UFOCAT-2023 is the latest version of the original UFOCAT sightings catalog. UFOCAT-2023 refers to a computer database of over 300,000 entries. In this total are over 192,000 primary UFO reports. It is the result of a 55 year effort that began during the Air Force–sponsored Colorado UFO project, also known as the Condon Committee. UFOCAT was begun by Dr. David R. Saunders, who at the time was a co-principal investigator on the Colorado UFO project and professor of psychology at the University of Colorado. Dr. Jacques Vallée contributed a large computer catalog of approximately 6,000 cases at the project’s inception.
The UFOCAT database has existed in some form or another since the spring of 1967. In 1976, Saunders gave his version of UFOCAT to the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS). From then until 1982 it was maintained and updated by Fred Merritt of CUFOS. In those days the database was maintained on an IBM mainframe computer at a nearby computer facility, with magnetic-tape backup. It proved to be too expensive an endeavor for CUFOS to maintain on a mainframe, and consequently it was removed from active use and stored on tape.
In 1990, Dr. Donald Johnson obtained a copy of UFOCAT on ten 3.5-inch diskettes from Saunders, courtesy of Dr. John Derr of the US Geological Survey. Derr had created the diskette version from one of the magnetic tape backups for his research use.
With the strides in computer software and hardware technology, and the substantial reduction in costs of RAM memory and storage, it soon made sense to revise the UFOCAT file structure. First using dBase IV and later Microsoft Access, the UFOCAT file was converted to a modern relational database. Most of the single-letter codes from the 1970s version were replaced with longer, more understandable names. Several fields were added. A special emphasis on specifying the source for each UFO report, including the full name of the author and a much longer mnemonic code for the reference citation, resulting in improved usability.
UFOCAT can be used for research, but first and foremost, UFOCAT is a catalog of published and unpublished UFO sighting reports. It often contains multiple entries for the same UFO sighting (an original case file, an article in a UFO periodical, and a description in a UFO book). The intent was to have a complete reference database to all available information on a UFO sighting, so that anyone who needed to study a case in depth could access all the sources.
We caution potential users not to expect to be able to begin and end their research using only UFOCAT 2023 , as there are too many gaps in the data and, just like the internet, sources of information are not equally reliable and accurate. Moreover, because UFOCAT often has multiple sources for a single case, a simple case count will result in over counts of cases . A great deal of effort has gone into identifying and linking all the primary and secondary references to a UFO case. Therefore, it is possible to obtain preliminary case counts by only selecting those cases with the code of “0” for the X2 field (see definition below). The results obtained from UFOCAT are best viewed as a reference guide to the original sources for crucial details; otherwise, the distinction between poorly investigated reports and exhaustively studied sightings could be lost. However, UFOCAT is without peer as a reference source. Tens of thousands of hours have gone into creating it and revising it to improve its ease of use. It exists today as the most comprehensive reference tool and bibliographic source on UFO reports.
The fields with a description of what each includes can be accessed here: UFOCAT fields.
A codebook in pdf format is included, and can be downloaded from the the link below, as well as separate Excel files that contain codes for geography and for the sources used for entries.
System requirements are Windows 7 or higher. Space requirement is 562 MB.
Ordering and Shipping Information
UFOCAT-2023 is available for $10 via download link. You can order by PayPal, by credit card, or by check or money order. After your order, we will send you a link for UFOCAT in a separate email.
For a mail-in order by check, send your order with payment to CUFOS at P.O. Box 31335, Chicago, IL 60631, with a note that you would like a copy of UFOCAT along with your name, address, and an email address that we will use for contact. Make checks payable to CUFOS. You may also order via the Check out button below.