing all the access control. Give in the name of the new role you wish to create and click the "Add Role" button. In this example we will create an "Editor" role.

Give in the name of the new role and click on "Add Role"

Once you've created the new role, you will notice a new column appear on the table with your new role's title on top.

Great, so now you have a new role, but in its' default state, a new role will have no permissions. At this point you must decide what modules the new role will have access to. In this example, let's assume that our "Editor" role should only have access to the parts of the site where actual work is done with stored information. Thus, we would check everything except for "Admin" and "Analysis" because our "Editor" does not need to modify OpenEvSys itself or perform analysis on data. Once you've checked the relevant boxes, click Update Access Control List. Your changes will be saved and your page should now look like this:

Click on "Update Access Control List" to save your changes!

Once you've created the new role, you can continue modifying it by setting permissions or you can create a user with your newly defined role! 


Setting Permissions

Permissions define to what extent a Role can work with data. Permissions allow you to fine tune the degree of control and access any role has to the data within OpenEvSys. This section can be found under "User Management" in the admin section of the site.

There are four methods of user interaction in OpenEvSyS:

These permissions apply to three main entity groups:

For each entity group you may decide to what extent a role may have access. For instance, if you had created a new role (like the "Editor" from our Creating Roles example, you will want to specify exactly what can and cannot be accessed. To set up the permissions for a specific role, open the drop-down menu next to "Select Role" and hit "Select."

To continue with our prior example, there are only certain privileges we wish to give to our Editor. Since the Editor will only be looking at and modifying records, we will remove the "create" and "delete" permissions for each entity group until your permissions look like this:

Click "Update Permissions" to save your changes.


The localization option allows you to modify the default language, to manage languages and to translate.


In order to modify the default working language, click on Localization, Set language and then on the down arrow button next to English. A list of available languages will appear from which you select the appropriate one.


The option "Manage Languages" can be used to add a new language for which the various parts of the software (formats, micro-thesauri, user interface) have been translated, or to remove an existing one.



Adding a New Event

If this is your first time using OpenEvSys, you will need to know how to create “Events,” the most crucial feature behind OpenEvSys (you can read more on Events here).

Click on Add New Event

Click on Add New Event to begin. You should now see a form with a whole myriad of fields! Don’t worry though, unlike our previous software, [WinEvSys], none of these fields are required to fill in, meaning that you can give in as much (or little) information as you want. Each field has a useful question mark next to it which, when clicked, will display a tool tip to give you relevant information and context on the field you are filling out.

Overview of the "Add Event" page

Let’s create a hypothetical case which will lead us through all the crucial aspects of constructing an event. Here is the event description we’ll work with:

    Boran Kacmaz Assault

        After leaving his office for the periodical “Bread and Equality” at Basmane around 21.00 o’clock on the 25th of December, 2006, Boran Kaçmaz was stopped by a white, Renault car with a few men. The men exited the car, tied his hands, blindfolded his eyes, abducted him, and took him away on the Denizli Highway.
        When the car stopped, Kaçmaz was questioned about the content of the periodical and accused of being a terrorist. He was threatened to stop working at the journal. After refusing he was assaulted by the men until he lost consciousness and woke up later by himself no longer tied up and hitchhiked back to his office. There he learned his friend at the office, Mehmet Kemal, was similarly abducted, beaten, and threatened that night. Kaçmaz then contacted Human Rights worker and told about the incidences and asked for judicial assistance.
        This was not the first incident that has happened to employees of the office. Kaçmaz also said that the office was illegally searched by the police on 16 November, 2006 and some publications were seized.

Let’s start by giving in the event title as “Assault of Kacmaz et al.” Under initial date we will give in 25th of December, 2006. To do this, click the icon in the “Initial Date” field, which will bring up the calendar widget. The calendar widget is quick and easy to use: if you want to select another month or year, simply click on the top date (in between the arrows), and your view will change to an overview of the months. Click on it again to get an overview of the years.
Screenshot of the hierarchical menus

For Geographical Term, let’s select Russian Federation. If the term you are looking at has a box with a plus sign in it, that means this term is expandable. Click on it to display more terms. You can also collapse the menu by pressing the box again (it will have a negative sign when it is expanded). Navigate from Universal to Europe, then Eastern Europe, and select Russian Federation. All other fields using this type of hierarchical structure behave in a similar way, albeit with different terms.

