We are launching new projects to support empirical studies and development of analytical tools to support citizens affected by mass emergency. In the meantime, we have an existing body of work in a research area we call crisis informatics upon which the new work will be based. These articles are also available here.
Starbird, K., & Palen, L. (2013). Working & Sustaining the Virtual “Disaster Desk”.
Schram, Aaron and Kenneth Anderson (in press). MySQL to NoSQL: Data Modeling Challenges in Supporting Scalability. In 2012 ACM Conference on Systems, Programming, Languages and Applications: Software for Humanity. Tucson, Arizona, USA (October 2012)
Barrenechea, M., Barron, J., White, J. (2012). No Place Like Home: Pet-to-Family Reunification after Disaster. Proceedings of the 2012 ACM annual conference extended abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems.
Hughes, Amanda L. and Leysia Palen. The Evolving Role of the Public Information Officer: An Examination of Social Media in Emergency Management. Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. (2012)
Corvey, William J., Sarah Vieweg, Sudha Verma, Martha Palmer and James H. Martin. (In press.). Foundations of a Multilayer Annotation Framework for Twitter Communications During Crisis Events. Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2012), May 21-27, 2012, Istanbul, Turkey.
Gloria Mark, Mossaab Bagdouri, Leysia Palen, James Martin, Ban Al-Ani, Kenneth Anderson (2012). Blogs as a Collective War Diary. Proceedings of CSCW’12, Seattle, WA.
Semaan, B. and Mark, G. (2012). ‘Facebooking’ Towards Crisis Recovery and Beyond: Disruption as an Opportunity. Proceedings of CSCW 2012, Seattle, WA.
Ban Al-Ani, Gloria Mark, Justin Chung, and Jennifer Jones. 2012. The Egyptian blogosphere: a counter-narrative of the revolution. In Proceedings of the ACM 2012 conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW ’12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 17-26.
Liu, Sophia, Leysia Palen and Elisa Giaccardi. Heritage Matters in Crisis Informatics: How Information and Communication Technology Can Support Legacies of Crisis Events. In Christine Hagar (Ed) Crisis Information Management: Communication and Technologies, pp. 65 – 86, Chandos Publishing.
Semaan, B., Mark, G., Al-Ani, B. The Effects of Continual Disruption: Technological Resources Supporting Resilience in Regions of Conflict. In Christine Hagar (Ed.), Crisis Information Management: Communication and Technologies, pp 9 -24, Chandos Publishing.
Starbird, Kate, Leysia Palen, Sophia B. Liu, Sarah Vieweg, Amanda Hughes, Aaron Schram, Kenneth Mark Anderson, Mossaab Bagdouri, Joanne White, Casey McTaggart, and Chris Schenk. Promoting Structured Data in Citizen Communications during Disaster Response: An Account of Strategies for Diffusion of the “Tweak the Tweet” Syntax. In Christine Hagar (Ed.), Crisis Information Management: Communication and Technologies, pp 43 – 63. Chandos Publishing.
Sarcevic, Aleskandra, Leysia Palen, Joanne White, Mossaab Bagdouri, Kate Starbird, Kenneth M. Anderson, (2012). “Beacons of Hope” in Decentralized Coordination: Learning from On-the-Ground Medical Twitterers During the 2010 Haiti Earthquake 2012 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Bellevue, WA.
Starbird, Kate and Leysia Palen (2012). (How) Will the Revolution be Retweeted?: Information Propagation in the 2011 Egyptian Uprising. 2012 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Bellevue, WA.
Starbird, Kate, Grace Muzny and Leysia Palen. Learning from the Crowd: Collaborative Filtering Techniques for Identifying On-the-Ground Twitters during Mass Disruptions. To appear in the Proceedings of the Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM 2012), Vancouver, BC.
St. Denis, Amanda Hughes and Leysia Palen. Trial By Fire: The Deployment of Trusted Digital Volunteers in the 2011 Shadow Lake Fire To appear in the Proceedings of the Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM 2012), Vancouver, BC.
Vieweg, Sarah. Situational Awareness in Mass Emergency: A Behavioral and Linguistic Analysis of Microblogged Communications. University of Colorado at Boulder PhD Dissertation.
Barron, Joshua. Supporting Pet-to-Family Reunification in Disaster by Leveraging Human and Machine Computation. University of Colorado at Boulder MS Thesis.
