Global Terrorism Database 1.1, 1970-1997 (ICPSR 22541)

Version Date: Sep 17, 2013 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Gary LaFree, University of Maryland; Laura Dugan, University of Maryland

https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR22541.v2

Version V2

These data are no longer distributed by ICPSR.

Additional information may be available in Collection Notes.

The data being distributed in this data collection were collected using different methods and often different data definitions to the Global Terrorism Database II (GTD2) [GLOBAL TERRORISM DATABASE II, 1998-2004, (ICPSR 22600)]. These separate databases should not be used for direct comparison.

The Global Terrorism Database (GTD) is composed of terrorist events recorded for the entire world from 1970 through 1997. The data were originally collected by the Pinkerton Global Intelligence Service (PGIS). Throughout the data collection period PGIS employed a broad definition of terrorism: the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation. The data include "terrorist groups" identified as specific named groups as well as generic groupings like "rebels" or "student protesters." The researchers arranged with PGIS to move 58 boxes of original hard copies of the PGIS terrorism database to a secure location at the University of Maryland. A Web-based data entry system was developed to match the design of the generic incident card used by PGIS in their coding. In addition, automatic entry fields were created in the Web-based interface to be automatically applied under specific circumstances. Once data entry began, the researchers initiated the ongoing process of data verification. In order to develop the Global Terrorism Database 1.1 (GTD1.1), the research team supplemented the original PGIS data by incorporating incidents found in other data sources that were overlooked by PGIS. For several countries in the data, cases have been added, deleted, or corrected compared to the first release of the Global Terrorism Database (GTD1) [GLOBAL TERRORISM DATABASE, 1970-1997, (ICPSR 4586)] based on additional coding and investigation. Data in the GTD1.1 contain 61,637 events. Variables provide group name, type of terrorist incident, incident date, region, country, state in the United States, city, whether the incident was just outside of the city, the type of target, the identity and nationality of the target, type of weapons used, whether the incident was considered a success, and whether there was some damage. Further variables classify the total number killed and total number wounded. Further variables provide information about kidnappings and hostages, total number of days and hours held, and amount of ransom demanded and amount paid. Variables also record information about hijackings. Another variable also provides the number of incidents that the case represents.

LaFree, Gary, and Dugan, Laura. Global Terrorism Database 1.1, 1970-1997. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2013-09-17. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR22541.v2

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United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2002-DT-CX-0001), United States Department of Homeland Security. Directorate of Science and Technology. Office of University Programs (N00140510629)
Papua New Guinea   Cambodia   Paraguay   Kazakhstan   Syria   Latin America   Bahamas   Mali   Panama   Guadeloupe   Virgin Islands of the United States   Laos   Argentina   Falkland Islands   Seychelles   Zambia   Belize   Bahrain   Namibia   Finland   Comoros   Corsica (France)   Yemen   Puerto Rico   Eritrea   China (Peoples Republic)   Madagascar   Ivory Coast   Libya   Western Samoa   Sweden   Malawi   Andorra   Poland   Jordan   Bulgaria   Tunisia   United Arab Emirates   Kenya   French Polynesia   Lebanon   Djibouti   Brunei   Cuba   Azerbaijan   Czech Republic   Mauritania   Israel   Australia   Soviet Union   Tajikistan   Myanmar   Cameroon   Cyprus   Bermuda Islands   Malaysia   North America   Iceland   Global   Sub-Saharan Africa   Armenia   Gabon   Yugoslavia   Slovak Republic   Zaire   Luxembourg   Brazil   Algeria   Slovenia   Antigua and Barbuda   Colombia   Ecuador   Moldova   Vanuatu   Italy   Honduras   Haiti   Afghanistan   Burundi   Singapore   French Guiana   Russia   Netherlands   Martinique   Kyrgyzstan   Romania   Togo   Philippines   Uzbekistan   Asia   Zimbabwe   Indonesia   Dominica   Benin   Angola   Sudan   Portugal   New Caledonia   North Korea   Grenada   Greece   Cayman Islands   Latvia   Morocco   Iran   Bosnia-Hercegovina   Guatemala   Guyana   Iraq   Chile   Nepal   Georgia (Republic)   Isle of Man   Ukraine   Tanzania   Ghana   Northern Ireland   South Vietnam   India   Canada   Turkey   Belgium   Taiwan   South Africa   Trinidad and Tobago   Central African Republic   Jamaica   Peru   Germany   Fiji   Hong Kong   United States   Guinea   Somalia   Chad   Thailand   Equatorial Guinea   Costa Rica   Middle East   Vietnam   Kuwait   Nigeria   Croatia   Sri Lanka   Uruguay   Serbia-Montenegro   United Kingdom   Switzerland   North Yemen   Spain   Palestine   Liberia   Venezuela   Burkina Faso   Congo (Democratic Republic)   Swaziland   Palau   Estonia   Wallis and Futuna   South Korea   Austria   Mozambique   El Salvador   Guam   Lesotho   Tonga   Hungary   Japan   Europe   Belarus   Mauritius   Albania   New Zealand   Rhodesia   Senegal   Macedonia   Ethiopia   Egypt   Sierra Leone   North Africa   Bolivia   Malta   Saudi Arabia   Pakistan   Gambia   Ireland   Qatar   France   Lithuania   Saint Kitts-Nevis   Niger   Rwanda   Bangladesh   Nicaragua   Barbados   Norway   Botswana   Macao   Dominican Republic   Denmark   Mexico   Uganda   Suriname

