Library Notes for Political Science

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Update to Global Terrorism Database (GTD)

Posted by Megan on August 10, 2010

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism has released an update to its Global Terrorism Database (GTD).

The announcement is reproduced below:

START has released an update to its Global Terrorism Database (GTD), a comprehensive open-source database including information on terrorist attacks around the world between 1970 and 2008. The GTD includes systematically collected data on both domestic and international terrorist incidents. The expanded data just released include new information through December 2008 and additional new cases from supplemental data collection projects, including high-profile assassinations and terrorism in the United States.

The 2008 Data

  • Includes over 2,500 bombings, 1,100 armed assaults, 200 assassinations, 300 facility/infrastructure attacks, and 300 kidnappings.
  • The most common type of target is Private Citizens and Property (31%), followed by Government (15%), Business (9%), and Police (9%).
  • 50 new terrorist organizations were added to the data.

The GTD now includes data on over 87,000 terrorist attacks worldwide between 1970 and 2008:

  • Over 2,200 attacks occurred in the United States.
  • The database includes attacks that were carried out as well as those that were attempted but not successful.
  • Includes over 38,000 bombings, 21,000 armed assaults, 13,000 assassinations, 6,000 facility/infrastructure attacks, 4,000 kidnappings, and 700 hostage taking incidents.
  • The attacks in the GTD are attributed to over 2,100 terrorist groups.

Improvements and added functionality to the GTD search interface and search results include:

  • Searches and graphing of activity of multiple perpetrator groups
  • Searches and graphing of activity in multiple countries
  • Restrict search results based on whether the attack was a suicide attack
  • Restrict search results based on whether the attack was successful
  • Browse cases by date of attack
  • Incident page includes indication of uncertainty where the identity of the terrorist group is unclear.
  • Incident page includes any available details about the name of the perpetrator group to which the attack is attributed, including faction name where available.

Access to the Global Terrorism Database

The GTD is available to the public through an online interface: www.start.umd.edu/gtd/.

The full dataset can be downloaded through the “Contact” section of the website. The Global Terrorism Database (GTD) is an open-source database including information on terrorist events around the world from 1970 through 2008 (with annual updates planned for the future). Unlike many other event databases, the GTD includes systematic data on domestic as well as international terrorist attacks and now includes more than 87,000 cases. For each GTD incident, information is available on the date and location of the incident, the weapons used and nature of the target, the number of casualties, and—when identifiable—the group or individual responsible.

One interesting component of the database is “Data Rivers,” a tool that generates visualizations of the GTD data to show graphs and charts of trends.

Other databases available from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism include Terrorist Organization Profiles (TOPs), Minorities at Risk Organizational Behavior (MAROB), the Terrorism & Preparedness Data Resource Center (TPDRC), and the Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI).

In addition, a related resource is the Worldwide Incidents Tracking System [WITS] of Terrorist Incidents, which is the National Counterterrorism Center’s online database of terrorist incidents.

Via ResourceShelf.

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