Friday, September 30, 2005

NetSquared | A project of TechSoup

With Chris Locke as host, the upcoming NetSquared online mashup culmnating in a F2F in the Bay Area in April 2006 will be a doosie. A number of my friends (hi Marnie and Alex) appear to be involved as staff and a lot of cool folks as advisors, so these are good signs. Keep an eye on this one if you are a person who works with/cares about non profits and how technology can help them achieve their missions!

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Emily Chang is Big into Web 2.0

Emily Chang - eHub:
"eHub is a constantly updated list of web applications, services, resources, blogs or sites with a focus on next generation web (web 2.0), social software, blogging, Ajax, Ruby on Rails, location mapping, open source, folksonomy, design and digital media sharing."
Have you ever tried to keep track of something? I realized in my Community Indicators project of this summer that once you commit to spotting some type of thing, it can run all over your life. Like when you get pregnant, all of a sudden you start noticing all the pregnant women.

When I saw Emily's site, my eyes rolled back into my head. If you look through a certain lens, there is so much than can be labeled as part of Web 2.0. It's like signs of life. They are everywhere.


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qarrtsiluni - what is waiting to burst forth

Via Velveteen Rabbit comes a link to this quietly poetic blog, qarrtsiluni. I am sitting here loving the explanation of the world.
"The title comes from an Alaskan Inuit word for sitting together in the darkness, waiting for something to burst."
How evocative!

The idea of sitting together in darkness reminds me of a discussion some of us were having about the value of space and silence in online conversations. Breathing room. Time to allow us to synch our rhythms of thinking and writing, the fast slowing to breathe at a similar pace as the more deliberate. The opportunity of silence. Spaciousness.

This is hard to come by in a multi=tasking, always on, Web 2.0 world. I think I shall turn the computer off early tonight... and think about what in my life wants to burst forth from the darkness.

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Love and Warm Electronic Communications

It's Friday. Time for some love; some warm, squishy, sentimental posts that ooze with humanity. Wendy and Joey got married last week, and their Homily was written and delivered by the Reverend AKMA, a blogger in his own right. The wedding and it's whole evolution is captured on their blog, but I loved the homily. I loved it so much, I've got to copy in all in here.(But go read the whole dang blog. It's wonderful. Homily
(written & delivered by Reverend AKMA)
“The Internet is what brings us together, tonight.”

The next time somebody tells you that technology will destroy our civilization because nobody actually talks to other people any more, remind them about this evening. Although Joey and Wendy didn’t exactly meet online, the Internet played a vital role, several vital roles, in bringing this holy occasion about. I
became acquainted with Joey online; Wendy was working at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and the three of us converged on the same place at the same moment as part of a conference on blogging. If – as we are taught – marriages are determined in heaven before we are born, then God has been
clearly been an early adopter of cutting-edge social software, for which we all have much reason to give thanks over and above the expected celebration of a marriage.

Indeed, there’s a lot that’s “over and above,” a lot that’s excessive about this service. We surround the relatively simple human gesture of two people getting together with a remarkable assortment of elaborate ceremonies. After all, you don’t need a huppah to move in together; you don’t need candles to register your names with City Hall. Any old pop singer can marry any her childhood boyfriend with the approval of a bureaucrat, and fifty-five hours later she can unmarry him. No ninongs, no ninangs, no veil, no ketubah, no big deal.

It will not be so with us. Tonight, we indulge a proclivity toward excess; we ritualize extravagance. Tonight we observe the extraordinary ceremonies of two somewhat different families’ traditions, we multiply them by each another, because the excess in our behavior signifies something greater, something grander, than a pop tart’s legalized dalliance or a paper-pusher’s authenticating stamp. Mere change-of-address forms and legalities fall far short of substantiating the promises that Joey and Wendy have made before us here. This is a love that exemplifies the words from the Song of Solomon:

Set me as a seal on your heart,
as a seal on your arm;
for love is strong as death.
Jealousy is as cruel as Sheol.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a very flame of the Lord.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.

Tonight, Wendy and Joey bind their lives together with a bond stronger than the human will, strong even as death itself, trusting that the God who chose them for one another will sustain their love through storm and danger, through tedium and trial.

Their love, their covenant exceeds the bounds that a mortal vocabulary can define. So when we gather tonight, we express this pledge, this risk, with fire, we enact it with cord and veil, we celebrate it with ceremony and prayer. For in the presence of the offer and acceptance of utmost intimacy, we recognize a power in whose image we are made, we recognize the invitation that blesses us without coercion, we recognize the love that possesses us in our offering, sparks from a very flame of the Lord, a burning ring of fire from a holy mountain.

Through the loosely-joined connections of technological acquaintance, God has wrought the tightest and most glorious of unities. Tonight our extravagant celebration, feasting, music and dance, will light the heavens with our joy and thanksgiving for these our friends, our children, the newest and most wonderful wife and husband you could find anywhere – on the earth or online.

With joy in our hearts, we pray that God bless you, Joey and Wendy, and may you flourish in peace, joy, and prosperity forever.
Yes, at times, the internet is what brings us together. I am grateful.

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Insights from the Houston Hurricane Disaster Recovery Center

Just your typical blog... nothing to see here - Photos of the closed Disaster Recovery Center: "
The Disaster Recovery center opened then closed today, after all places with long lines and valuable services had been closed for 9 days, while the 14-day hotel vouchers that they used to clear out most of the shelters become due to expire (there can be extensions on them, but I don't think most folks know that). The Rita evacuees were put at this center, too - so they just had their first day of standing in line and being turned away."

