SJSU SLIS Instructor to Discuss Crisis Information Needs During Keynote Talk

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Dr. Chris Hagar, an assistant professor at the San José State University School of Library and Information Science, will be a keynote speaker at the Information Architecture Summit to be held April 3-7, 2013, in Baltimore, Md.

During the evening keynote presentation “When Disaster Strikes – Where Do You Turn,” Hagar will talk about some of the socio-cultural challenges in the emerging area of crisis informatics, and the roles information professionals play in crises preparedness and response. Her keynote presentation is scheduled for Friday, April 5 at 5 p.m.

In a recent interview with Information Architecture Summit, Hagar defined crisis informatics, a term she coined to describe “the interconnectedness of people, organizations, information and technology during crises and disasters.”

“Crisis informatics examines the intersecting trajectories of social, technical and information perspectives during the full lifecycle of a crisis — crisis preparation, response, and recovery. It’s a growing field of inquiry that requires integrative and collaborative efforts from many disciplines to achieve effective and efficient disaster preparedness and response,” Hagar explained.

She also talked about the role of digital volunteers, increasingly used by organizations like the Red Cross to collect vital information during crisis situations. For example, she said a digital volunteer may be assigned to collect tweets from people looking for water or other needed items, and direct these tweets to a central source to be aggregated and plotted on a map.

The rise of social media offers more channels for the sharing of information during crises, she said, but it’s important for information professionals to know how to differentiate credible information from rumor.

“Building a system that will help establish credibility to information found in social media is just one way to help improve disaster preparedness and response,” Hagar said. “There are other opportunities for information architects and user experience professionals to get involved that I hope to share.”

The IA Summit is presented annually by the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) and the Information Architecture Institute.

Hagar joined the full-time faculty at the San José State University School of Library and Information Science in fall 2012. She teaches LIBR 285 Research Methods in the fully online Master of Library and Information Science program.

In addition, Hagar is the principal investigator for the Center for Information Research and Innovation (CIRI) project “Restoring a Sense of Community: Overcoming Challenges for Communities to be More Resilient” with Gaston Armour, emergency preparedness coordinator for the state of Illinois.

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