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Adding to the Toolbox: Creating and Maintaining a Searchable Database of Events

Presenter 1
Timothy Mullen
Federal Reserve Board

Economists at the Federal Reserve Board are tasked every day with explaining the underlying causes of shifts in data, yet they do not have at their disposal all the tools necessary to efficiently perform these tasks. A glaring omission in their stable of available resources is a system which allows for researching events in a fast, organized, and succinct manner. We plan to solve that problem by creating a database of events categorized by date, type (financial, political, economic, etc), sector (labor, energy, prices, etc) and sub-sector (unemployment, crude oil, CPI, etc). Using established guidelines for event inclusion while also having strong metadata requirements we can open up a wealth of information for, and greatly reduce the search costs paid by, the user. An open-source application is being developed which will allow for the visualization of a timeline of events which can then be plotted against the time-series data in question. This paper will describe the efforts currently under way at the Federal Reserve Board to create and maintain a searchable database of events aimed primarily at assisting the work of research and forecast economists.

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