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Posts Tagged ‘volunteer’

I’ve become increasingly more active with a volunteer group of humanitarians who give technology aid after a major disaster, such as the one that occurred this week in Japan.  For those that haven’t heard of this emerging interdisciplinary field of crisis mapping, crisis mappers were featured on CNN for the instantaneous response and creation of the  person finder application and aggregation of news sources.  Voluntweeters around the world started self-organizing in the information space, using twitter and other microblogging environments to collect and disseminate information, creating mash-ups of satellite images for disaster and crisis management support — in just the last 24 hours. As a rule, time is the most valuable resource during these events and crisis mappers are very fast to respond when a crisis happens.

So what does this mean for libraries? Part of my graduate research is looking at the needs of crisis mappers from an information needs perspective. This emerging field of crisis mapping during a disaster is supported by loosely organizated individuals en masse without geographic restrictions. As librarians and information specialists we need to start looking at how we can help seek and provide information they are looking for. Why? Because it is our job.

In my research I am looking at crisis mapping for two reasons — how are crisis mappers doing it and how can we help as information specialists? This brings up more questions: If the crisis mapping community sets up interactive maps to help identify needs and resources of a community, how can we support that data? How can we help support and manage the evolving coverage of resources being created in response to a major disaster? What is our role in organizing that information and making it universally accessible and useful? Do we have the skills to support the many new web-based relief tools emerging — and do we want to have a role?

I hope to have the answers to those questions in the coming months as I continue to do my research.

Librarian Intelligence. It’s the new now.

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Haiti Earthquake

Primary and secondary school in Port-au-Prince, taken by Jennifer Graves of Moonlight Productions (thx!)

5 Ways Librarians Can Help Librarians in Haiti

(more will be added)

1.) Give Books. IFLA’s Center for Arabic Speaking Libraries is requesting new and used English and French books. To donate books to Haiti, please send your donation with parcel labeled with “Haiti Libraries Relief” to the following address:
Haiti Libraries Relief
IFLA Center for Arabic Speaking Libraries
Bibliotheca Alexandrina
P.O.Box 138, Chatby
21526 Alexandria
Egypt
Contact: For more information please contact Mrs. Dina Youssef, Deputy Director of IFLA-CASL, e-mail : dina.youssef@bibalex.org – tel.: +2 03 4839999 extension 1997

2.) Volunteer virtually or in Haiti. Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield (ANCBS) is looking for volunteer archivists, restorers, curators, librarians, architects and other experts to aid in the recovery and damage assessment. Find the application online: http://haiti2010.blueshield-international.org/.

3.) Lend your tech skills. Find a CrisisCamp Haiti near you and join up. They are looking for programmers, librarians, researchers, geospatial development, and translators in more than 12 cities worldwide. Ongoing tech projects include a Relief “craigslist”, Haiti Hospital Capacity Finder, Disaster Accountability Project, Haitian Voices digital archive, and NGO maps in action. Also, see their “simple tasks anyone can do” wiki.

4.) Donate to ALA’s Library Relief Fund to help rebuild libraries and archives in Haiti. Donations can be made by credit card or check through www.ala.org/haiti.

5.) Educate. The Digital Library of the Caribbean has been posting ongoing detailed information about the recovery effort. Also, check ALA’s up-to-date list of reported damages to libraries in Haiti.

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