Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism
The Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism serves as a national clearinghouse for open source and publicly available information related to worldwide terrorism and U.S. national security.
- 1 History and Mission
- 2 Physical Artifacts
- 3 Electronic Access
- 4 Assessment and Reviews
- 5 Summary
- 6 References
- 7 External Links
History and Mission
Following the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City a citizens' task force was formed to determine how best to remember the victims of the bombing, honor the survivors, and educate the general public about terrorism (Robison 2007). From this task force was formed the Oklahoma City National Memorial, which is comprised of three distinct components: the outdoor symbolic memorial; the memorial museum; and the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, which is a separate organization partnered with the other two (Oklahoma City National Memorial 2006). Specifically, the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT) was created "to conduct research and to serve as a clearinghouse of information, targeting a broad range of users from first responders to policy makers" (Robison Houghton and Ellis 2002).
"The creation of authoritative and accessible databases" (Robison and Marlatt 2006) was among the first priorities of the MIPT. To meet the need for a variety of researchers and users the MIPT website serves as a portal to four distinct knowledge bases: The Terrorism Knowledge Base, the MIPT Terrorism Library, the Responder Knowledge base, and the Lessons Learned and Information Sharing knowledge base. Information is made available through the MIPT in one of two ways: through the physical stacks located at the library in Oklahoma City, or through the MIPT's website. The MIPT website offers access to four separate databases.
"MIPT's physical library houses thousands of books, videos, reports, articles, and pamphlets on terrorism and related subjects. It collects more than two dozen journals and bulletins, with complete sets of the two most influential journals in the terrorism field – Terrorism and Political Violence running since 1989 and Studies in Conflict & Terrorism dating back to 1977. MIPT also holds complete sets of the two most important U.S. government chronicles of international and domestic terrorism – the State Department's Patterns of Global Terrorism and the Justice Department's Terrorism In the United States"
The MIPT's physical library is located in downtown Oklahoma City in the Journal Record Building. The building was heavily damaged in the 1995 Murrah Building bombing and overlooks the current Oklahoma City National Memorial. Throughout the building are photos, taken from the location where the visitor is standing, of the building before rennovation. These pho tos, as well as the view of the National Memorial, serve as a reminder of the multiple purposes of the Institute: to remember, honor and inform.
Another significant artifact housed in the MIPT library is the Terrorism Memorial Flag. The flag is 63 feet long, 35 feet tall and contains the names of over 3,500 U.S. citizens who were victims of terrorism. The flag, and its accompanying database housed on the MIPT website, serve as an archive of U.S. terrorism victims (MIPS n.d.). The searchable database that accompanies the Terrorism Memorial Flag is available through the MIPT Website.
Brad Robison, director of the MIPT states that, "since many individuals are not positioned to take advantage of the physical information center, MIPT provides access to many of the materials electronically" (Robison and Marlatt 2006, 41) The MIPT has an on-line catalog of all physical materials and offers on-line checkout. Robison indicates that the return rate for books checked online has been "very successful" (Robison 2007).
The MIPT coordinated and now offers access to several academic databases, "among the various electronic resources made available are EBSCO's International Security & Counter-Terrorism Reference Center (ISCTBC); the Open Source Center (formerly the Foreign Broadcast Information Service) the Open Source Information System (OSIS); Nexis; and the Thomson/Gale E-encyclopedias. In addition to the academic databases the MIPT also administers access to three separate terrorism related databases: the Lessons Learned and Information Sharing Database, the Responder Knowledge Base, and the Terrorism Knowledge Base, which coordinates information from the Terrorism Indictment Database and the Terrorism Incident Database.
Provides secure restricted access information on best practices and lessons learned for emergency response providers and homeland security officials. "By bringing information and first responders together in an electronic forum LLIS.gov is intended to improve preparedness nationwide by allowing emergency responders to tap in to … validated frontline expertise on effective planning, training, and operational practices for homeland security" (Brad and Marlatt 2006, 40).
Built specifically to serve the needs of Emergency Responders. It contains information on currently available products, along with a wealth of related information such as standards, training, and grants. "The Responder Knowledge Base has been designed to provide the emergency response community with a single source for integrated information of current equipment, including organizing lists such as the InterAgency Board's Standardized Equipment List (SEL) and the Authorized Equipment List (AEL)". (U.S. Congress. 1999.)
The Terrorism Knowledge Base (TKB) "includes the following resources: The RAND Terrorism Chronology Database; the RAND-MIPT Terrorism Incident Database; and the MITP Indictment Database , which includes terrorist indictments in the United States since 1978 (Gruenwald, McNutt, and Mercier 2003). The Library of Congress, Federal Research Division offers more information about each the two RAND databases, the RAND Terrorism Chronology, and the RAND MIPS Terrorism Incident Database
RAND Terrorism Chronology (1968-1997)
- Reports generated from database of terrorist incidents, which can be searched by tactic, region of the world, or target, with input of specific time frame.
- Charts of incidents trends; incidents by tactic; incidents by target; incidents by region; death trends and comparison between 1968 and 1997 (for the U.S., U.K. and world total); and comparison of injuries and deaths between 1968 and 1997.
- Searchable database providing graphical summary of the incidents, injuries, and fatalities that occurred in either a selected region or country, or by a specified tactic or target, within a specified time frame.