Screenshot of the hierarchical menus

For the Event Description, simply copy and paste the description this tutorial has provided. For the Violation Status, let’s give in “Confirmed as a Violation.”

The next step is to index the event based on the thesauri that come pre-installed with OpenEvSys, provided to you by HURIDOCS. You may have noticed that fields such as Violation Status only permit one term to be given in. Violation Index and HURIDOCS Index terms allow for multiple choices to be made, which is useful if an event contains multiple violations, thereby allowing you to include this event in all relevant analysis you may undertake. Remember: if you are ever in doubt about the specific purpose of a field, simply consult that fields’ respective tool tip (indicated by the “?”). There you will find all necessary additional information.

Set the Violation Index field to “Violent or coercive acts by state agents” by expanding the list of “Acts involving non-respect of personal integrity and/or individual and group liberties.” Set the HURIDOCS Index Terms to “Abduction.”

When you have finished filling out event details, press “Finish” on the bottom of the page, at which point you will be brought to the “Event Summary” page. All we have at this point is a skeletal structure of the event. Now we want to start filling it out. Click on the “Add Victims and Perpetrators…” link.
Click on the "Add Victims and Perpetrators..." link to continue

Adding a Victim

You will be brought to the Victims and Perpetrators page. We now want to add a Victim. Do so by clicking the “Add Victim” button.

You will be prompted to select who the victim is, but since this is our first Event, simply click “Add New.” Once you've started adding records, you can simply select persons from your database if an event or act you are working with concerns an individual you've already documented before.

As you can see, there are a whole lot of fields asking for information we don’t have. This is OK because OpenEvSys does NOT require these fields to be filled in. OpenEvSys is intended to be as flexible as possible for your organization, thus you decide what information is entered. Select the Counting Unit as “Individual” (in OpenEvSys, victims can be individuals, groups, etc.). Enter the Name as “Boran Kacmaz.”

Scroll down, and under Occupation navigate to “Journalist” via “Professionals,” “Other Professionals,” “Writers, creative and performing artists,” and select “Authors, journalists and other writers.” Note: You may select multiple occupations if ever necessary.

Keep going down until you see General Characteristics. In the context of the victim, General Characteristics refers to what characteristics of the person led to the respective human rights violation. In this case, we will say “Press; Media” for this affiliation is what likely led him to be victimized. Scroll to the bottom and click on “Continue.”


Adding an Act

You will now be brought to a screen with the question “What happened to "Boran Kacmaz" ?”

This page details the “Act” aspect of an Event. The Act links a victim and perpetrator. Since Boran was abducted, go to Type of Act, “Violations against the right to liberty,” and select “Abduction.” Give in the initial date as Dec. 25, 2006. Depending on the degree of detail you wish to fill out for this form, browse through the other fields and fill in information as you see fit. Once again, none of the fields are required unless labeled as such, thus you can put in a little information and always return to the specific record to edit and update it. When you’ve filled out the relevant information, click “Continue” on the bottom of the page, at which point you must enter information on the Perpetrator (“Who is responsible for the "Abduction; kidnapping" against "Boran Kacmaz" ?”).

Adding a Perpetrator

The people who victimized Kacmaz were unidentified, but it seems they were acting with a political agenda. We will draw the assumption that they are “Security Forces,” which is simply a generic name we will use for this tutorial. Since both Perpetrators and Victims are persons, the form used to fill in their information is identical. We have extremely limited information on the Perpetrator though, thus give in as much or as little information as you desire for this tutorial.

Once you have completed this information, continue on to the next section, the “Involvement.” Set the Degree of Involvement to “Directly carried out the act” and Type of Perpetrator to “Intelligence agency; secret service.” Once you’ve done this, press the bottom button and you will have created your first Event!

Upon completion, you should see the following screen which provides you with a brief synopsis of your created event:

Congratulations, you’ve created your first OpenEvSys event! Remember, the degree of information you provide can vary greatly. This example was extremely minimalistic. If we’d wanted, we could add more acts, victims, and perpetrators to this event. It all depends on you to break down the information in a systematic manner. If your organization is new to this strategy of documentation, consider contacting HURIDOCS for training, or read our publications (available for free online) to get a better sense of how an event can be broken down and structured. 

