Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Information from volunteers

Here's an interesting article about how technology was used to communicate information about the terrorist attacks in Mumbai:


It's very interesting that Wikipedia was used to provide frequently updated information about these attacks. Wikipedia allows numerous volunteers to collaborate on entries, so the potential to collect useful information quickly could be almost unlimited.

The downside of using volunteers, however, is that they may inadvertently help provide useful, real-time information to the terrorists themselves. Wired also has an article about how the terrorists used different gadgets to see how the world was responding to them and changed what they were doing:


I think that the websites of large local newspapers will still be the best place to look for (scrutinized) information from local residents, though unfortunately, not all may be set up to do that. (The Marin Independent Journal, for example, didn't do that during such calamities as the massive oil spill last year, though the San Francisco Chronicle did.) Web sites of television stations unfortunately tend to use uncaptioned videos without transcripts, so they're not as helpful at communicating accessible emergency information on their web sites for people with hearing loss or people who aren't native speakers of English.

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