The Global Terrorism Database: Accomplishments and Challenges

Gary LaFree


The paper provides an update on the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), an open source event database that now includes information on over 82,000 domestic and international terrorist attacks since 1970. [1] GTD was launched by computerizing data originally collected by the Pinkerton Global Intelligence Service (PGIS).[2] Following computerization, the research team has continued working to update and validate the data. This paper describes original data collection efforts and the strategies employed to improve the quality and comprehensiveness of the data, addressing also the strengths and weaknesses of Open Source data in general and the GTD in particular. The paper also provides descriptive statistics on the contents of the most recently available version of the GTD and offer observations about the future of event databases. 

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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