McTaggart, Casey (2012). Analysis and Implementation of Software Tools to Support Research in Crisis Informatics. University of Colorado at Boulder MS Thesis.
Semaan, B. and Mark, G. (2011). Repairing infrastructure during ongoing crisis: Technology-mediated social arrangements to support recovery. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), vol 18, issue 4, December 2011
Anderson, Kenneth, and Aaron Schram. Design and Implementation of a Data Analytics Infrastructure In Support of Crisis Informatics Research. In the 33rd International Conference on Software Engineering, 21-28 May 2011, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Verma, Sudha, Sarah Vieweg, Will Corvey, Leysia Palen, Jim Martin, Martha Palmer, Aaron Schram and Ken Anderson. NLP to the Rescue? Extracting “Situational Awareness” Tweets During Mass Emergency. In the Fifth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, 17-21 July 2011, Barcelona, Spain.
In times of mass emergency, vast amounts of data are generated via computer-mediated communication (CMC) that are difficult to manually cull and organize into a coherent picture. Yet valuable information is broadcast, and can provide useful insight into time- and safety-critical situations if captured and analyzed properly and rapidly. We describe an approach for automatically identifying messages communicated via Twitter that contribute to situational awareness, and explain why it is beneficial for those seeking information during mass emergencies. We collected Twitter messages from four different crisis events of varying nature and magnitude and built a classifier to automatically detect messages that may contribute to situational awareness, utilizing a combination of hand- annotated and automatically-extracted linguistic features. Our system was able to achieve over 80% accuracy on categorizing tweets that contribute to situational awareness. Additionally, we show that a classifier developed for a specific emergency event performs well on similar events. The results are promising, and have the potential to aid the general public in culling and analyzing information communicated during times of mass emergency.
Palen, L., Vieweg, S., and Anderson, K. (2011). Supporting “Everyday Analysts” in Time- and Safety- Critical Situations. The Information Society Journal, 27(1), pp. 52-62.
The need for quick, timely and accurate information is critical in emergency events. People assemble information from both official and unofficial sources. As digital access expands, people will increasingly incorporate digital sources into decision-making and assess it against the local circumstances they experience. If we extrapolate to what such behavior means for the future, we argue that information management under emergency conditions will need to become increasingly socially distributed. A natural point of contention in such a view is the matter of how to assess the quality of information: how “good” or “bad” it is; whether it is “misinformation” or “disinformation.” Borrowing from Simon’s satisficing, we consider the matter of the assessment of information helpfulness and credibility as a function of the “everyday analytic” skills that people use to take action during mass emergencies. We discuss steps in a research agenda for the development of analytical support tools.
Starbird, Kate and Leysia Palen “Voluntweeters:” Self-Organizing by Digital Volunteers in Times of Crisis. In the ACM 2011 Conference on Computer Human Interaction (CHI 2011), Vancouver, BC, Canada, long paper, pp. TBA.
This empirical study of “digital volunteers” in the aftermath of the January 12, 2010 Haiti earthquake describes their behaviors and mechanisms of self-organizing in the information space of a microblogging environment, where collaborators were newly found and distributed across continents. The paper explores the motivations, resources, activities and products of digital volunteers. It describes how seemingly small features of the technical environment offered structure for self-organizing, while considering how the social-technical milieu enabled individual capacities and collective action. Using social theory about self organizing, the research offers insight about features of coordination within a setting of massive interaction.
Semaan, Bryan and Gloria Mark. Creating a Context of Trust with ICTs: Restoring a Sense of Normalcy in the Environment. In the ACM 2011 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2011), Hangzhou, China, long paper, pp. TBA.
This paper reports on an ethnographic study of the technology-enabled behavior that took place amongst a citizen population living in a conflict zone. We interviewed 65 Iraqi citizens who experienced the current Gulf War beginning in March 2003. In the context of a disrupted environment, trust in people and institutions can erode. We find that trust is contextual–-as aspects of the physical world change, conceptions of trust can also change. We show how people were able to create a context of trust in the environment by using ICTs to manage their public identity, to conduct background checks, and to develop collaborative practices that relied on those with whom interpersonal trust previously existed. These new practices, in turn, enabled people to maintain work collaborations, to determine whether or not to continue interacting with others in public, to be able to travel safely, and to find trustworthy jobs. In developing these new practices we argue that technology enabled people to restore a sense of normalcy in an environment that had radically changed.