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Another Web 2.0 mememap overview

Oh, it keeps going. Yeah! []: Web 2.0 mememap overview


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John Hagel: What is Web 2.0?

(Loooong post warning...)

Well, if the Blogoposium1 is rolling, I might as well roll into it. I have some love for the topic, so here are some captured words others have written about Web 2.0 that are helping me make a little sense. A mesh-up, if you please!

John Hagel's definition hit my radar today via Elearningpost.
"...Web 2.0 ultimately refers to “an emerging network-centric platform to support distributed, collaborative and cumulative creation by its users.” "
I'm paying attention. The phrase "collaborative and cumulative creation by it's users" rings a bell. Hagel goes on to describe Web 2.0 via 10 elements, all worth quoting.
Platform. Platform is an important concept because it suggests a foundation that is meant to be built upon rather than self-contained.

Emerging. It is emerging because it supports extensions to itself, facilitating a bootstrapping process to create very complex functionality from very simple building blocks. Web 2.0 is far from a finished product, it is a rapidly evolving platform.

Network-centric. In contrast to other technology platforms like PCs or mainframes, it is not a standalone platform, but instead Web 2.0 is built upon an open network, making it pervasive, extending across the entire globe. As a network-centric platform, it is device-independent – it is meant to be accessed by devices of all kinds, ranging from PCs and mobile phones to RFID tags and bio-sensor devices.

Creation. The ultimate purpose and significance of the platform is to support creation, not just communication or participation in sharing of interests. This is what makes it truly distinctive relative to previous generations of networks. We’re also not just talking about creation of media or digital products and services – this platform is becoming central to the creation of a broad range of physical products as well.

Users. Rather than viewing creation as a highly specialized activity, this platform encourages users of all types to become involved in the creation process. The well-established boundaries between producers and consumers and professionals and amateurs are rapidly eroding.

Distributed. Because it is pervasive, Web 2.0 facilitates distributed creation – it doesn’t matter where the individuals or communities reside, they can access the platform.

Collaboration. Because it is built upon a network, it also enhances the potential for collaboration. We are not talking about isolated nodes of creation, but instead the ability for individuals and communities to connect together in the creative process in ways that were never possible before.

Cumulative. Perhaps the most important aspect of this platform is that it encourages cumulative creation. This stems from the modularity that is a key design principle of Web 2.0 and it has profound implications for creative activity. It means that wherever and whenever creative activity occurs, it can be appropriated and built upon by others, further strengthening the bootstrapping process. Since what is being created is meant to be shared, it becomes less and less useful to think of the output as products and much more important to view the output as services that in turn support the creation of other services.
That cumulative word. I like it. It is helping me see patterns where I only had a quiver of an instinct in terms of my work in online interaction and collaboration. Lots of good stuff here to chew on.

danah boyd wrote 2 posts (here and here) that really helped me. danah is looking at implications like...
I know a lot of folks who don't want to engage because of the hype. (It's funny - business gets energized by hype; academia gets cynical.) For me, i think that everyone who cares about the next 5 years of technological innovation and techno-social culture needs to be involved and help move the big ship in a positive direction. Otherwise, it will collapse in the hands of business rather than pursuing its potential to affect people's lives for the better.
Web2.0 requires giving up control and ownership of information; information is meaningless to someone else if they can't repurpose it to make sense of it in their context. It is for this reason that technology is not enough - there will be political features of Web2.0 as technological development and cultural desires run head-on against legislation and political support of old skool information organizations. This is why IP and copyright issues are also critical to Web2.0.

Web2.0 also requires keeping local cultural values consciously present at all times. There is a great potential to be problematically disruptive, to destroy local culture while trying to support it. We all have a tendency to build our needs into technology but the value of Web2.0 is to allow everyone to build their needs into the technology, not just those doing the building. Trampling culture would be devastating.
As a person who works globally, attention to these issues is critical. CRITICAL! (yes, I am shouting)

Of course, there are other emerging definitions and even some images (Yay, images -- that's part of the language thing in terms of communicating ideas. More images!) I like Tim O'Reilly's because of his image.

It just dawned on me that my way of learning about Web 2.0 is VERY Web 2.0. How's that for meta!


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New Forms of "Gathering" - Blogoposium"

I love invention. Ken Yarmosh is mashing/meshing up a way to codify an informal form that has emerged across blogs for sometime: a shared focus over a certain period of time. Blogoposisum #1 is about Communicating the Ideas behind ‘Web 2.0′.

Now I have been trying to wrap my head around this Web 2.0 stuff -- from a non-first-adopter perspective. In other words, how to talk about it to my clients, colleagues, friends and maybe even my family (at least my semi-geeky son. We don't have a lot of geeky genes in our family.)

In the moment we move to a language where more people can understand what we are talking about, we influence change. Gladwell talked about the tipping point. For me language is a key point of that phenomenon. So I want to dig into the 2.0 stuff. My antennae sniff something interesting about change in it.

But first, this post is about new forms. In this case, a blogoposium. I had to look back to the definition of one of the root words, symposium, to start my thinking.A Google search gave me a few goodies:

A public presentation in which several people present prepared speeches on different aspects of the same topic.

Drinking-parties in Ancient Greece where the guests reclined on couches, and were crowned with garlands of flowers.

A drinking party that usually included entertainment and conversation; for an example, see Boston 01.8022 (image); also the title of a text by Plato in which various characters - including Socrates, Aristophanes and Alcibiades - discuss love.

