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Special Session: Emergency Response Reachback: Cases, Concepts, Processes and Tools

Chair: Steven R. Haynes,
Co-chairs: John M. Carroll,
Steve Sawyer,
School of Information Sciences & Technology, Penn State University

Reachback refers to knowledge-intensive processes and tools that make available to emergency response personnel in the field the full range and depth of an organizationís knowledge assets. For example, a firefighter on-scene at a fire may want to call on the knowledge of all other firefighters at their station, who in turn might need to reach back to subject matter experts (e.g., for hazardous materials) at other stations in the city, or to other state or federal organizations.  This session will explore theories, models, techniques, and tools to inform development of a reachback science for emergency management and crisis response.

Reachback is a type of knowledge management particularly concerned with how distributed assets can be leveraged in response to a critical information need. Emergency responders ìreachbackî to obtain the information they need to make time-critical and potentially consequential decisions as events unfold during crisis response.  Reachback is especially important when emergencies involve hazardous materials, weapons of mass destruction, and other situations that require in-depth, time-sensitive, and specialist knowledge to manage effectively.  The reachback domain presents opportunities to develop and leverage synergies between information and communications technologies and distributed organizations.

A number of tools and underlying technologies are used to support reachback.  These range from standard helpdesk and technical support systems to expertise locators and advanced knowledge mapping representations.  Other relevant technologies include but are not limited to: computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW), information retrieval and collaborative filtering, geographical information systems (GIS), expert systems and intelligent agents, knowledge representation, knowledge tailoring, among many others.

This session is concerned with helping to define and delineate the reachback field.  Submissions are invited that address issues informing the reachback domain including but not limited to the following topics:
Theoretical perspectives informing reachback practices and technology design for emergency management

ï Technologies to facilitate effective reachback in emergency response organizations
ï Knowledge mapping for emergency planning and response: concepts, techniques, and tools
ï Expertise location in crisis situations
ï Empirical studies of emergency management reachback technology and process
ï Case studies in reachback
ï Design of emergency management organizations to facilitate effective reachback
ï Information tailoring in crisis situations
ï Large-scale reachback models and tools for crisis events of national significance

ISCRAM2006, the Third International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management, will take place in Newark, New Jersey, USA, at the New Jersey Institute of Technology from May 14-17 2006.

Important dates
Early Registration opens December 1, 2005 
Paper Submissions January 12, 2006
Review Notifications March 3, 2006
Final Camera-ready Paper* March 17, 2006
Workshops & Doctoral Colloquium May 14, 2006
Main Conference Program May 15-17, 2006
* Full papers 5,000 words; Research in progress, Practitioner Cases 2,500 words

Key Conference Personnel
General Conference Chair: Bartel Van de Walle 
Program Chair: Murray Turoff
Doctoral Colloquium Chair David Mendonca
ISCRAM Society Representative Benny CarlÈ

Institutional Members



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