Uploading Documents

In addition to storing textual data, OpenEvSys also allows your organization to upload and link documents relevant to any cases you may be working on. Any file type may be uploaded (PDFs, JPEGs, GIFs, Word documents, etc.), and HURIDOCS offers a list of common document types so that you can easily index the files you upload (the Type field).

Uploading a Document

To upload a document, go to the "Documents" section of OpenEvSys where you should be presented with the following page:

Once again, any document can be uploaded. Give in all relevant information, then click on Browse to locate the file on your computer that you wish to upload. Once you've done this, click on Save. You will be presented with a summary of the file you've uploaded. In this example we have created a "Test Document"

If, at any point, you want to download a copy of the document back to your computer, simply click on Download Document on the top of the summary. Likewise, if you wish to delete a document, click on Delete Document.

Linking a Document to an Event

To link a document to a person, act, or event, you must do so by editing the relevant object you wish to link the document. Thus, to link a document to an event, you must go to that event and then create the link. For example, when linking a document to an event, go to the field that says Supporting Documents:

From here you can use the fields on the top to search for a specific document, or you may use the table below to browse through available documents. In this example, we will want to upload the "Test Document." To do so, click on the check box under Action, then click select. OpenEvSys will automatically link the document to the event. Remember: You may link multiple documents to any one person or event, and you may link one document with multiple persons and events!

Test Document was added to the list!

Once you've actually linked a document to something, you can return to the Documents section of OpenEvSys and get a comprehensive view of all the links your documents maintain. Return to the Documents section. When you do so, you will automatically be on the "Browse Documents" page of the Documents section.

"Browse Documents" gives you a great overview of available documents!

Assuming you've uploaded and linked a document, go to the document-specific view by clicking on the Document ID, at which point you will be brought to the document summary page(looks familiar, right?). Click on the Links button next to Document Details. You should see the following page (or something very similar):

Every single link that exists between the document you are viewing and other records will be listed! In this case, we only have one link, but there is no limit to the links you can make. To view the record that your document is linked to, simply click on the link in the "Record Number" column.

Somebody Should Set The Title For This Chapter!

Translating the Interface into other languages

Although not online, the complete Interface IS available in English, French, and Spanish.  It is also partially translated into Bahasa Indonesia .  If you are interested in this information and/or need it in another language please contact HURIDOCS.  We are eager to work with you!

Phone: +41 22 7555252

Fax: +41 22 7555260



Backing up and restoring OpenEvSys

As your organization progressively collects more information, it will become imperative that you safely back up and store your information in an external location separate from what OpenEvSys runs on. We have provided you with a method to do this by creating a Data Exchange page contained within the Admin section of OpenEvSys.

Navigate to this screen by going to the Admin section, then clicking on Data Exchange

You will be presented with two options, either to import or export your information through the "Event Standard Format XML." The XML file is generated from all the information in your OpenEvSys database and is labeled using XML tags. You can read more about XML here.

The Import page allows you to add an Event Standard Format XML sheet to OpenEvSys. Assuming you have such a file, simply use the field to browse through your computer, find the file, and upload it. OpenEvSys will automatically integrate all the data.

The Export page is where you download the XML file that backs up everything in your database. Simply click on the link, and you will be prompted to download the file. Please exercise extreme caution with your data and where you place it. Respect the confidentiality of your sources and organization.

Click on this link to download the XML file

Once you've download the XML sheet, you have effectively created a backup of the OpenEvSys database. In theory, if all your records were destroyed by a malicious hacker, you would simply go to Import and add all the data back into OpenEvSys again. Depending on your case load, it would be prudent to perform backups on a weekly (or daily even) basis. Each XML file that is generated with the Export function will automatically contain the date and time that the file was generated so you can easily figure out which backups are more recent than others.

Get help and training

HURIDOCS can provide onsite training to assist organisations in setting up OpenEvSys, adapting and customising it, recording violations, and searching and analysis.

Using the OpenEvsys software is the easy part, as its kind of intuitive to understand and use. However documenting human rights violations is not so easy. In other words, we strongly recommend some training by experienced experts at the outset. Believe us, some training at the start will really help you to build a solid and feasible documentation project, choose the tools that suit your needs, and avoid some of the problems and pitfalls mentioned in the HRDAG Core Concepts.