Meeting of a number of experts in a particular field at which papers are presented by specialists on particular subjects and discussed with a view to making recommendations concerning the problems under discussion.

a meeting or conference for the public discussion of some topic especially one in which the participants form an audience and make presentations

The Symposium is a Socratic dialogue by Plato. The Symposium is one of the most controversial of Plato's dialogues.

# Originally, the term symposium referred to a drinking party; the Greek verb sympotein means "to drink together". The term has since come to refer to any academic conference, irrespective of drinking. We have literary depictions of symposia in the sympotic elegies of Theognis of Megara, as well as in two Socratic dialogues, Plato's Symposium and Xenophon's Symposium.

Key words here. Public. Presentation. Drinking. Party. Experts. Specialists. The only one that really talks about interchange or dialoge is the reference to Socrates. And that was about love.

Of course blog is the medium. So I think I shall focus on that last word, love.

What happens when we get together and talk about things we care about deeply. Things we love. What changes? With that be part of a Blogoposium on Web 2.0? Is that a measure of what we can bring when we blog collaboratively across our little domains and piles of words?


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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Live Conference Wiki-ing - Complete with gestures

Take a peek at this conference wiki where participants are live wiki-ing. I love it - complete with narrative on gestures and non verbals. Lovely job!Internal And External Context - OpenContentWIki
: "R: And here we are, yet again. And everyone's even on time tonight!

(General chuckles)

S: And apparently there are going to be some visuals tonight? (Gestures to a computer and projector on the conference room table)

R: We've been talking about context and how important context is for a while now, but we have yet to really talk about context specifically.

O: Oh, good! I've been looking forward to this for a while now.

C: Yea.

V: We've said that more context can make instruction more effective. We've also said that more context can get in the way of reusability. Just what is context?

R: I have some ideas on the topic, of course, but I don't want this to turn into a lecture.

D: There's little of danger of that happening. (General laughter) So go on."

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Mashing or Meshing?

ChiefTech has an interesting post about the recent Economist article on "Mash ups."
"If you're interested in social software, then the idea of 'mashing' or 'mash-up' is an important concept to understand. The Economist provides an introduction and discussion of the future direction in social software mashing. They explain mashing as:

'The term mash-up is borrowed from the world of music, where it refers to the unauthorised combination of the vocal from one song with the musical backing of another, usually from a completely different genre. Web mash-ups do the same sort of thing, combining websites to produce useful hybrid sites and illustrating the internet's underlying philosophy: that open standards allow and promote unexpected forms of innovation.'

I've mentioned a number of examples of social software mash-ups on this blog, including:

* The Katrine Information Map
* Foundcity"
It seems to me that this is actually a manifestation of MESHING, of finding bridge points between disparate pieces to make a new "sense" of something.

In fact, this might be a very early community indicator, as mash/meshes point out areas of shared interest.

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Virtual Communities Conference Cancelled

Notice something missing on this page? Virtual Communities Conference. The 2005 conference scheduled for November has been cancelled. I'm totally bummed. I was using it as an excuse to go to London and see many of my online friends. (I was a speaker.) I got the email today telling me it was cancelled for lack of registrations at 6 weeks out. I reflected that this was the last of the "online community" conferences that I knew of, and it just died. Plotzed! Kaput!

It is ironic, because I've seen a healthy resurgence of interest in and use of online groups and communities, but in a sense quite different from the scene which sprouted all these conferences in the first place. The field has matured in very interesting ways.

Now, where are we practioners going to gather? Should we create a conference? I'll help organize one here in Seattle. Anyone want to help? Sponsors? We need a place to come together. Seriously.

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JotSpot Live - Another cool shared writing tool?

I haven't got to play with it yet (because you can't play alone in this case!) but a couple of folks have pointed to the public beta of JotSpot Live. The site says

* Everyone types on the same web page"
* End "versionitis" — take one set of notes
* See changes as they happen
* Publish instantly — stop e-mailing documents
* Everything's stored securely on the web

JotSpot Live allows you, your colleagues or clients to take notes together on the same web page at the same time. Imagine everyone simultaneously typing and editing the same Microsoft Word document and you'll get the idea. Get started now — Sign up for free
I love all these new tools that, for me, feel rooted in wikis, but are simpler and use conventions that non-geeks have learned through word processors. Now I know that may not be the best way or thing to learn, but that's the experience reality for second-wavers. So why not make it work, eh?


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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

eLearn: Feature Article

Via OlDaily, a useful piece for those in the US who teach online and bring in guests. Take a read if this is you! "Student Privacy Issues, Ethics, and Solving the
Guest Lecturer Dilemma in Online Courses"
In an era where our privacy seems to be slowly dwindling—when our email can be viewed by our employers and cameras sit perched on street corners—some strongholds of privacy do remain. And, perhaps surprisingly, one such stronghold carries over to the online realm. While your face may be on camera and your words in print, your identity remains protected and privileged information. Of interest then is the special situation when an individual enrolls in an online course. For some, it is the very nature of online anonymity that prompts an educational move to online courses.

Many assume that anonymity is a given in the virtual course, but the truth is that there are many levels of anonymity. A teacher/tutor may not know what the student looks like or even the gender of that student, but some things are known, such as the student's name and email address, for instance. (Of course, it is also known that the individual is enrolled in the given course at the given institution!) Through community development and ice-breaking activities, even more may be shared among virtual classroom participants. The sharing of personal information should end with the class community. When a student posts information in a forum, the intent is not that it will be shared with the world. Herein lies a problem for the online instructor.

