Our overarching aim is to unite a range of computational techniques with behavioral knowledge of “widescale” computer-mediated interaction—information people generate using social media— in routine and disrupted situations. We are producing a set of applications—all aimed for use by members of the public—that will help people pool on-line information and information sources, coordinated with official sources, to make the most optimal decisions for their circumstances.
Different Hazards, Different Information
Different kinds of mass emergency and disruption require different kinds of information at different times. Some events have warning periods, other do not; some events have short impact, others ensue. Different geographical locations in the disrupted space also require different kinds of information delivery for people there. In addition, reliable peer-generated information sources are emergent—one doesn’t know who they will be until the event happens. Our work will help people assess information source and information content reliability as best as circumstances allow.
Different Roles, Different Information
Our work will be attentive to differences in information needs for different people. People in the midst of a emergency event need critical information, but access to it might be impoverished. This is why we attend to those outside the event as well; they seek information to learn about what is going on, and how to help, and sometimes uniquely provide specialized information services, too.
In sum, we will provide tools and services that allow members of the public to analyze the vast, heterogeneous information that emerges during an emergency event. We will enable the “Everyday Analyst” to find the information they seek in unexpected and uncertain situations. As we prepare tools and services for trial and release, we will describe these efforts here.