For help in assessing your needs, identifying the right documentation approach, and choosing the right tool, for training on human rights documentation and use of OpenEvSys, contact us at

At the very least, give us a call to discuss your project before you start using OpenEvsys, we'd be happy to learn about your project, and provide you with a free demo over the web, links to experts and any advice we can provide. Contact Daniel D'Esposito anytime: phone to 0041 22 755 52 52, email to, skype at daniel.desposito.

General Questions Regarding OpenEvSys

Who created OpenEvSys?

OpenEvSys was created by HURIDOCS using a grant from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We have been working on ways to standardize and organize information collected by human rights organizations for over 20 years. Through the development of standardized vocabularies and methodologies in collaboration with hundreds of informatics specialists, activists, statisticians and researchers HURIDOCS created the Events approach to documenting human rights violations. OpenEvSys is a digital implementation of this approach.

Who developed OpenEvSys?

OpenEvSys was developed by HURIDOCS in collaboration with Respere, a software company which works in the humanitarian sector ( Respere won HURIDOCS's public call for tenders in 2008.

What is SAHANA?

SAHANA is an award winning, free, open source disaster management platform. It is used by governments and non-governmental organisations during a humanitarian crisis or natural disaster, to manage and share information about aid agency operations, refugee camps and shelter needs, missing persons and other sorts of information. It was developed to respond to the information sharing needs in Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami. It's pretty cool, so give it a try.

OpenEvSys uses parts of the underlying code that powers SAHANA, but also makes many changes and improvements to this (which in turn, may strengthen the SAHANA software). The OpenEvSys developers, Respere, are a core part of the management, software development and implementation community of SAHANA.

Can we modify OpenEvSys?

Yes, you may modify OpenEvSys anyway you wish, because OpenEvSys is free and open source. For more information, refer to "Copyright and licensing."

When we have a problem with OpenEvSys, who do we contact to fix it?

If you experience any issues with OpenEvSys, contact HURIDOCS by either calling us, emailing us or submitting a "bug" at

We will do our best to help you get OpenEvSys back up and running as quickly as possible. In addition, you can find a large amount of documentation and help here at

Can I use OpenEvSys without a mouse?

Not completely, and we know this is an issue. OpenEvSys has some keyboard shortcuts/access keys to speed up navigation and repetitive tasks. However, we make some use of JavaScript to improve the user interface, so certain functionality is not yet fully accessible solely through the keyboard. We are working on this.

OpenEvSys doesn't do something I want it to. What can I do about it?

If there are certain features or functionality your organization wants that OpenEvSys does not offer out of the box, you have quite a few options:

Where can I find out what improvements are going to be made to OpenEvSys in the future?

All information regarding OpenEvSys can be found at In addition, you may sign up for our mailing list where we will inform you of any updates or changes.

Can I use OpenEvSys whilst I have Facebook open in another tab on my browser?

Yes, OpenEvSys will not have conflicting issues with any other open websites. But your boss may have some issues with you for wasting time on Facebook.

Why isn't your website cool?

Good point. For the meantime, it's informative (we hope). Want to cool-i-fy it? Get in touch.


F.A.Q. Installation of OpenEvSys

OpenEvSys doesn't install properly, or won't connect to the database on my WestHost webserver

It might be because the version of MySQL installed by WestHost does not have innoDB support enabled by default. This page might help you resolve that problem.

F.A.Q. Events Standard Formats

What is an Event?

An Event is something that happens, with a beginning and an end, and which progresses until its logical conclusion. It can be a single act, a series of related acts, or a combination of related acts happening together. For an event to be included in human rights monitoring, at least one act that it contains should be qualified as a human rights violation (e.g. arbitrary arrest, which is a violation of the right to liberty), or be akin or similar to such (e.g. legal arrest). The term Act is a single piece of movement or action, usually involving force. Usually, an act is committed by a person (an individual or a group) against another, in which case it is referred to as an act of commission. Act can also mean the non-performance of an expected or required movement or action, in which case it is referred to as an act of omission.

What is a Person?

A Person is an individual or a group who is involved in or related somehow to an event.
What are the roles that a Person can have in an Event?

What is a field?

A field is where you give in information. It can range from text (like a name) to a date (like the day an act began). OpenEvSys contains multiple fields to completely describe an event in a structured manner, most of which are optional to fill out.

Each standard format is made up of a variable number of fields, in which the data elements are recorded. The various fields can be categorised into three general types according to the kind of data they hold.

What are roles?