In the online classroom, student identities are available to those with access to the course, and must remain protected from those outside of it. In the United States, such protection in education is more than just ethical, it legally falls under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). (For an overview of FERPA, see The intent of such laws is not to prohibit educational activity within the course, but unintended consequences that might arise due to the nature of the online environment such as guest lecturers.

When we allow a guest into an online course, he or she may have access to a list of students in the course, potentially violating FERPA. In a face-to-face setting, the guest gets to physically interact with the students; they're generally not given a roster and will not know students' names. However, such information is clearly visible in most online classrooms. In addition, the guest in a face-to-face setting only experiences what happens on any given day. In an online course, however, the guest may have access to the entire history of course discussion; in forums that have nothing to do with the content that guest led or took part in. (Although this second situation would not necessarily be under FERPA provisions and newer course-management systems may begin to make it possible to limit an individual's access to a single forum.)
I had never thought about this. Wow!

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A gem from George on the Connectivism Blog

I am eyeball deep these days writing about tools and online interaction. I keep trying to turn the focus on how tools enable activities. Or how activity should drive tool selection and configuration. As usual, George Siemens has something useful to say:
Connectivism Blog: "Let me state the obvious: the real value of blogs and wikis is not the tool itself. It's what the tool enables. Sadly, many advocates overlook this simple fact.

To continue the over-simplification, it's the equivalent of viewing a hammer as only a means to hit nails. Obviously that is the task at its most basic. But what does it mean? In the case of the hammer, it means we can build a doghouse, a bookshelf, or a house. Until we look past the task and functionality of a tool - to what the tool enables - we largely miss the beauty of why it's so useful.

Over the last several years, my most frustrating, repetitive experience, has been talking about blogs (wikis are even worse). Typically, people are stuck on what blogs do, not what they enable. Most common response: 'Oh, they're like an online diary'. Um, ok. But let's get past that. What do they enable learners to do? They enable learners to connect, to dialogue. 'Yeah, but who has the time - who would actually do that? Many of my learners aren't comfortable posting their thoughts online.' We are all communicators. We'll communicate when we feel a) we have something to say, b) when we have a tool with which to say it, and c) we have a person(s) with whom to dialogue. I've repeated this particularly conversation so often, I feel like Bill Murray in Ground Hog's Day...apparently I still haven't perfected the speech - I'm still going through the motions."


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Monday, September 26, 2005

Writely - The Web Word Processor

I love wikis, but many of the people I work with look at me when I show them a wiki and simple say, "no way." They want wiziwig. They are not first -wave adopters. They don't have time nor the inclination to "figure it out." Unlike some of us, they don't think that's fun!

So I was glad to try the beta of Writely - The Web Word Processor. I think I sort of got in by the back door as I was invited to give some input to a planning document. But I had the need for some shared editing space for another Katrina response project so I am giving it a spin.

So far, I like a lot. I also have some tweaky sort of feedback. Here are the pros and suggestions to date:
  • like the wisiwyg - works really easily, fast and intuitively
  • like the speed... feels like it will work well on dialup and need to try that
  • like some of the "insert" functions but it took me a while to notice them
  • there are some beta features still not implemented -- which naturally makes me curious!
  • It is easy to start new pages, bring in collaborators, etc. I wish you could add a new collaborator and email just that person rather than having to email the whole group. I don't always find everyone "comes in" at the same time
  • I have not tried the publishing features, including the ability to publish to a blogger blog, but see that as a great thing and look forward to playing with it
  • I wish the history could track who did what change. Like when someone deleted a question of mine without an answer. That was frustrating because I could then email that person to ask without making a fuss.
  • Love it that you can save it as a word file. No, wait... it says you can, but that feature doesn't work yet! Tricked ya! (you have to love beta testing)
  • Love that you can get an RSS feed but dang, it sure wasn't obvious. I was looking for some sort of change alert and finally found it tonight. I have yet to see how the feed looks and what kind of information it gives you. I'd love to see a RSS button on each document. One click. Remember, I'm looking for tools that I can use with my NON geeky friends and fellow proto-geeks
  • Instructions still can use a bit of tweaking. I guess that's why they ask for feedback! (voila!)
  • I wonder about the ability to include visuals
  • I wonder about future multilingual interfaces (I work globally so I always have to ask)
  • Free now, but as always, I wonder about the pricing


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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Conference Live Blogging - Yoga!

Last year about this time I was live blogging from the The 2nd International Conference on Appreciative Inquiry. The feedback from the blogging, both on the AI site and on my own blog was amazing. I blogged Northern Voice, SXSW, and Blogher this year, again being some of the most hit blog posts I've ever done, making me understand the value of live blogging. People appreciate it. Susan Mernit is blogging this year from YOGA JOURNAL LIVE at ESTES PARK. It looks as if there is a team, which is critical for both coverage and different perspectives of an event. Some people blog verbatim, others synthesize and link. I wonder if they will be photo blogging as well? I appreciate the varying styles - makes for better coverage.

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Friday, September 23, 2005

Project 800: Katrina Global 800 Help (And Rita too)

Project 800: Katrina Global 800 Help - Home is another kitchen table, bottom up relief effort, this time using people's phones to help connect when the "official" lines of telephone communication are bottlenecked. Here is the info from the site. They are looking to recruite 10,000 volunteers in 10 days.
Goal Focus:
We will create a global 800 service for Katrina/Rita Help
with 10,000 volunteers in 10 days.

Come on America - help out FEMA/Red Cross and let's get 10,000 volunteers on phone to help the 1,000,000 who need our help!