Liu, Sophia (2011). Grassroots Heritage: A Multi-Method Investigation of How Social Media Sustain the Living Heritage of Historic Crises. University of Colorado at Boulder PhD Dissertation.
Semaan, Bryan. (2011). Recovery, Resilience and Beyond: ICT Use During Ongoing Disruption. University of California, Irvine PhD Dissertation.
Bagdouri, Mossaab (2011). Topic modeling as an analysis tool to understand the impact of the Iraq war on the Iraqi blogosphere. University of Colorado at Boulder MS Thesis.
Al-Ani, B., Mark, G., and Semaan, B. (2010). Blogging in a region of conflict: Supporting transition to recovery. In Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Atlanta, Georgia, USA, April 10 – 15, 2010). CHI 2010. ACM, New York, NY, 1069-1078. Honorable Mention for Best Paper.
Al-Ani, B., Mark, G., Semaan, B. (2010). Blogging through Conflict: Sojourners in the Age of Social Media. InProceedings of the 3rd international Conference on intercultural Collaboration (Copenhagen, Denmark, August 19 – 20, 2010). ICIC ’10. ACM, New York, NY, 29-38.
Corvey, W. J., Vieweg, S., Rood, T. and Palmer, M. (2010). Twitter in Mass Emergency: What NLP Techniques can Contribute. In Proceedings of the NAACL HLT 2010 Workshop on Computational Linguistics in a World of Social Media (Los Angeles, California, June 2010), 23–24.
Liu, S. B. and Ayala Iacucci, A. (2010). Crisis Map Mashups in a Participatory Age. American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) Bulletin, June 2010, pp. 10-14.
Liu, S. B., Anahi Ayala Iacucci and Patrick Meier. (2010). Ushahidi Haiti and Chile: Next Generation Crisis Mapping. American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) Bulletin, August Issue, pp. 10-13.
Liu, S. B. and Palen, L. (2010). The New Cartographers: Crisis Map Mashups and the Emergence of Neogeographic Practice. Cartography and Geographic Information Science (CaGIS) Journal Special Issue on Mapping Hazards and Disasters, Volume 37, Number 1, pp. 69-90.
Liu, S. B. (2010). The Rise of Curated Crisis Content. Short paper presented at the 7th Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM) Conference (Seattle, Washington, USA, May 2010). ISCRAM 2010.
Liu, Sophia B. (2010). Trends in Distributed Curatorial Technology to Manage Data in a Networked World. UPGRADE Journal: 2010 – Emerging Information Technologies (II), Volume XI, Number 3, August 2010 Issue, 18-24.
Palen, L., Anderson, K. M., Mark, G., Martin, J., Sicker, D., Palmer, M., and Grunwald, D. (2010). A vision for technology-mediated support for public participation and assistance in mass emergencies and disasters. In Proceedings of the 2010 ACM-BCS Visions of Computer Science Conference (Edinburgh, United Kingdom, April 14 – 16, 2010). ACM-BCS Visions of Computer Science. British Computer Society, Swinton, UK, 1-12.
Palen, L., Starbird, K., Vieweg, S. and Hughes, A. (2010). Twitter-based information distribution during the 2009 Red River Valley flood threat. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, American Society for Information Science and Technology, Volume 36, Issue 5, (June/July 2010), pp. 13-17.
Semaan, B., Mark, G., Al-Ani, B. (2010). Developing Information Technologies and Government Policies for Citizens Experiencing Disruption: The Role of Trust and Context. Presented at the 7th International Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management Conference (Seattle, WA, USA, May 2-5, 2010). ISCRAM 2010.
Sicker, Douglas C., Blumensaadt, L., Grunwald, D., Palen, L. and Anderson, K. (2010). Policy Issues Facing the Use of Social Network Information During Times of Crisis. The 38th Annual Telecommunications Policy Research Conference (TPRC) for Public Safety and Emergency session (October 1-3, 2010, Arlington, Virginia).