Roles define what a person is in relation to an event. For types of roles, please refer to “What are the roles that a Person can have in an Event?”

What is a Document?

A document is anything that provides information (like a picture, death certificate, article, etc.). A document can also have a file attachment, in any format. Documents can be linked to any other records, and linked to many different records all at the same time: this reflects the idea that documentary sources often evidence many different things.

What is documentation?

Documentation is a process consisting of several activities, namely:

To read more on this subject, please read the HURIDOCS manual “What is Documentation?” which can be found at

What is Monitoring?

Monitoring means the close observation of a situation or individual case carried out so as to determine what further action needs to be taken. The following elements constitute monitoring:

To read more on this subject, please read the HURIDOCS manual “What is Monitoring?” which can be found at

How do you rate the reliability of source information?

Perhaps one of the most difficult tasks in documentation of human rights abuses is assessing the reliability of your source. With this in mind, we have added fields to OpenEvSys that will allow you to indicate how reliable you believe the source is.

What are Additional Details?

Additional Details formats contain additional information that records aspects of an act that are specific to particular types of acts. The act standard format contains a set of fields which are general to every sort of act, such as initial date, location and type of act. However, some types of act require information specific to that act, but not others. For example, if the type of act is "property damage", then the "value of the property" is something we want to know. However, if the type of act is "physical assault", why have a field for "value of the property"? Hence the additional details format. There are currently four additional details formats for killing, torture, property destruction and arrest.

What is an Involvement?

Involvement means the participation of a perpetrator in a particular act, whether as one who directly committed it, or otherwise. Details about a perpetrator's involvement are recorded separately from Acts, since there can be many perpetrators for a single act, involved in different ways.

What is Information?

Information is the provision by a source, to the fact-finder, of data about an event, a victim, or a perpetrator. Information is different from a Document, which is a method through which Information is provided or stored.

What is an Intervention?

An Intervention is any action by a Person (i.e. an individul, or an organisation) designed to change the course of an Event or the status of those involved in the Event, especially in terms of assistance. It can be for instance, the examination of a victim to seek marks of torture, or the dissemination of a press release to denounce a massacre.

What is the difference between “Sources” and “Information”?

The data gathered from a “Source” is “Information.” Thus, a source is a person, whereas "Information" is the data you gather from said person.

What is the difference between “Perpetrator” and “Involvement”?

A “Perpetrator” is a role that a person can have, whereas “Involvement” details the involvement of a “Perpetrator” in an Act.

What is the difference between “Victim” and “Act”?

A “Victim” is a role that a person can have, whereas an “Act” is the action that creates a victim.

What is the difference between “Intervening Party” and “Intervention”?

“Intervening Party” is a role, whereas “Intervention” is the action that the respective role undertook.

What is a Biographic Detail?

Biographic Details are data that document key periods in the life of an individual or group, including the various relationships that the individual or group has gone through, such as being a spouse, a member of a group, an affiliate of a bigger group or police or military careers. Other types of information that are also relevant in human rights monitoring include the educational and employment history of an individual.

Can I categorize records into the rights violated?

Yes, the analysis feature of OpenEvSys allows you to search your records based on rights violated. For example, you can look for all cases where abduction was the violation and easily bring up all relevant entries your organization has made.

Can an Act violate more than one right?

Yes and No. And Act by nature constitutes a single violation, but an Event can contain multiple Acts, which allows OpenEvSys can still express multiple violations. However, the particular conduct described in an Act could violate a number of different sorts of rights. For example, the physical assault of a journalist violates the right to physical integrity, but may also violate the right to freedom of assembly or expression, depending on context. These are difficult legal questions.

Can a Person be a victim more than once?

Yes, a person can be a victim multiple times. OpenEvSys indicates this by listing individual Acts when viewing an Event. For example, if a person is abducted and then executed, you can give in the first act as abduction and the second act as an execution. OpenEvSys will list each act separately, even if the victim is the same. Example of a person being a victim more than once

Can a person be a Victim, and then a Perpetrator, in the same Event?


Can a person be a Victim, and then a Perpetrator in different Events?


General Questions for User Accounts

What is a user?

A user is anyone with access to OpenEvSys through proper credentials (username / password). All users must be created and assigned individually by the site administrator. OpenEvSys does not allow "remote signups".

Can we use OpenEvSys with many users at the same time?