Just Get It Done - started by Project Backpack,, Steve Kantor,

How You Can Help
  1. Dive into project website and just get it done.
  2. Volunteer and join email list of call takers - a Yahoo group.
Vision and Plan - Project 800 - Facts
  • There is a need for a single source of help for 1,000,000 evacuees (1ME).
  • There will be more people with access to phone than access to internet.
  • There is information on internet and wikis that is valuable for 1ME.
  • There is easily 10,000 people who are compassionate, smart and will volunteer 5-50 hours per week to take calls.
  • FEMA and Red Cross need help.� After 20 days they have been unable to scale to answer the unprecedented volume of inbound calls.
  • FEMA and Red Cross will not answer all questions that 1ME will ask.
  • Time is NOT on our side.� We need to act first and plan second.
  • Just get it done.
  • We seek to help and supplement FEMA, Red Cross and other GOV and NGO efforts.
Goal Focus
  • Project 800 will answer all evacuee calls within 5 minutes and provide comfort and answers better than any GOV or NGO effort.
  • Get the word out - send links to Project 800 websites to your social network, post on blogs, add comments to blogs.
  • Volunteer to take calls.
  • Join a topic of the project and take action to get it done.

The Power of Us - Join Us."

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Knowledge Management for Development Journal - New Edition

Vol 1, No 2 (2005) Approaches to promote knowledge sharing in international organisations has "hit the electronic streets" and is available free for download. This edition brings a focus on knowledge sharing.

This edition contains:
  • Approaches to promote knowledge sharing in international organisations by Allison Hewlitt, Doug Horton, Nathan Russell, Simone Staiger-Rivas, Lucie Lamoureux

  • Design of and practical experiences with the Learn@WELL knowledge management module, Jaap Pels, Frank Odhiambo
  • The knowledge sharing approach of the United Nations Development Programme
    Kim Henderson
  • Building bridges between local and global knowledge: new ways of working at the World Health Organisation, Michael Barrett, Bob Fryatt, Geoff Walsham, Somya Joshi

Case Studies
  • Major meetings as entry points for knowledge sharing: a case from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
    Simone Staiger-Rivas, Allison Hewlitt, Doug Horton, Nathan Russell, Gerry Toomey
  • A know-who directory for the CGIAR: what do users think? Mark Winslow
  • The Asian Development Bank’s knowledge management framework Daan Boom
  • A joint donor training approach to knowledge sharing Andreas Jensen

  • Knowledge management at the African Capacity Building Foundation Phineas Kadenge

  • Review of ‘Implementing knowledge strategies: lessons from international development agencies’ Steve Song

  • Gritty lessons and pearls of wisdom: using oral history interviews to draw deep insights from past action, illuminate heritage and catalyse learning Stephanie Colton, Victoria Ward

Community Notes

  • Knowledge management Feng Shui: designing knowledge sharing-friendly office space Marc Steinlin

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anxiety from Victrolica

Originally uploaded by Madge Webb.
I had anxiety this last week sending my youngest off to college. I appreciated checking into vitriolica webb's ite and seeing a similar angst sending her young daughter off to school. But turning down chocolate? OH NO!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Drown in pain or gag on false news

This post from Badgerbag gives a lot of pause for reflection. story from Houston, today
Read this long post by Pheret1 about her Sunday at the Houston shelter. I know that the stories she tells are only a few of the people she talked with today.

I keep thinking about how the Houston Chronicle's domeblog started out honest-sounding, like a real blog, with human, personal reactions; and then it turned into this gross PR thing, not a blog at all. Not honest. Too slick. Like, "let's have a heartwarming story about how great things are going." Rah rah!

The honesty in Pheret's story of her day! Compare to that article the other day about how people are "afraid" to leave the big shelters. Or the commenter on this blog lately who made it sound like the place wasn't chaotic or confusing.
As I have been following blogs since Katrina, I have been thinking about the polarity of raw, torrential pain and the healing balm of kindness and optimism. Too much pain and we go numb. Too much "cheerleading" and we fall into hollow falseness. But both are part of the experience and, in my view, needed. For the most part, blogs have offered both. The kindness of people like Grace and Badgerbag, along with the outrage of Badger and others.

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Some days you have to be proud to be a Dukie

Via the NYT (registration required, this link will age into blankness...)Turned Away by the Guard, They Bluffed Their Way In - New York Times
"Watching the horror unfold on live television, David Hankla and his friends at Duke University felt angry and bewildered.

"It made no sense whatsoever that reporters were getting in and out of New Orleans, but the National Guard couldn't remove those people from the convention center," said Mr. Hankla, 20, a sophomore. "All we knew was that we were sick of being armchair humanitarians and that we intended to help get people out...

So he and two dorm mates, Sonny Byrd and Hans Buder, set out in Mr. Byrd's Hyundai sedan for a road trip and rescue mission...

We felt pretty satisfied that we got involved,' Mr. Hankla said. 'But we all kept talking about how it was possible that three kids in a two-wheel-drive Hyundai were able to move people out of the city and the National Guard wasn't.' "
I had a good giggle to learn they got into the area by copying a press pass at Kinkos. Ingenuity is a key disaster response quality.

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Blogs and Forums in Disaster Response

Hm, and I thought I wasn't going to blog tonight. HA!