The exchange of information during times of crisis/disaster has traditionally been the purview of public safety, the National Guard and other local, state or federal authorities. However, this model is undergoing a change with the availability of new mobile communications capabilities and the rise of social networking sites. The general public can now create and share information about crises as they unfold, and researchers have documented the timeliness and surprising accuracy of this information. As part of a large National Science Foundation funded project, researchers at the University of Colorado are developing tools to extract, organize and assess the flow of crisis related information as posted on social networking sites. With the promise of improved warning and coordination, such tools should help reduce the impacts of large-scale disruptions, including political crises, natural disasters, pandemics and terrorist threats. In this model, members of the public can obtain (and produce) information about an emergency that is specialized to their needs—as well as meta-information specialized for crisis situations— that helps them make judgments about the ever-growing amount of information. Such meta-information includes features of its source; judgments about the authoritativeness of the source; its concurrence (or not) with official sources; its timeliness (as the information may be better than official sources); other spatio-temporal features of the information’s life; and anticipation of who would be looking for this information and why. Data mining and information extraction techniques have a critical place here, as does the creation of trust models and security techniques to offer privacy or possibly anonymity.
However, if mechanisms are provided to enhance the users’ privacy and even offer the capability for anonymous information contributions, it is possible that malicious entities may exploit this anonymity and inject false and misleading information into information streams. It is worth noting that false information could be introduced into the system without these features; it is just that an anonymizing system removes the consequence of being identified. Fundamentally, establishing identity within a networked environment is a challenging problem. For instance, a classic problem within the field of reputation systems is the Sybil attack, which occurs when a single entity establishes a large number of identities, for instance, by adding a large number of nodes to a peer-to-peer network. This has implications on designing reputation systems to detect the injection of bad information by malicious parties, since it is always possible for them to simply add a new identity to the system to counteract any previous misbehavior. Given this fact, we take an alternate approach to determining reputable users and information during an event. We will look at two possible implicit reputation indicators, one using client location services and another using analysis methods based on network graphs and activity within networks. Using network analysis methods, it may be possible to infer location, influence and other attributes based on communication, context and association with others in the network. Data for these methods is available via public application programming interfaces (APIs) from some online social networks. Monitoring these public APIs during crisis situations, we are able to use these analysis methods to infer information about users as the crisis is evolving.
With the development of these tools, we must consider public policy issues that arise from this research. First, we ask what public policy issues emerge as a result of this vision of empirical research and development activities, and how they can be framed using a crisis informatics lens? Investigations of this kind require consideration about how crisis-related data is collected, analyzed and disseminated within the context of current federal and state laws, policies and regulations. Because information aggregation efforts may cross national borders, we will also take into account similar (and often more stringent) laws and policies in other countries. Important questions in this area center on issues of legal precedent, communications-related laws and policies, regulations and authorities regarding information dissemination during disasters and privacy and security issues. Other questions include how the policy context will affect our own information capture and aggregation methods. As an over-arching concern, we question whether it will be possible to design methods for capturing and processing diverse content ethically and in adherence of law, while also not creating new, insurmountable policy issues around information aggregation. Next, we ask what is the risk of legal liabilities that might arise. Who is responsible if the information is wrong? What if the system suppresses the dissemination of vital information? Does this constitute some type of negligence or a failure to adhere to required duty?
Starbird, K. and Palen, L. (2010). Pass It On?: Retweeting in Mass Emergencies. Presented at the 7th International Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management Conference (Seattle, WA, USA, May 2010). ISCRAM 2010.
Starbird, K. and Stamberger, J. (2010). Tweak the Tweet: Leveraging Microblogging Proliferation with a Prescriptive Grammar to Support Citizen Reporting. Short paper presented at the 7th International Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management Conference (Seattle, Washington, USA, May 2010). ISCRAM 2010.
Starbird, K., Palen, L., Hughes, A. L., and Vieweg, S. (2010). Chatter on the Red: What hazards threat reveals about the social life of microblogged information. In Proceedings of the 2010 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (Savannah, Georgia, USA, February 06 – 10, 2010). CSCW 2010. ACM, New York, NY, 241-250. Nominated for “Best of CSCW.”
Vieweg, Sarah, Amanda Hughes, Kate Starbird, Leysia Palen (2010). Microblogging During Two Natural Hazards Events: What Twitter May Contribute to Situational Awareness. In Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Atlanta, Georgia, USA, April 10 – 15, 2010). CHI 2010. ACM, New York, NY, 1079-1088.