Yes, multiple users can login at any point. In fact, you can log in as many times as you like at the same time using different internet browsers from different locations.

How do we add new users to OpenEvSys?

To add a new user, start by going to the “Admin” section. Once there, look at the left side of the page and click on “User Management.” You should see a list of users (if there are none added, only “admin” will appear).

What is the maximum number of users of OpenEvSys?

There is no limit to the number of users.

What is the maximum number of users of OpenEvSys at the same time?

There is no limit to the maximum number of users who can be logged in at the same time. In fact, the same user account can be used from multiple locations, or in different tabs in the same browser.

Who can access OpenEvSys?

Only those with proper login credentials may access OpenEvSys. Please be careful about keeping your information private. Login credentials for one install of OpenEvSys will not work for another install of OpenEvSys.

Why have I been automatically logged out of OpenEvSys?

Probably because you left OpenEvSys open without doing anything for 20 minutes. This is a safeguard.

Why can't I login to OpenEvsys?

This could one of a few reasons:

Why does OpenEvSys automatically log me back in, even though I closed my browser window?

When a user logs into OpenEvSys with their username and password, OpenEvSys creates a session for them on the server. If you close the tab or window, and then reopen it, your session is still available on the server, so OpenEvSys tried to pick up where it left off. Sessions are closed when you either a) sign out, or b) leave OpenEvSys for 20 minutes without doing anything, when it will "time out" automatically.

Access Control Questions

If I delete a user, does it delete all the records they have created?

No. Deleting a user has no effect on the content of the database. The records a user creates or udpates will still be there, as will the "audit" record of them having done so.

Is the database secure?

No database is truly secure, but some are securer that others. For real use (and not just testing on your laptop), the OpenEvSys application should be deployed with the assistance of a system administrator familiar with the setup and running of a UNIX-based server and network environment.

Is OpenEvSys encrypted?

No, not by default. The OpenEvSys backend can be deployed into encryption tools such as LUKS or TrueCrypt. Traffic can be encrypted using Secure Socket Layer (SSL). You will need a technician to set this up for you. Before doing so, check that the use of encryption technology is legal in your country, or whether it is legal for a 3rd party to "export" this technology to you through the provision of a network service (eg. a webhost). This might be a useful resource in that respect, but we're not sure how up to date it is:

What is an Audit Log?

An audit log is a big list of the changes made to a record. It is a basic way of monitoring the integrity of information. in OpenEvSys. So, it includes when records were created, what type they are, when they were updated, linked or delinked together or deleted, and by who. For example, the audit log tab on an Event shows all this information for every record linked to that event, including Persons, linking formats (act, involvement, information, intervention, etc), documents, etc. Note that the audit log does not currently show what changes were made, only the fact of the change.

What does mean “ACL” mean?

ACL means "Access Control list". This is a setting that the OpenEvSys administrator can use to limit the access of certain groups of user to particular groupings of features in OpenEvSys. For example, it is possible to give a group of user access to the "Events" section, but not the "Analysis" section of OpenEvSys. ACL differs a little from the concept of "privileges", which control what a user group can do with records.

What are privileges?

Privileges determine what a user belonging to a certain role can do with the records that exist in OpenEvSys. For example, privileges determine whether you are allowed to update or create a new event.

How are privileges different from ACL?

Access Control Lists (or ACL) are intended to create roles that define what features of OpenEvSys can be accessed by users assigned to that respective role. Privileges, on the other hand, are concerned with specific actions taken within the enabled features of OpenEvSys. For example, the ACL may give you access to "Events" and permissions will then decide whether or not you can edit or create new events.

Can I hide some records from other users?

Yes and no. The general approach OpenEvSys 0.9 takes to record visibility is quite simple: "see all, or see nothing", rather than "User 1 can see fields A and B, but not C". There is one exception: where the confidentiality field of the Event format is checked (i.e. set to "Yes"), the user entering the record can choose to restrict access to that Event and all linking formats (Act, Involvement, Intervention, Information, etc) to groups of users which share a particular role. This is an experimental feature in OpenEvSys 0.9.

The development of OpenEvSys is led by the needs of users, so if you need a more complicated record visibility system, let us know.

If we make it online, is it searchable by Google?