This article reinforces the thread of many of my posts since Katrina hit. Ground up connection of people with needs, stories, information can be a powerful response to disasters. My friend Gabriel Shirley said to me yesterday, the sweet spot here is finding how to hold both top down centralized responses AND bottom up distributed responses. And hold the space for them in a way that is very flexible, nimble but with enough connections to faciltiate communication and avoid gaps and too much redundancy. I suspect that some redundancy is really good. Anyway, this article on OJR takes a look at's discussion boards just after Katrina. blogs and forums help save lives after Katrina
"As the water finally starts to recede in New Orleans, the watershed for online journalism has been laid bare. Hurricane Katrina brought forth a mature, multi-layered online response that built on the sense of community after 9/11, the amateur video of the Southeast Asian tsunami disaster and July 7 London bombings, and the on-the-scene blogging of the Iraq War... is known more for its site and its live webcam, but now has become Exhibit A in the importance of the Internet for newspaper companies during a disaster. When the newspaper couldn't possibly be printed or distributed, the news blog became the source for news on hurricane damage and recovery efforts -- including updates from various reporters on the ground and even full columns and news stories.

The blog actually became the paper, and it had to, because the newspaper's readership was in diaspora, spread around the country in shelters and homes of families and friends. The newspaper staff was transformed into citizen journalists, with arts reviewers doing disaster coverage and personal stories running alongside hard-hitting journalism. In a time of tragedy and loss, the raw guts of a news organization were exposed for us to see."

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David Wilcox: Participation is a culture, not a tick box

(For those who are getting this twice in your feed, forgive me. I accidentally hit post when I wanted to save as draft - I was not done. Oi!)

I'm teaching another round of my online facilitation workshop this month and the issue of participation and engagement always is a core conversation. Then today as part of our ongoing "I Don't Know" telephone conference calls, David Wilcox joins us. One of our IDK gang (Dennis) had pointed to this recent article by David which just resonated for me. Participation is a culture, not a tick box:
"I've just caught up with an article by Nick Wilding which elegantly connects three key themes important in participation: developing more participatory organisations; power-holders letting go of control; and adopting an ecological worldview that sees 'a radical inter-connectedness between all things'. In Slow down... go further he warns that for professionals faced with polices for engaging with the public, 'participation could easily become the next thing to do on a check-list in a busy day in a rushed week'.
Participation is about much more than a tick-box. It's about a radical challenge to a culture that isn't working at local, regional, national and planetary scales. A culture that has valued profits over people and planet, and limitless consumption over sustainable relationships between people and places. The emerging, participatory, ecological culture requires that we find the time for community and conviviality. Practically, that means getting together with our friends and colleagues who we can trust to learn together about both doing participation and being participative. It means having the confidence to tell each other stories that matter to us in our job-roles as well as people concerned for people and the planet. This needs some practice. And practice needs good, reflective time and a good, reflective space.
Some of the words in this snippet (and the fuller article - check it out) that stand out are: trust, conviviality, community, stories, PRACTICE.

What is the role of practice in our efforts to become better communicators, better members of community?

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School Walk Out Organized Online - And who is watching?

Ah, we have another community indicator. Mobilization. A bunch of high school students organized a walk out via an online bulletin board system ( When people mobilize, some sort of coherent community is present. When tools make that easier, does that make "commuinity easier?" I'll let that question sit quietly.

But what really caught my eye about this article, Ed-Tech Insider: School Walk Out Organized Online, by Tom Hoffman was his comments.
"With a little bit of persistence (you have to guess at some questions about the school mascot, etc., before you can register as a member of the school community) you can set up an account on the site and check out the student message boards. It is, as a teacher, difficult to read the student comments without making value judgments (or perhaps suspending your value judgments too completely) and simply observing what's going on in the community.

These message boards are, frankly, of no real interest to people outside of the school, but they should be of interest to adults in the school. We badly need some people with serious counseling experience to work up some protocols and train people in schools to use these candid windows into our students, not simply as a security measure, but as a way to better understand the kids sitting in front of us."
I am both fascinated and conflicted. Yes, this community ends up being "public" because anyone can worm their way in. Yes, understanding kids better could improve schools. But what of the stealth tactics? How do we figure out better ways to transparently exist with each other?


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The Snowsuit Effort - I Still Love this Blog

Earlier this year I blogged about the The Snowsuit Effort. Reader Mark Geralds was able to give me more info about the artist, Ryan Keberly, from an article in the Detroit Free Press. Thanks, Mark!

(Oh, and I have a stack of unedited blog posts, but I was determined to get a lot of work done this week. So beware, on Saturday I blog!)

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Monday, September 19, 2005

Northern Voice 2006

I'm putting THIS on my calendar. If you can make it, put it on YOUR calendar. Welcome to Northern Voice 2006 | Northern Voice 2006
"Welcome to Northern Voice 2006! Everyone seemed to dig what we did last year, so we decided to do it again. This year will be a two day conference on Friday, February 10 and Saturday, February 11. The conference once again will be held at UBC Robson Square."

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Word of - Cause and Blog

Word of "Word of Blog is a new and free service that helps you spread the word about things you like, events you care about and worthy causes you want to support.

Bloggers: You can pick and choose any of the ads appearing on this site and display them into your blog or website. Simply copy the HTML code appearing below the ad and paste it where you wish it to appear. The ads have been formatted to fit into most blog columns.

Organizations: If you want to post an ad on this site so that bloggers can start spreading the “word of blog” about you, please go to the “Submit Ad” section."
. I need to tell some non profits I know and love about this!!

[Via Barb]


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Demos - People Make Places

Looks very interesting and for me, has implications for online interaction design:
Demos - Catalogue - People Make Places: "The rise of corporately owned malls... private CCTV security systems... radical demographic and cultural diversity... The dominant urban story of the past 20 years has been of creeping privatisation and social fragmentation resulting in the loss of space for shared experiences between people.

