Database of Electronic Communication and Destabilization
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Database Structure


Fields List: EventID, EventName, EventClass, ActorMatrix, Location, TimeStart, TimeEnd, EventVector, ICTInstruments, ICTContext, Intervention, References.


Fields list: EventID, eventID, eventCode, eventTime, eventLocation, actorSourcevector, actorTargetvector, instrument.

Composite Event Record

EventID: Unique code identifying the Event. Automatically assigned by database.

EventName: Examples: Thailand May 1992, Tiananmen, People Power II.

EventClass: Indicates both the severity of the destabilization event and the outcome type. Currently includes three classes: prototypical, major, and signifier.

Prototypical: In these events, the existing regime collapses and there is an unplanned transition to a new form of government. To determine whether an Event is prototypical, we rely on Polity IV database for the state and time in which the Event occurs. A state which receives the (-77) "interregnum" code within the Events time frame is prototypical. Polity IV defines an interregnum as a period "during which there is a complete collapse of central political authority." See Polity IV Variable List.

Major: The state in which the Event occurs maintains power through a forceful intervention response. Again, referring to the Polity IV database project, states in which major events occur do not pass through "interregnums" as a result of the Event are not prototypical. Interventions which do not involve physical force are not major events and fall into the final, signifier category.

Signifier: an event class where some form of instability threatens a state but where interventions take the form of negotiation, technology or law instead of force and there is no regime change.


An n by 3 matrix indentifying all actors in the Event, where the number of rows (n) is determined by the number of actors and the three columns comprise the following three variables: name, association, sector as they are used in the IDEA framework.
Name: Common name identifying the actor at individual (President Mitterand) or group (U.S. Army unit) level
Association: major administrative unit, usually the state (country) but also including others such as world bodies (UN, WTO) and NGO's (Green Peace, Red Cross).
Sector: Government and civil society "true agents" as listed in the IDEA framework. See brief list, below.

Example ActorMatrix for the Thailand May 1992 Coup Attempt.
Actor Name Association Sector
Actor1 General Succhinda Kraprayoon Thailand National executive
Actor2 Soldiers Thailand Military
Actor 3 Thai University students Thailand Students
Actor 4 Thai people Thailand Nominal agents
Actor 5 King Thailand Royalty

(Note: at the Composite record level we do not distinguish between sources and targets, since actors may play both roles in the course of an Event. Further, all actors in the general record must fit within the "true agent" category of the IDEA framework, meaning no non-person "pseudo agents." In specific event records, however, target actors may include "pseudo agents" such as artifacts of human construction -- a broadcasting antenna, for example)

Location: Typically the name of a country, within any additional specificity that bounds the event, such as a city name or landmark. By having separate physical location information attached to the actors (associations in the actor matrix) and the event itself, we can record data for signifier events which occur only within cyberspace, such as the hacking or defacing of a government web site. In this case the actors will be associated with specific administrative units (usually states) but the Event location will be electronic, not physical.

TimeStart: as specific as possible. Format HH:DD:MM:YYYY. If specific hour or day is unknown, put X's in corresponding time position. For example, XX:23:09:2004, or XX:XX:12:2001
TimeEnd: can be empty, same format.

EventVector: This vector indentifies the key events that comprise the Event, in serial order. The exact order of simultaneous events that occur in multiple locations is not important, as long the events appear together within the overall time line. Each event is coded using the IDEA framework.

Example event vector for Thailand 1992 Coup Attempt.
112 (refusal to allow), 1811 (protest obstruction), 1824 (military troops display), 183 (control crowds), 1814 (protest altruism), 2234 (military occupation), 074 (rally support), 2222 (shootings), 2121 (criminal arrests), 031 (Discussions), 011 (yield to order)

IDEA has an extensive typology of events, with 22 top-level categories of events ranging from Yield (01) to Force (22), based on the cue categories for the WEIS database. These events can be thought of as indicated a conflict continuum, from low (Yield) to hight. The IDEA framework adds complexity, and thus analytical power, to the WEIS database, by shifting from a two level to a four-level event hierarchy. The category of Force is broken down between Bombings, Physical Assaults, Military engagements and and Riots. Physical assaults are further broken down between "Coups and mutinies," "assassinations" and "capital punishment. Between Yield and Force lies the category of Demonstrate (18). The Demonstrate category consists of three subcategories: "protest demonstrations," "military demonstrations," and "control crowds."

Events can be coded within the top level "cue" scheme without reference to the actors, allowing for events to be coded when, for example, the source of the event is not clear. For details see Bond, Bond, Oh, Jenkins, and Taylor (2003). Integrated Data for Events Analysis (IDEA): An Event Typology for Automated Events Data Development

ICTInstrument: This field identifies any major ICTs the researcher deems to be instrumental in the Event. Currently this field is in open text format and should be as specific as possible. Example entries include Short Messaging Service, cell phones, online bulletin boards, broadcast television stations, pirate radio, etc.

ICTContext: In this context, the word "global" refers to the general ICT environment in which the Event actors find themselves. This will also start as an open text field, but we hope to establish a more specific enumeration of variables, which taken together, would comprise am overall ICT context vector. Data to be included here will include things like the per capita penetration of fixed line telephones, cell phones, Internet users, and total domestic data bandwidth.

Intervention: This field consists of one or more of the following intervention codes, indicating specific state responses to the event: force, law, negotiation, and technology

References: The references field is currently a separately linked document with electronic and non-electronic sources of information on the event. Analyst can use these references to build out the individual event records.

Individual event records
EventID: inherits value from composite record.

eventID: "EventID + '-' + auto-incrementing integer." As events are added to the data structure for a given Event, the database will assign a unique integer that increments automatically for each individual data record that is entered. For example the second event entered as data for Event 0023 would be 0023-2. The integer in this case does not reflect the events position within a time series, it only provides a unique identifier of the event. For event flow for a given location should be indexed using the eventTime variable.

eventCode: This is the specific event code as it appears in the EventVector for the composite record and is derived from the 22 cue event codes in the IDEA framework.

eventTime: As specific as possible. Format. SS:MM:HH:DD:MM:YYYY

eventLocation:Physical location, as specific as possible, cyberlocation, both logically ( and physically (specific server) when relevant to event.

actorSourcevector: Consists of three variables, identical to the rows of the ActorMatrix in the composite record: name, association, sector.

actorTargetvector: Nearly indentical to actorSourceVector, except for the sector variable, which includes portions of the "pseudo agent" category of the IDEA framework, best described as inanimate objects.

instrument: The instrument variable is based on the instrument variable in Heise's Event Structure Analysis. It refers to any physical object or technology used by the actorSource on the actorTarget. The instrument might be some for of ICT, such as a cell phone or a personal computer, or it might be a rock, or a gun, a human body or human voice.

Agent Sector List (return)
SECTOR: True Actors: Civil society agents, government agents
Government agents
        Peace-keeping forces
    National executive
    Sub-national officials

 Civil society agents
    Armed civilian groups
        Paramilitary groups
    Civic group agents
    Ethnic agents
        Bosnian Croats
        Bosnian Moslems
        Bosnian Serbs
    Health care agents
    Mass media
    Nominal agents
    Philanthropic agents
    Political parties
    Political opposition

    Religious agents
        Christian Orthodox