city

To protect respondent privacy, certain identifying information is restricted from general dissemination. Specifically the content of some character variables are restricted at this time. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement form and specify the reasons for the request. A copy of the Restricted Data Use Agreement form can be requested by calling 800-999-0960. Researchers can also download this form as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file from the download page associated with this dataset. Completed forms should be returned to: Director, National Archive of Criminal Justice Data, Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, Institute for Social Research, P.O. Box 1248, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248, or by fax: 734-647-8200.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
1970-01 -- 1997-12
2002 -- 2006

The data being distributed in this data collection were collected using different methods and often different data definitions to the Global Terrorism Database II (GTD2) [GLOBAL TERRORISM DATABASE II, 1998-2004, (ICPSR 22600)]. These separate databases should not be used for direct comparison.

Due to a lack of available empirical data regarding terrorism, the researchers sought to code and verify a previously unavailable dataset composed of terrorist events recorded for the entire world from 1970 through 1997. This database was originally collected by the Pinkerton Corporation's Global Intelligence Service (PGIS). Throughout the data collection period PGIS data collection employed a broad definition of terrorism: the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation. The data include "terrorist groups" identified as specific named groups as well as generic groupings like "rebels" or "student protesters." The PGIS database was designed to document every known terrorist event, domestic and international, across countries and time and allows examination of the total number of different types of terrorist events by specific date and geographical region. The data collection and analysis is two-pronged. First, the researchers sought to reliably enter the PGIS data. Second, the researchers continue to assess the validity of the PGIS data and how valid they are as a measure of terrorism by comparing it to other sources, by internally checking records, and by continually examining the database.

To develop the original Global Terrorism Database (GTD1) [GLOBAL TERRORISM DATABASE, 1970-1997, (ICPSR 4586)], the researchers arranged with PGIS to move 58 boxes of original hard copies of the PGIS terrorism database to a secure location at the University of Maryland. Once the data were transferred the researchers designed a system for accurately encoding the data. A large computer lab with personal computers for data entry was not a viable option so a Web-based data entry system was developed by computer experts at the University of Maryland to allow a very large number of students to work on the database, using their own equipment, on a flexible schedule. To reduce data entry errors, the data entry interface was designed to match the design of the generic incident card used by PGIS in their coding. This method had the advantage of giving the researchers a good deal of control over the data entry process and a computerized record of the time expended by all of the data coders. Therefore the researchers could easily verify individual coding records for accuracy. Second, once the database codebook and data entry interface was developed, pretesting of both the codebook and the interface was conducted to look for data entry problems. Pretesting identified an array of problems with both the data entry codebook and the Web-based system that was employed to record data. Most of these problems involved clarification of the data entry codebook language, such that data entry rules became increasingly detailed and specific. For example, the researchers created rules for using the value "unknown." In the case of fields indicating the number of persons killed and injured in an event, data entry rules stated that "unknown" was to be chosen only if the field stated "unknown" on the data card. If the field was blank on the data card, it was assumed that the number killed or injured was zero. In addition, automatic entry fields were created in the Web-based interface to be automatically applied under specific circumstances. For instance, if the event type was entered as a bombing, and the bombing was entered as successful, then the field indicating that damages were incurred was automatically activated by the interface (i.e. the damages checkbox was checked). If an event was entered as a successful kidnapping, then the checkbox indicating that persons were kidnapped in the course of the event was automatically checked. These revisions and additions to the codebook and interface were all made in the interest of increasing data entry reliability while decreasing data entry error. Third, once the researchers were confident in the quality of the data entry procedures, they developed and implemented data entry training procedures. An extensive training manual was added to the data entry codebook for this purpose and a full-day training session for an original group of approximately 70 undergraduate coders was conducted. Over time, training sessions were added as new students joined the project. Finally, once data entry began, the researchers faced the ongoing process of data verification. The original plan was to verify a randomly selected 10 percent of the total cases in the sample. Over the life of the grant until the creation of the database thus far, the project had reached a verification rate of nearly 50 percent. Project members continue to work to consolidate the group list by combining cases where one group uses multiple names or various alternative name spellings.