No, OpenEvSys requires login credentials before any records can be viewed. Google cannot search or access your data, but they can certainly index the root url of your OpenEvSys site. Ther are ways to avoid this, such as deploying OpenEvSys behind a firewall or Virtual Private Network (VPN). If you want your site removed from Google, please refer to Removing my own content from Google's index

Micro-Thesauri FAQ

What are Micro-Thesauri, and why do we use Micro-Thesauri?

HURIDOCS Micro-thesauri are part of an effort to provide tools for human rights documentation. They are intended to provide controlled vocabularies for the Events Standard Formats as well as for other manual or computerized systems of documenting human rights violations. OpenEvSys comes preloaded with 68 Micro-thesauri.

Can we add other Thesauri?

Yes and no. You cannot add completely new microthesauri. However, there are two options available to you:

Can we edit the Micro Thesauri?

Yes, you may edit any Micro Thesauri that you wish by selecting it from the list of Thesauri, which can be accessed via the Micro Thesauri part of the Admin section.

Can we export and import new Micro-Thesauri

Yes, but it's not easy to do and requires some scripting skills and knowledge of MySQL. We are working on making this simpler.

Customizing OpenEvSys

Can I use OpenEvSys to document something other than human rights violations?

Yes and no. All OpenEvSys's fields and Micro-thesauri can be changed, but the way information is structured in OpenEvSys - using roles, with Victims and Perpetrators - is fixed. Some types of information simply don't have this structure. In many cases, you will also find it hard to collect enough information about an incident to structure it in this way.

Customizing Forms FAQ

All customization occurs in the “Admin” section of the OpenEvSys site, which can be found on the top navigation bar. Refer to “Can we hide and display fields” to see it pointed out for you. For this section of the manual we will assume you are in the Admin area and know how to get there.

What data do we enter into OpenEvSys?

That's completely up to you. The HURIDOCS Events Standard Formats provide a comprehensive framework for describing the complexity of human rights violations, but you may need to collect different types of information, or want to arrange it in a different way. OpenEvSys is highly customisable, so can enable you to do this. This can be through renaming, rearranging existing fields and HURIDOCS Micro-thesauri. It could also be through creating completely new fields.

Can we hide and display fields?

Yes, to hide or display fields, go to the form customization area located in the Admin section of OpenEvSys. Select an Entity you wish to edit, and then go to the “Visibility” tab. Once you are here, there are three options relating to three different possible views of the form you edit: “Visible in Form,” “Visible in View,” and “Visible in Browse.” If the box is checked, it is visible in that respective view. Visible in Form refers to the visibility of that field when adding a person or editing their details. Visible in View refers to the visibility of a field when looking at a record (for example, if you are looking to print a record). Visible in Browse refers to the visibility of a field when browsing through records of events, persons, etc. (in essence, what details the browsing table will show). Once you have made the changes you want, scroll down and press “Update Form” to save your changes.

Can we change the names of fields?

Yes, OpenEvSys allows you to change the name (referred to as “Label”) of any field in any form. To do so, go into the Form Customization area and select an entity. Please be sure to save your changes after editing the Labels by scrolling down and pressing “Update Form.”

Do I have to fill out all the fields?

No, OpenEvSys allows you to decide to what extent you will fill out event details. You are not required to fill out all the fields, and in addition may always go back to your Event and edit or add details. If you wish, you can force certain fields to be required by going to the “Validation” tab in Form Customization. For each field you wish to require, please click on the “Is Required” checkbox.

Please be sure to save your changes once you’ve edited the “Is Required” field by scrolling down and pressing “Update Form.”

Can we change the order of fields?

Yes, the “Order” tab of the Form Customization section allows you to change the order in which the fields appear. The lower the number, the higher it will appear in the list (confusing huh!).

Can we add Local Geographical Area, and how?

Yes, you can. Although the HURIDOCS Micro Thesauri comes with a geographical listing, we have not provided a similar listing for local geographical areas simply due to the fact that all organizations will have different areas of interest and will wish to group events based on self-defined geographical terms. Please jump to the section on Micro Thesauri Customization for a step-by-step explanation of how to add a Local Geographical Area.

Can we add new fields?

Yes, please refer to the Form Customization page for information on how to do this.

Can we delete fields?

Yes, please refer to the Form Customization page for information on how to do this.

Can we use OpenEvSys in different languages at the same time?

Not in the sense that you mean by asking this question:

Are some fields mandatory?

