Data that Matter: Opportunities in Crisis Informatics Research
Social computing tools can play a remarkable and transformational role in the way society responds to mass emergencies and disasters. By considering the self-organizing features of on-line human interaction, and augmenting that with socio-behavioral knowledge about how people truly respond in disaster, we are better equipped to design for new socio-technical futures. Crisis informatics as a research area addresses socio- technical concerns in large-scale emergency response. 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. In this talk, I will review the state of the art in crisis informatics research, and where future opportunities in computing research lie.
Leysia Palen is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Colorado Boulder, USA. She is also a Full Adjunct Professor at the University of Agder in Norway. Prof. Palen is a leader in the area of crisis informatics, an area she forged with her graduate students and colleagues at Colorado. She conducts empirical research in the interpretivist tradition. However, in the advancing arena of large-scale on-line interaction (the “big data” of crisis response), she adapts quantitative techniques that then allow the application of qualitative methods and the “ethnographic eye” to closely observe and describe social structures in such technology-mediated situations. Prof. Palen is the author of over 70 manuscripts in the areas of human computer interaction, computer supported cooperative work, and crisis informatics. She has been generously funded by the US National Science Foundation, which includes an NSF CAREER award. She is an Associate Editor for the Human Computer Interaction Journal (Taylor and Francis) and for the Computer-Supported Cooperative Work Journal (Springer). At the University of Colorado Boulder, Prof. Palen directs the Project EPIC (Empowering the Public with Information during Crisis) research effort.