The challenge now is to find a new story that reconnects public, private and civic spaces alike, and can provide the impetus for growing the shared life of our towns and cities. This agenda applies as much to an out-of-town shopping centre as it does to a neighbourhood park.

Based on in-depth studies of three British towns and cities Cardiff, Preston and Swindon, People Make Places explores how the best public spaces are created by people and communities themselves. The book sets out the forms of governance, design principles and everyday uses that can help boost people’s participation in public space and the wider public life of their town or city."

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The Priviledge of "Social Software"

Via danah, this brilliant piece. MORE MORE MORE!! Food for thought as we sit and pontificate on online interaction software, etc.
Anne Galloway | Purse Lip Square Jaw: "In my dissertation, I discuss the prevailing tendency of 'social software' to define 'social' in terms of connected individuals. This privileging of individualism, I argue, not only demonstrates cultural and class biases, but also points at some of the limitations of network models of interaction. To focus on connecting individuals along the lines of shared interests and practices is indeed a type of social interaction, but it shouldn't be confused with public value. Even when artists and designers choose to focus on the 'public' dimensions of 'social' software, they often resurrect the sense of public implied in the 'collective,' a form of anti-structure if you will, and sometimes a remarkably insular and homogenous one at that. In many cases, 'social' software involves technology 'for' the people or technology 'by' the people, but only rarely do the two come together. Network models are uniquely amenable to connecting and maintaining such discrete pieces in part because they manage or control the types of connections that can be made, and so public wifi networks and other open or hackable architectures are never public in the sense of being 'for' and/or 'by' everyone."

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Posting Mailing List Posts on Blogs

The Intuitive Life Business Blog captures some good basic blogging practice ethics. I am in total agreement."Mailing list discussions are not free content for your blog"
"If I encounter a cogent comment in a public venue, I believe that it's acceptable use to excerpt or quote that comment - with credit and a back link - on my own weblog.

If the comment was in a private venue, such as this mailing list, I always privately email the author and request permission to quote them on my weblog.
He goes on to say:
On some of the very best lists I'm involved with there's a written agreement that makes quite explicit the privacy of the discussion with a zero tolerance for mistakes. One list in particular, focused on Internet-based entrepreneurs, is the cornerstone of my digital work in many ways, and it's less than 75 people. I've seen more than one person kicked out of the group for violating this strict community behavioral standard and I appreciate our strict guidelines which foster a terrific sense of openness.
Then there is that lovely gray area -- which is both important, but hard to reference:
I have to admit that I also recognize that inspiration and ideas come from just about anywhere and it's unrealistic to ask permission for everything you encounter, even on private lists. What I'll do, however, is reinvent what someone's saying rather than using the dubious 'A fellow blogger' or similar."
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Blog Meets Conference: Global PR Week Blog

The blog and the conference meet again for this week's Global PR Blog Week 2.0.
"The Global PR Blog Week 2.0 is an online event focused on how new communications technologies are changing public relations and business communication."
There is a TON of interesting articles - both for those focused on the PR craft and for those interested in the application of online media like blogs.

I'm very grateful that the folks at GPRBW have offered Lee LeFever and I to share what we have learned from the March of Dimes Share Your Story site. Our paper is called Surprising Partners: Adding Blogs to an Existing Non-Profit Community. After the conference, I will be blogging this here along with some additional geeky and community minded comments!

I've been light on blogging because I just got back from a March of Dimes meeting where I got to meet 5 of the community leaders from Share. Meeting them was yet another affirmation of the power of community, particularly when the direction and leadership springs from the heart and hands of its members. These women blew me away. Smart, funny, articulate, passionate and FUN!

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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Reflections from the CIO of Louisiana State University

Little did Brian Voss know that his new job would require disaster support. As LSU CIO, Voss recounts how LSU became a disaster relief center and how he, his staff and vendor partners configured to support the largest disaster mobilization on US soil. It is a very interesting read. Check it out. From the Edge of Katrina: An Update and Thoughts on the Future of IT Planning for Disaster Recovery. Thinking about IT's role in disaster recovery is part of the puzzle.

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Update and Correction on Red Cross Hotel Reimbursement Program

It was great to get email from Brackney at the Red Cross - they are reading blogs and getting corrected info out as it changes. Fantastic. Here is the message:
Nancy: Read about the Special Transient Accommodations Program on your website; thanks. Just FYI: the extension is now up to an additional 30 days, not just an additional 14.

One Important note on your website re: Red Cross Hotels:

You state: “If you have already been staying in a hotel, you can submit your receipts to the Red Cross to your local chapter, and they will reimburse you.”

This is untrue, the Red Cross will NOT do that. If someone has paid for any portion of their hotel bill, they may register with FEMA and apply for reimbursement, but the Red Cross is not doing that.

If you could send out that correction, we’d appreciate it.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

More "kitchen help" Katrina activism

People are still missing and disconnected. As this fades off the news cycle, there is still need. Even when we are fatigued.

Another simple, brilliant and often hard task - individual volunteers track down a missing person. All the how to is here: badgerbag: messy, surly, full of books: how to help from home with searching and connecting. Beyond the resources Badger points out, Google now has a meta search and there is the Katrina People Finder project, as does Lycos and Yahoo.

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What is the role of conversation in Katrina Recovery efforts?