In order to develop the Global Terrorism Database 1.1 (GTD1.1), the research team supplemented the original PGIS data by incorporating incidents found in other data sources that were overlooked by PGIS. For several countries in the data, cases have been added, deleted, or corrected compared to the first release of the Global Terrorism Database (GTD1) [GLOBAL TERRORISMDATABASE, 1970-1997, (ICPSR 4586)] based on additional coding and investigation. This process is ongoing and is the primary reason that the GTD is an evolving data source. Other data sources include the Conflict Archive on the Internet, the Australian Turkish Media Group, Armenian Terrorism: the past, present, the prospects, by Francis Hyland, the National Abortion Federation, and the "Further Submissions and Responses by the ANC to Questions Raised by the Commission for Truth and Reconciliation 12 May 1997". Data in the GTD1.1 contain 61,637 events.

The Global Terrorism Database (GTD1) [GLOBAL TERRORISM DATABASE, 1970-1997, (ICPSR 4586)] was designed to document every known terrorist event across countries and time. The PGIS data include political as well as religious, economic, and social acts of terrorism. Because the PGIS data were collected by a private business rather than a government entity, the data collectors were under no pressure to exclude some terrorist acts because of political considerations. The database also includes instances of both domestic and international terrorism starting from 1970. The PGIS data collection efforts applied a similar data collection strategy for a 28-year period. PGIS trained their employees to identify and code terrorism incidents from a variety of sources, including wire services (especially Reuters and the Foreign Broadcast Information Service), United States State Department reports, other United States and foreign government reports, United States and foreign newspapers, information provided by PGIS offices around the world, occasional inputs from such special interests as organized political opposition groups, and data furnished by PGIS clients and other individuals in both official and private capacities. Based on coding rules originally developed in 1970, the persons responsible for collecting the PGIS database sought to exclude criminal acts that appeared to be devoid of any political or ideological motivation as well as acts arising from open combat between opposing armed forces, both regular and irregular. The data coders also excluded actions taken by governments in the legitimate exercise of their authority, even when such actions were denounced by domestic and/or foreign critics as acts of "state terrorism." However, they included violent acts that were not officially sanctioned by the government, even in cases where many observers believed that the government was openly tolerating the violent actions. The database includes potential media bias and misinformation, lacks information beyond incident-specific details alone, and is missing data for the year 1993 (lost by PGIS in an office move).

In order to develop the Global Terrorism Database 1.1 (GTD1.1), the research team supplemented the original PGIS data by incorporating incidents found in other data sources that were overlooked by PGIS including special interest archives, nonprofit media response organizations, professional associations, and various print and electronic publications.

All known terrorist events that occurred in the world from 1970 through 1997.

terrorist incident

The data source for the original Global Terrorism Database (GTD1) [GLOBAL TERRORISM DATABASE, 1970-1997, (ICPSR 4586)] was the hard copy data cards compiled by the Pinkerton Global Intelligence Service (PGIS). In order to develop the Global Terrorism Database 1.1 (GTD1.1), the research team supplemented the original PGIS data with the following additional data sources: the Conflict Archive on the Internet, the Australian Turkish Media Group, Armenian Terrorism: the past, present, the prospects, by Francis Hyland, the National Abortion Federation, and the "Further Submissions and Responses by the ANC to Questions Raised by the Commission for Truth and Reconciliation 12 May 1997".

census/enumeration data

Variables provide group name (up to three groups), type of terrorist incident (assassination, bombing, facility attack, hijacking, kidnapping, maiming, assault, mass disruption, or arson), incident date (year, month, day of month), region, country, state in the United States (if applicable), city, whether the incident was just outside of the city, the type of target (business, government, police, military, abortion related, airport and airplanes, diplomatic, educational institution, food or water supply, journalists and media, maritime, NGO, private citizens and property, religious figures/institutions, terrorists, tourists, transportation, utilities, criminal, scientist, sports related, other, and unknown), the identity and nationality of the target (up to three targets), type of weapons used (up to three weapon types), whether the incident was considered a success, and whether there was some damage. Further variables classify the total number killed (persons, terrorists) and total number wounded (persons, terrorists). Further variables provide information about kidnappings and hostages (total, United States nationals), total number of days and hours held, and amount of ransom demanded and amount paid (overall, United States nationals). Variables also record information about hijackings (where diverted, status of victims, and number of victims released). Another variable also provides the number of incidents that the case represents.

Not applicable.

none

2008-05-30

2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • LaFree, Gary, and Laura Dugan. Global Terrorism Database 1.1, 1970-1997. ICPSR22541-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2008-10-23. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR22541.v2

2008-10-23 The variables USCLAT and USCLONG, representing the latitude and longitude of the incident, were removed because quality control checks conducted following the release of the data indicated that they do not meet the standard for completion and validity in the Global Terrorism Database. Collection and verification of these variables is ongoing.

2008-05-30 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Performed consistency checks.
  • Standardized missing values.

Data include a weight variable (NUMMULT) that identifies the number of incidents the case represents.