Terrorism Knowledge Base

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The Terrorism Knowledge Base (TKB) was a database maintained by the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT) which provided information about terrorist groups and organizations and acts of terrorism from the 1970s onwards.


Brian K. Houghton on the origins of the database:

The TKB emerged out of the RAND Corporation’s Terrorism Chronology, which Brian Jenkins likes to say was first started in 1970 on 3” x 5” cards, detailing terrorism incidents which began in the modern era in 1968. From these modest beginnings, RAND’s database grew into one of the most comprehensive chronicles of international terrorism, and yet it was solely used within RAND. For decades, critics and scholars longed to peek inside RAND’s proprietary data to gain access to the same knowledge that this “think tank” held. For a brief time the Chronology was jointly held by RAND and the University of St Andrews in Scotland, but this ended in 1997, and the database lay dormant until 2001. At that time, RAND received a grant from the new Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT), a non-profit organization chartered to be a living legacy to those who lost their lives in the tragic bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. MIPT knew the significance of the database and wanted it not only preserved, but also made available to the public at large. With new funding, RAND resurrected the dataset and also began collecting information on domestic terrorism incidents around the world. Partnering with DFI International and adding court trial data from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the concept for a knowledge base was born.[1]

According to Domain Tools TKB's website (www.tkb.org) was created on 3 June 2003 and registered to DFI International employee Matt Fullerton.[2]

Content and function

The new database was maintained by MIPT using the RAND Corporation Terrorism Chronology 1968-1997; the RAND-MIPT Terrorism Incident database (1998-2008); the Terrorism Indictment database (University of Arkansas & University of Oklahoma); and DFI International's research on terrorist organizations. It was possible to search the database by keyword, organisation, date, type of incident and geographical region.[3] Entries included a synopsis of the attack, background information on the groups involved, information on related course cases, statistical facts and links to related headlines and in some cases full-text articles. Terrorist incidents included: hijackings, assassinations, arson, kidnapping, bombings and suicide bombings. Other features of the site included a glossary of terms and news headlines relating to recent terrorist attacks worldwide.[4]


MIPT discontinuted the Terrorism Knowledge Base on 31 March 2008. A message on MIPT’s website states that, “elements of the system will be merged with the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), managed by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland.”[5] Although elements of the database are being transferred to START, this transfer does not apply to portions of the database which are the property of the RAND Corporation.[6]

The former Research Director at MIPT, Brian K. Houghton complained that "The TKB’s demise was simply brought about by the economic “free rider” principle—everyone loved using it, but nobody wanted to pay". He criticised the Department of Homeland Security for withdrawing funding and wrote that "the TKB died from bureaucratic neglect."[7]



  1. Brian K. Houghton, 'Terrorism Knowledge Base: A Eulogy (2004-2008)', Perspectives on Terrorism Volume II, Issue 7
  2. Copy of Whois Record of www.tkb.org (14 May 2008)
  3. Intute, MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base (accessed 11 May 2008)
  4. Intute, MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base (accessed 11 May 2008)
  5. Message posted on MIPT Homepage (accessed 9 May 2008)
  6. START Website, 'Regarding the Terrorism Knowledge Base', (accessed 12 May 2008
  7. Brian K. Houghton, 'Terrorism Knowledge Base: A Eulogy (2004-2008)', Perspectives on Terrorism Volume II, Issue 7