Developing a semantics of international relations data

by William W. Fowler

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It is impossible to deny the impact of the computer on behavioral research in international relations, or, for that matter, in any of the social sciences. The achievements in the development of data processing systems for the analysis of international relations data, given the resources allocated for such systems, are impressive indeed. However, it is clear that current systems do not utilize the full potential of the computer as an information processing device. This paper suggests that the contribution of computers will be to increase the understanding of the structure and meaning of international relations data, because such understanding is necessary to utilize the full power of sophisticated information processing systems. The paper gives some simple examples of the structure of information in international relations research.

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