2012’s Crop of New Terrorists Drives Growth of TRAC Content

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Activity in Arab world, Europe and by Lone Wolves in U.S. help account for addition of more than 200 new terrorists to terrorism research center

TRAC’s unique ability is to keep tabs on an ever-growing number of terrorists. It's a result of TRAC’s Chatter Control, in which our editors trawl the Internet hourly for the best, most reliable sources of information across the globe.

Late in 2012 a new terrorist group Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan (JAMBS - Ansaru), also known as Vanguard for the Protection of Black Muslims in Africa, splintered from Boko Haram, to create an all-new group, increasing the complexity of monitoring terrorist groups. It’s not alone; more than 200 new groups and individuals have been added to Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (TRAC), a digital research center. Through TRAC, researchers can find profiles that quickly connect to groups’ locations, ideology, targets, and tactics, and then be directed to sources of expanded data, enabling deeper analysis of even nascent groups possible. TRAC now connects researchers to information for nearly 4,000 groups and individuals, making it one of the largest unclassified repositories of data about terrorist activities.

“TRAC’s unique ability is to keep tabs on an ever-growing number of terrorists. It's a result of TRAC’s Chatter Control, in which our editors trawl the Internet hourly for the best, most reliable sources of information across the globe,” said Veryan Khan, TRAC Editorial Director. “With TRAC’s vast number of group profiles, researchers can use the underlying technology to sort terrorists quickly and precisely, identifying, say, all the groups active in one geographic area or those who use a certain tactic. TRAC greatly improves the quality and the efficiency of research.”

TRAC profiles are snapshots of each group including all known aliases and alternative spellings of the group’s name, the date it was formed or first known to exist, leaders, attacks, affiliated groups, and even links to continuously updated news stories. Research is further enhanced by links to extensive analyses of vulnerable regions, ideological beliefs, recruitment tactics, and under-the-radar news stories. “Embedding links of journalistic sources worldwide to the group profiles keeps TRAC up to the minute,” said Ms. Khan.

Changes in the Arab world over the past year, small self-starter cells in Europe, and lone wolf attacks within the US have been among the key drivers in the increase of TRAC terrorist group profiles. Other areas of terrorism’s expansion include smaller cells in Indonesia, The Philippines and Malaysia that have minimal connections with one another but are able to crop up, mutate, and adapt quickly. There is also much activity in the Sahel. “Fracturing within AQIM and the different brigades within smaller al Qaeda affiliates such as al Shabaab and Boko Haram account for many of the most interesting and unrecognized new terrorist group profiles in TRAC,” said Ms. Khan.

TRAC debuted in February 2012 after eight years in development. Immediately commended for its breadth of content – described by Library Journal as “astonishing” – TRAC provides both historical context side-by-side with a current intelligence repository generated by a consortium of 2,200 specialists and a real-time news feed that reports on events as they occur. In addition to profiles, its expanding content includes commissioned analyses of key issues and events, as well as links to more than 2,900 think tanks, universities, government agencies and other resources studying terrorism. The content is interconnected and easily navigated through hyperlinks and cross-references. Reviewed and recommended by Choice as “an excellent, easy-to-use, interdisciplinary resource for novice or experienced researchers,” TRAC was described as “useful to students and scholars in fields ranging from criminal justice and history to political science and sociology.”

Interviews with TRAC’s experts can be arranged through TRAC’s media office. Follow TRAC on twitter (@TRACTerrorism) to stay up to date on important, but often missed news in this dynamic area. To learn more about TRAC visit http://www.trackingterrorism.org.

About The Beacham Group
Founded in 1985 as Beacham Publishing, The Beacham Group, LLC, is renowned for the creation of authoritative reference works that enable comprehensive research, especially on topics of emerging interest. Its acclaimed titles span the impact of climate change with Beacham's Guide to Endangered Species and Beacham’s Guide to Environmental Issues to topical issues in literature to important societal concerns with The Encyclopedia of Social Change and its newly released TRAC (Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium).

Beacham’s unique publishing model assembles and curates the input of topic experts, connecting users with high quality, trustworthy information in a single source.

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Beth Dempsey
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