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UTDEventData ver. 1.0.0


The UTDEventData R package provides an interface to extract data from the UTD Event Data server. This package is stable and actively maintained/updated. Your comments, feedback and suggestions are welcome.
If you have any question regarding the package, please contact Marcus Sianan, or open an issue (

Note: Our server now provides the access to 'CLINE_PHOENIX_LNNYT' data that contains several million events from 17.5 million news stories from New York Times (1945 - 2019) that is provided by Open Event Data Alliance. You can find more information by clicking the link here.

This package is part of the "Modernizing Political Event Data for Big Data Social Science Research" project. More information can be found on the project webpage.

Several functions to preview and download data are listed below. More details of these methods are illustrated in the vignette.

  • citeData( ): for citing the package and data tables in the UTD server for publications
  • DataTables( ): for looking up data tables in the UTD server
  • tableVar( ): for looking up the variables of a data table
  • previewData( ): for previewing the data structure of a data table
  • pullData( ): for downloading data by countries and time periods
  • entireData( ): for downloading an entire data table
  • getQuerySize(): for measuring the size of requested data from the UTD server
  • sendQuery( ): for requesting built queries from the API server to download data
  • Table: a reference class

Leaf Query Block functions:

  • returnTimes( ): create a query block by time periods
  • returnCountries( ): create a query block by countries
  • returnLatLon( ): create a query block by latitude and longitude
  • returnDyad( ): create a query block of a dyad for both source and target actors
  • returnRegExp( ): create a query block by pattern of attributes in a data table

Branch Query Block functions:

  • orList( ): match records that satisfy any of the child query blocks
  • andList( ): match records that satisfy all of the child query blocks


Without the vignette:


With the vignette:

devtools::install_github("KateHyoung/UTDEventData", build_vignettes=TRUE)

Users with newer versions of R may need to follow this format:


Retrieve an API key

Access to the UTD data server requires an API key. To obtain an API key, follow the link and fill the form: Please check your spam and junk email if you do not receive the API key in your inbox.

Using the API key

Method 1: Pass the key as the first argument

You will need to pass the key on every function call.

k <- '...your API key....'
DataTables(utd_api_key = k)

Method 2: Store the key in an environment variable

Set the default API key by setting the environment variable UTDAPIKEY.

Sys.setenv(UTDAPIKEY = "...your API key...")

tableVar(table = "icews", lword = "target")

Note: Method 2 currently works only with DataTabes(), tableVar(), and previewData(). We plan to expand this method to other functions that require an API key.

Further examples will assume the api key is set in an environment variable.

Data Preview

Retrieve a sample of 100 observations.

dataSample <- previewData(table_name = "PHOENIX_RT")

Data Download (quick)

pullData() can be used to retrieve data subsetted by country names and dates.

subset1 <- pullData(table_name = "phoenix_rt", country = list('canada','China'), start = '20171101',  end = '20171102', T)

Data Download (custom)

More complex queries with intersections, unions and multiple sets of constraints may be submitted via the sendQuery() function. More details on this method are provided in the vignette.

Example Usage

dt <- pullData('utd_api_key', "Phoenix_rt", list("RUS", "SYR"), start="20180101", end="20180331", citation = F)

## querying the fight event by CAMEO codes

Fgt <- dt[dt$code %in% c("190", "191", "192", "193", "194", "195", "1951", "1952", "196"),]
Fgt <- Fgt[,1:23] ## remove url and oid columns

tb <- table(Fgt$country_code, Fgt$month) # monthly incidents

barplot(tb, main = "Monthly Fight Incidents between RUS and SYR", col=c("darkblue", "red"),
        legend = rownames(tb), beside=TRUE,  xlab="Month in 2018")


Military related fights between Russia and Syria from January 2018 to March 2018 are depicted by month. Event types are articulated by CAMEO codes in Phoenix real-time data.


Access the vignette by executing the following R snippet. This requires an initial package installation with build_vignette=TRUE.


Alternatively, download the PDF version here


Marcus Sianan (Maintainer)

Dr. Patrick T. Brandt
Dr. Vito D'Orazio
Dr. Latifur Khan
Dr. HyoungAh(Kate) Kim
Michael J. Shoemate
Sayeed Salam
Jared Looper

Community Guidelines

This project is released with a Contributor Code of Conduct. By participating in this project you agree to abide by its terms. Feedback, bug reports, and feature requests here. You may request to store a dataset in the UTD Event Data server by contacting one of the authors. Those who request to store data as collaborators also agree to abide by its terms specified in the Contributor Code of Conduct.


This package is supported by the RIDIR project funded by National Science Foundation, Grant No. SBE-SMA-1539302.