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Social Networking, Web Collaboration and e Participation in Crisis and Risk Management

5th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management ISCRAM2008
SPECIAL SESSION on Social Networking, Web Collaboration and e Participation in Crisis and Risk Management

Motivation
Public participation methods, e.g. citizen juries and stakeholder workshops, have been used in societal decision making for more than a decade. Such methods have also been used in the recovery phase of crises, but they are not suited for the urgency required in handling a crisis. With the advent of web-based collaboration tools, social computing and ëweb 2.0í, the inevitable question arises: would web-participation methods enable a wide range of stakeholders and publics to be involved in handling at least some crises? The UK experience of both the 2002 Foot and Mouth crisis indicated that public authorities can miss many potential issues that if addressed early in the crisis management might have had less impact. Whether the 2007 Foot and Mouth outbreak has been better addressed is still to be clarified, but there are already some concerns about the quality of the information and advice available to those affected. Web 2.0 collaboration tools and e-participation methods, well applied, might lead, inter alia, to better formulation of issues and more immediate availability, discussion and clarification of advice.

Research Area

Several areas of research are relevant to these issues. Firstly, there are the technological developments ongoing under the general heading of ëWeb 2.0í: novel means of collaboration and interaction over the web, etc. What systems can be built? Secondly, behavioural and cognitive studies in human computer interaction will have much to say about how different publics and stakeholders will react to web-based information and interactions during the stress of a crisis. Our current understandings of facilitation of group discussion need to transferred to the context of web-collaboration. More applied studies are already developing systems and testing them in simulations. Then again regulators, public authorities and NGOs are already using the web to disseminate information during crisis. How have such systems worked in reality?

Topics

Some non-exhaustive examples of topics that could contribute to this session are:

ï Electronic and web-based brainstorming tools and their potential in such crisis management
ï Human computer interaction aspects of web-participation and their implications for crisis management
ï Facilitation of brainstorming and discussion in web-based participation
ï Risk communication via the web

Click here to download the Special Session Call in PDF format
 

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