Novinger, Matthew (2010). COSE: Crisis Oriented Search Engine. University of Colorado at Boulder MS Thesis.
Palen, L., Vieweg, S., Liu, S., Hughes, A. (2009).Crisis in a Networked World: Features of Computer-Mediated Communication in the April 16, 2007 Virginia Tech Event. Social Science Computing Review, Sage, (pp 467-480). Download
Mark, G., Semaan, B. (2009). Expanding a Country’s Borders During War: The Internet War Diary. In Proceedings of the ACM International Workshop on Intercultural Collaboration IWIC 2009 (Palo Alto, February 20-21, 2009).
Mark, G., Al-Ani, B., Semaan, B. (2009) Resilience Through Technology Adoption: Merging the Old and the New in Iraq. In the Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems CHI 2009 (Boston, Apri 4-9, 2009).
Mark, G., Al-Ani, B., Semaan, B. (2009). Repairing Human Infrastructure in War Zones. In th eProceedings of the Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management ISCRAM 2009 (Gothenburg, May 10-13, 2009).
Liu, S. and Palen, L. (2009). Spatiotemporal Mashups: A Survey of Current Tools to Inform Next Generation Crisis Support. Proceedings of the 2009 Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management Conference (ISCRAM 2009), Gothenberg, Sweden (~5000 words).
Hughes, A. and Palen, L. (2009). Twitter Adoption and Use in Mass Convergence and Emergency Events. Proceedings of the 2009 Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management Conference (ISCRAM 2009), Gothenberg, Sweden, (~5000 words)
Liu, S., Palen, L., Sutton, J., Hughes, A., and Vieweg, S. (2009). Citizen Photojournalism During Crisis Events. In Allan, S. and Thorsen, E. (Eds.), Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives. New York: Peter Lang.
Hughes, A., L. Palen, J. Sutton, S. Liu, & S. Vieweg. “Site-Seeing” in Disaster: An Examination of On-Line Social Convergence. Proc. of Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management Conference (ISCRAM) 2008.
Palen, L., and Vieweg, S. (2008). The Emergence of Online Widescale Interaction in Unexpected Events: Assistance, Alliance and Retreat (long paper). In the 2008 ACM Proceedings of Computer Supported Cooperative Work Conference.
Mark, G., Semaan, B. (2008). Resilience in Collaboration: Technology as a Resource for New Patterns of Action. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work CSCW 2008 (San Diego, November 8-12, 2008).
Shklovski, I., Palen, L., and Sutton, J. (2008). Finding Community Through Information and Communication Technology in Disaster Events (long paper). In the 2008 ACM Proceedings of Computer Supported Cooperative Work Conference.
Palen, L. (2008). Online Social Media in Crisis Events (short article). EDUCAUSE Quarterly, vol. 31, no. 3 (July–September 2008).
Sutton, J., Palen, L., and Shklovski, I. (2008). Backchannels on the Front Lines: Emergent Use of Social Media in the 2007 Southern California Fires. Proceedings of the Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management Conference (ISCRAM 2008). *
Liu, S., Palen, L., Sutton, J., Hughes, A, and Vieweg, S. (2008). In Search of the Bigger Picture: The Emergent Role of On-Line Photo-Sharing in Times of Disaster. Proceedings of the Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management Conference (ISCRAM 2008).* (**Tied for best student paper award**)
Hughes, Amanda, Leysia Palen, Jeannette Sutton, Sophia Liu, and Sarah Vieweg. (2008). “Site-Seeing” in Disaster: An Examination of On-Line Social Convergence Proceedings of the Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management Conference (ISCRAM 2008).* (**Tied for best student paper award**)
Vieweg, S., Palen, L., Liu, S., Hughes, A., and Sutton, J. (2008). Collective Intelligence in Disaster: An Examination of the Phenomenon in the Aftermath of the 2007 Virginia Tech Shootings. Proceedings of the Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management Conference (ISCRAM 2008). * (**Tied for best student paper award**)
Palen, L., and Liu, S. (2007). Citizen Communications in Crisis: Anticipating a Future of ICT-Supported Participation. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems CHI 2007, 727-736. Download PDF
Palen, L., Hiltz, S. R., and Liu, S. (2007). Online Forums Supporting Grassroots Participation in Emergency Preparedness and Response.Communications of the ACM, 50 (3) (Mar. 2007): 54-58. Download PDF