Yes. By default only the minimum number of fields necessary for OpenEvSys to function are required (such as an Event ID and the automatically generated management information, like "Date Created"). You may fully customize all forms and their respective fields, and make any fields mandatory.

What are clarifying notes?

Clarifying notes allow you to add more information on a specific field where you think the data in the field does not fully explain something. You can add and remove clarifying notes for any field through Form Customization.

Can I add clarifying notes to any fields?

Yes, please refer to Form Customization for details on how to do this.

Can I search clarifying note?

Not yet. If someone really needs to, we can see about including this feature.

What types of field are there in OpenEvSys?

Lots. Here's a list, with explanations of what each is used for.

Can I change the type of field once I have entered data into it?

No, so make sure you choose the right type of field for the data you want to store.

When I hide fields, does this mean that data is deleted?

No, when you hide a field, all data is still preserved in the database but simply not displayed, so if you choose to make a field visible again, all respective data will reappear.

Can I hide fields for one user, but not another?

No, you cannot control the visibility of individual fields on a per-user basis. Instead, you may set up Roles and Permissions which designate what forms and areas of OpenEvSys your users can access.


Can I customise the interface?
Can I change the font that OpenEvSys display?
Can I change the colors in OpenEvSys?
Can I put my logo on OpenEvSys?
How do we choose what term to use?

Local users can study the various Micro-thesauri in the HURIDOCS book, which serve as models in thesaurus construction. As for the content of the lists, it would help to gather lists from their own countries or regions. Official agencies can be of help. For instance, constructing a list of geographical areas can be aided by lists established by postal services. What do the terms in OpenEvSys mean, and who do we talk to about it? Terms are the items that make up a thesaurus and are essentially labels for. How do we define new terms to use in OpenEvSys? Please refer to “Can we edit the Micro Thesauri?” for an example of defining a new term.


OpenEvSys is designed to be internationalised. This involves changing the language (e.g. from English to Khmer) and alphabet (e.g. from Latinic, to Khmer Unicode) and other kinds of setting (e.g. With Arabic, from typing Left to Right, to typing Right to Left).

What language is OpenEvSys used in?

OpenEvSys is in English, but can be used in any other language: perhaps you can help translate it into yours.

Can OpenEvSys be used in my language?

Yes. HURIDOCS is working on providing translations of OpenEvSys for different language. You can do your own though using OpenEvSys's "localisation" features in the administrator section.

How do we change the language in OpenEvSys?

Please refer to this tutorial on translating OpenEvSys in Khmer for a good understanding of how languages and translation works in OpenEvSys.

I want to use OpenEvSys in Khmer, but if I don't have Khmer UNICODE on my computer, can I still it?

No. OpenEvSys will store whatever data you input. However, unless you have Khmer UNICODE installed, you won't be able to input data correctly in Khmer from your local computer. Apple Mac computers do not yet support Khmer UNICODE. In *nix systems, you should enable support for the Central Khmer language.

The same goes for Bangla/Bengali: unless you have Bijoy installed, whatever you enter into OpenEvSys will be unrecognisable.

When I export data from OpenEvSys, and try to load it in Excel to analyse it, the text is messed up

This happens with Khmer UNICODE, but we can't rule it out with other scripts: let us know if this affects you.

It is possible to type Khmer into OpenEvSys, and it is also possible to type Khmer directly into Excel. However, when Khmer text is exported from OpenEvSys, and then loaded into Excel, it's messed up. We don't know what causes this yet. There is a fix for this:

Copyright and licensing

HURIDOCS owns OpenEvSys and maintains copyright of it. OpenEvSys is free and is licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL). From the license:

  File:Agplv3-155x51.png  “The licenses for most software and other practical works are designed to take away your freedom to share and change the works. By contrast, our General Public Licenses are intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change all versions of a program--to make sure it remains free software for all its users. When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for them if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs, and that you know you can do these things.”

Thus, your organization can freely download, modify, and share this software. You can give this software to friends or organizations without worrying about costs. Our goal is to allow your organizations to use OpenEvSys in whatever manner you wish. We wish to increase your organizational capacity and OpenEvSys reflects this principle. If you modify this software, you may sell this software, but you must make the source code available for others. Please let us know of any modifications you make, we would love to see what other organizations have done with OpenEvSys.

You can read the full license at In addition, a copy of the licesnse is provided with every download of OpenEvSys.