FSD Bulletin

Issue 18 (3/2005)

ISSN 1795-5262

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FSD Bulletin is the electronic newsletter of the Finnish Social Science Data Archive. The Bulletin provides information and news related to the data archive and social science research.


Finnish Social Science Data Archive
E-mail: fsd@tuni.fi

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Political Party Manifestos Archived

A Web Database of Finnish Political Party Manifestos and Other Party Publications

Kalle Gustafsson

Finnish political parties have been producing election manifestos, publications on policy issues, pamphlets and other types of political texts ever since the end of the 19th century. Publishing them has been an important part of the political activity. So far, there has not been any publicly available collection of this material despite its importance. This will now change because FSD's party manifesto project will bring together all Finnish political party manifestos and other texts onto one web site.

Open access information source

The web site will function as an open access information source. Thus the database will follow in the footsteps of Partiveven, a database provided by the Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD), which has offered such material for years.

FSD has previously published two pilot web sites. Prior to the Finnish parliamentary elections in 2003, one database offered election manifestos and party policy documents of the participating parties. In 2004, another database offered similar material relating to the forthcoming municipal elections. In these pilot projects FSD gained experience of how to convert political documents to a database format and what kind of search engine to build. The other purpose was to offer an alternative information source focusing on election manifestos, rather than focusing on the candidates themselves like candidate selectors do.

Hundreds of documents already collected

At the moment FSD's collection has over 700 political texts from 70 different parties. The 450 political texts collected in the 1990s by the department of Social Sciences and Philosophy at the University of Jyväskylä form the basis of the collection.

Most texts in the collection have been published by Finland's major long-established parties but the hunt goes on for more material, especially from the no longer existing parties. FSD will continue to add to the collection. Collecting current publications has proven to be easy enough on account of the Internet.

First version in January 2006

Party manifesto project aims to provide a source of information on political texts for the general public, researchers and students. In addition to political scientists, linguists, historians, and sociologists, for example, have shown interest in the database. It is also possible to use the material for teaching purposes in schools. The first version of the database will be published in January 2006.