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Colloquium - Palen

Crisis Informatics
Department of Computer Science
9/3/2009
3:30pm-4:30pm

Today's human-computer interaction researcher needs to consider the nature of computer mediated interaction in different forms of social organization that vary in size, persistence and objective. In an area of work called crisis informatics, my associates and I focus on the matters of information production and dissemination in large-scale emergency situations where temporal dimensions are compressed and social organizations are altered temporarily and sometimes permanently. We address the nature and implications of computer mediated interactions that result from the increasing ubiquity not only of computation but also of civilization placed in the paths of natural hazards.

Crisis informatics addresses socio-technical concerns in large-scale emergency response. Additionally it expands consideration to include not only official responders (who tend to be the focus in policy and technology-focused matters), but also members of the public. It therefore views emergency response as an expanded social system where information is disseminated within and between official and public channels and entities. Crisis informatics wrestles with methodological concerns as it strives to develop new theory and support informed development of information and communications technology (ICT) and policy. Based on results from ethnographic empirical study, we propose a paradigm-shifting perspective: that innovation (both technical and political) for emergencies could greatly benefit by reframing emergency management as a set of socially-distributed information activities that support powerful, parallel, socio-technical processing of problems in times of change and disruption.

In this talk, I will present results from our research on computer mediated interaction from recent disaster and mass convergence events and plans for expansion into a larger, multidisciplinary research and development multidisciplinary effort.

Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
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