Channels ▼

Jack Woehr

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Haiti family reunion effort spawns call to news organizations

January 16, 2010

Passed along by Mark Fest of the Knight Foundation:

chris csikszentmihalyi
Marc Fest
Sat, Jan 16, 2010 at 5:41 PM
CALL TO NEWS ORGANIZATIONS

In the response to the earthquake in Haiti, many organizations worked to create sites where people could find one another, or least information about their loved ones.  This excellent idea has been undermined by its success:  within 24 hours it became clear that there were too many places where people were putting information, and each site is a silo.  The site Haitianquake.com began "scraping" -- mechanically aggregating -- the most popular such sites, like http://koneksyon.com and American Red Cross Family Links.  As people within the IT community recognized the danger of too many unconnected sites, and Google became interested in helping, they turned their work over to Google which is now running an embeddable application at:
http://haiticrisis.appspot.com/

We recognize that many newspapers have put precious resources into developing a people-finder system.  We nonetheless urge them to make their data available to the Google project, and standardize on the Google widget.  Doing so will greatly increase the number of successful reunions.  Data from the google site is currently available as "dumps" in the standard PFIF format (on this page), and an API is being developed, and licensed through Creative Commons.  I am not affiliated with Google -- indeed, this is a volunteer initiative by some of their engineers -- but this is one case where their reach and capacity can help the most people. 

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the reasoning behind this request.  Any questions about the widget or its functionality or features are best directed to Google.

Christopher P. Csikszentmihalyi.
Director, MIT Center for Future Civic Media
csik@media.mit.edu

Related Reading


More Insights






Currently we allow the following HTML tags in comments:

Single tags

These tags can be used alone and don't need an ending tag.

<br> Defines a single line break

<hr> Defines a horizontal line

Matching tags

These require an ending tag - e.g. <i>italic text</i>

<a> Defines an anchor

<b> Defines bold text

<big> Defines big text

<blockquote> Defines a long quotation

<caption> Defines a table caption

<cite> Defines a citation

<code> Defines computer code text

<em> Defines emphasized text

<fieldset> Defines a border around elements in a form

<h1> This is heading 1

<h2> This is heading 2

<h3> This is heading 3

<h4> This is heading 4

<h5> This is heading 5

<h6> This is heading 6

<i> Defines italic text

<p> Defines a paragraph

<pre> Defines preformatted text

<q> Defines a short quotation

<samp> Defines sample computer code text

<small> Defines small text

<span> Defines a section in a document

<s> Defines strikethrough text

<strike> Defines strikethrough text

<strong> Defines strong text

<sub> Defines subscripted text

<sup> Defines superscripted text

<u> Defines underlined text

Dr. Dobb's encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Dr. Dobb's moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing or spam. Dr. Dobb's further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

 
Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | View the list of supported HTML tags you can use to style comments. | Please read our commenting policy.
 


Video