Handbook of Computational Approaches to Counterterrorism

pp 69-80


Automated Coding of Decision Support Variables

  • Massimiliano AlbaneseAffiliated withGeorge Mason University Email author 
  • , Marat FayzullinAffiliated withUniversity of Maryland
  • , Jana ShakarianAffiliated withUniversity of Maryland
  • , V. S. SubrahmanianAffiliated withUniversity of Maryland

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With the enormous amount of textual information now available online, there is an increasing demand – especially in the national security community – for tools capable of automatically extracting certain types of information from massive amounts of raw data. In the last several years, ad-hoc Information Extraction (IE) systems have been developed to help address this need [6]. However, there are applications where the types of questions that need to be answered are far more complex than those that traditional IE systems can handle, and require to integrate information from several sources. For instance, political scientists need to monitor political organizations and conflicts, while defense and security analysts need to monitor terrorist groups. Typically, political scientists and analysts define a long list of variables – referred to as “codebook” – that they want to monitor over time for a number of groups. Currently, in most such efforts, the task of finding the right value for each variable – denoted as “coding” – is performed manually by human coders, and is extremely time consuming. Thus, the need for automation is enormous.