Policy wonks, security strategists -- and dinner table debaters -- will have more ammunition to back up their arguments now that the Global Terrorism Database is available online.
Billed as “the world’s largest unclassified database of terrorism,” it has been developed over the last five years at the University of Maryland (U-Md) –- with assistance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The database includes 80,000 terror incidents from 1970 through 2004. Within the next 12 months, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) based at U-Md, plans to update the database through 2007. The Internet site is designed to be user friendly. Each attack is coded on more than 100 variables to aid in the identification and explanation of trends in domestic and international terrorism.
The project began in 2001 when researchers at Maryland obtained a large database originally collected by Pinkerton Global Intelligence Services. The material was computerized, updated and corrected -- and coded to maximize its usefulness to researchers. It covers the years 1970-1997.
The Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies, based in San Jose, Calif., working with START researchers, updated the database through 2004. That material was compiled from international news sources by trained specialists with an expertise in multiple languages.
DHS and the intelligence community have full access to the database, including some features not available to the general public.
--John M. Doyle