- Searchable database to “find detailed information about terrorist incidents between 1968 and 1997 according to the selected perpetrator, target, tactic and geographical location with a time frame.”
- Searchable database of incidents using key word.
RAND-MIPT Terrorism Incident DB (1998-Present)
- Searchable database generating the following reports, with user providing specific time frame:
Death, injury, and incident counts, in each world region;
- International, domestic, and total incident count, in each world region;
- Number of incidents according to the type of weapon used, in each world region; and
- Number of attacks conducted by the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), Hamas, ETA (Basque Fatherland and Freedom), LTTE (Liberation Tigers Tamil Eelam), and ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) against specific targets.
- Searchable database of statistical summaries of incidents, arranged by name of terrorist organization, region, country, target, weapon, casualty, attacks claimed by perpetrators, and attacks classified as international or domestic incidents, all within a selected time frame.
- Searchable database allowing researchers to “Find detailed information about incidents (that) occurred between 1998 and present according to the selected terrorist organization, target, weapon, and geographical location with a time frame.”
- Searchable database of incidents using key word.
Created through a partnership between the MPIT and The American Terrorism Study. "A primary goal of the American Terrorism Study was to create an empirical database from which criminological theories and governmental policies could be effectively evaluated. In addition to this primary goal, we had three additional objectives:
- To examine the characteristics, patterns of behavior, and tactics of American terrorist groups in the post-guidelines era to determine if terrorist groups have been modifying their tactics in response to prosecutorial successes; * To assess the impact of potential changes in #1 above on prosecutorial and sanctioning strategies employed during the post-guidelines era and to determine the types of evidence and charges most likely to lead to successhl prosecution of terrorism cases; and
- To determine whether the introduction of federal sentencing guidelines have reduced the sentence disparity between terrorists and similarly situated nonterrorists (Smith and Damphouse 2006).
Assessment and Reviews
Reviews and assessments of the MIPT website and the information to which it leads its users have been mixed. In her 2006 review of the MIPT website Barbara Miller describes the MIPT homepage as "well organized in spite of a dizzying array of material" (Miller 2006, 513). A review by the Library of Congress states, "The terrorist incident information contained in this database, which dates back to 1968, is easy to access and very detailed … A click on the number of incidents links to a detailed report on each incident." (Buchalter and Curtis 2003).
Others have said that "MIPT fills an important niche by providing a comprehensive collection of both electronic and print information resources and making them available on-site and via the World Wide Web" (Ellis 2004). Questions have been raised, however, about the quality of data that is obtained through the MIPT: "First, all the major open source terrorism databases (ITERATE, MIPT-RAND and PGIS) rely on data culled from news sources, thus these databases may be biased in favor of the most newsworthy forms of terrorism. In addition, using media accounts as a primary source makes compiling attacks that were averted by authorities or that were unsuccessful a more uncertain task" (Lafree, Dugan, Fogg and Scott 2006).
The Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism did not create a new corpus of work relating to the study of terrorism, nor did it develop new resources for first responders, law enforcement officials, and civic leaders. The MIPT did not develop databases to coordinate academic works on terrorism. The MIPT does, however, provide a comprehensive knowledge management system that makes access to these previously developed works easier and more efficient, and through a cooperative effort with the University of Oklahoma the MIPT developed an overarching search ontology that allows a user to glean from several of these databases with one search query (Gruenwald, McNutt and Mercier 2003). While it is not the only source for finding information on terrorism, the literature indicates that it offers a variety of valuable information and should be considered as a "first stop" for researchers.
Buchalter, Alice R and Glenn E Curtis. 2003. Inventory and Assessment of Databases Relevant for Social Science Research on Terrorism. Library of Congress: Washington D.C.
Ellis, James O. 2004. MIPT: Sharing terrorism information resources in Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer: Berlin
Gruenwald, Le, Gary McNutt and Adrien Mercier. 2003. Database and Expert Systems Applications, 2003. Proceedings. 14th International Workshop on Publication Date: 1-5 Sept. 2003.753- 757.
Lafree, Gary, Laura Dugan, Heather Fogg and Jeffrey Scott. 2006. Building a global terrorism database. Report to the Department of Justice: Document No. 214260.
Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. N.D. Terrorism Memorial Flag. Informational pamphlet available via MIPT
Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. 2006. About MIPT. Available at http://www.mipt.org/terrorism/About-MIPT.asp. Accessed on 12 April 2007.
Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. 2007. Terrorism Knowledge Base. Available at http://www.tkb.org/AboutTKB.jsp Accessed on 12 April 2007.
Miller, Barbara. 2004. National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. Government Information Quarterly. 23(3/4): 512-514.
Oklahoma City National Memorial. 2006. Memorial foundation. Available at http://www.oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org/secondary.php?section=10&catid=118. Accessed on 13 April 2007.
Robison, Brad. 2007. Interview conducted at the site of the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism on 09 April 2007.
Robison, Brad and Greta Marlatt. 2006. Libraries in the war on terror. Online (30):5. 39-42.
Robison, Brad, Brian Houghton, and James Ellis. 2002. National counterterrorism library: Unique information resources at MIPT. Reference Librarian 79: 335-348.
Smith, Brent L. and Kelly R. Damphousse (2006). The American Terrorism Study Database: 1980-2002. Oklahoma City: National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism.
U.S. Congress. 1999. House Report 106-398. Making appropriations for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2000, and for other purposes. 106th Congress., 2nd sess., 19 October