citizen-side information

Crisis Informatics: Studying Crisis in a Networked World

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 13, 2009
Crisis Informatics: Studying Crisis in a Networked World data sheet 2411 Views
Palen, Leysia, Sarah Vieweg, Jeannette Sutton, Sophia Liu and Amanda Hughes (2007).
Publication Date: 
Oct 2007
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Serious crises and disasters have micro and macro social arrangements that differ
from routine situations, as the field of disaster studies has described over its 100-year history.
With increasingly pervasive information and communications technology (ICT) and a
changing political arena where terrorism is perceived as a major threat, the attention to crisis
is high. Some of these new features of social life have created real change in the sociology of
disaster that we are only beginning to understand. However, much of what might seem to be
new is not; rather ICT makes some behaviors more visible, in particular first response and
altruistic activities. Even so, with each new crisis event, the calls for technological solutions
and policy change come fast and furious, often in absence of empirical research. Our lab is
establishing an area of sociologically informed research and ICT development in the area of
crisis informatics. Here, we report on some of the challenges and findings when conducting
empirical study where the subject of attention is disperse, emergent and increasingly
expanding through on-line arenas. We specifically consider the challenge of studying citizen-
side information generation and dissemination activities during the April 16, 2007 crisis at
Virginia Tech, which we have investigated both on-site and on-lin