Today I had the great fortune to sit in on a telephone call with some of US's leading dialog and deliberation practitioners/leaders. Our conversation was about how a collaborative and united effort by practitioners of a wide variety of participative methodologies might contribute to Katrina relief and recovery. We talked about many things, but from it I immediately wanted to pass along some resources -- some which resonate for those who read this blog and are interested in facilitation.

What are the conversations we are having and should convene that will support relief and recovery?

Short term, for example, what conversations allow people affected by Katrina to express their emotions, vent, and tell their stories (and be listened to)? What processes might be in place to support the helpers as they face things that we are not prepared for? What conversations might help invent new processes for community building and safe, healthy care in large shelters where there may be a culture clash of strict, military protocol and the upward welling of human nurturance and community rebuilding?

Recovery and Rebuilding:
Already New Orlean's mayor has started the process of rebuilding planning. FEMA is awarding contracts. But what about the wishes of the people affected? How can we mobilize conversations NOW that include community members in envisioning the future that is congruent with their dreams, values and aspirations? For example, how can a Gulf Coast town create itself as it wishes to be, not just by what an external planner might think it should be? What are the possible visions and their pros and cons. Tom Atlee has been writing some great stuff about this, mostly via email (I should ask if I can repost here, but it would be great if he posted it to his blog) that is worth shining the "light" on via our blogs.

What Questions Should we Be Asking?
The National Coalition of Dialog and Deliberation has set up a Katrina Crisis - NcddWiki to help us think about what questions might be useful right now. Change will happen. It will happen fast.

Let's ask the right questions.

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Monday, September 12, 2005

Weinberger: Emergency VOIP and real security

Joho the Blog: Emergency VOIP and real security - David pulls together links to folks suggesting and taking action on emergency telephone options, post Katrina. Check it out.

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Libsyn - Free basic podcasting hosting for your Red Cross Donation

It ain't just the kitchen table activism, but board room activism. The media covers the mega support of the big guys and gals, but small businesses can kick in too. Here's just one example:
Libsyn Support Blog: "Free one-year account for $50.00 donation to Red Cross
If you donate $50.00 to the Red Cross Hurrican Katrina relief fund we will give you a 1 year account of the Podcast Basic service. Sign up for a new Podcast Basic account. Submit it, but stop at the payment processing section ( Email us a copy of your donation receipt and we'll active your account for a year.
Is there anyone out there who is willing and able to match every dollar our new libsyn customers are donating?
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Houston Helps - A blog to help mobilize recovery aid in Houston

Houston Helps - another kitchen table example from a Houston blogger who has left his personal blog a bit aside to mobilize to help his new "neighbors!"

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United Houma Nation: Katrina Needs and Response

You know, it is easy to forget the individual community perspectives when you are dealing with such a massive recovery as we are with Katrina. Here is a site that is looking at the very specific needs of the Houma tribe. Once I heard of this, my ignorance came to the forfront. I had not heard of this tribe. So as I think of the Gulf region, I realize I have no clue about the community fabric - which MUST be part of the recovery process.

United Houma Nation
"Hurricane Katrina Information

If you want to help out with the hurricane relief effort, contact the tribal government by e-mail at or by phone at (985) 475-6640. We will provide more information on the extent of the damage to our various communities and relief efforts in the near future."
.Via email I received this:
After talking with Kevin Billiott yesterday, who is with the Inter Tribal Council of La, he told me that the hardest hit of the Nations were the Houma Tribe and referred me to Brenda Dardar, who he said is the Principal Chief of that Tribe. I just got off the phone with Brenda who said that 3,500 members were
displaced and would need everything in the long run. Most were living in the poorest places in New Orleans area. She is now in trying to locate all tribe members. Most tribe members were living in extended family situations. Most of the homes are still under water. And of course they do not know how long it might be before any of them could move back. Most of the people are in some kind of shelters.

Let me repeat this, 3,500 Native Americans need our help. When asked what they needed now, Brenda said, "Number one we need all your prayers, that is first and then perhaps something like Walmart Cards at this time might be very helpful, however in the future everything would be needed from furniture to cleaning supplies, you name it." She also said the only way she has been able to get any information to anyone was thru the various Indian Nations and Indian News. Go figure.

So, please post this e-mail to everyone you know and ask them to also post
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Katrina Feeds - Aggregating Blogs Posting About Katrina

Katrina Feeds helps bring stuff together. That's useful in my perspective. Another distributed, ground-up contribution.

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Burningbird: Change starts at home

There is a fantastically, marvelous comment thread over on Shelly's blog, Burningbird � Change starts at home. Shelly started by pointing out the apparent disconnect between a social software conference in the UK called "Our Social World" and the lack of women speakers.

Shelly gives us another piece in the pattern that exists strongly in the online interaction world. I've been thinking pragmatically about this issue of getting more diversity (in every sense of the word) into conferences. First challenge is finding the people - we know the same group and it is hard to find others. SO things like the Speaker's Wiki that Mary Hodder initiated after Blogher matters. But there is the marketing challenge. (By marketing I mean matching up an event with those who want to attend it and can bear the cost of it - cash, in kind, time, travel, etc.) It is much easier to attract participants with "known" or "marquee" speakers, even if they have been heard before. So how do we market the new voices? How do we open up ourselves to new experiences? How do we blend?

Anyway, the comment thread after Shelly's post is fantastic. The organizers of the conference in question jumped in. People got all heated up. People found points of agreement and disagreement. I'm hoping the next phase will be that people start talking about potential action to help folks like these conference organizers who didn't get the diversity of speakers (and in this, I'm speaking far beyond gender ratio to also getting some new voices as the relatively small set of insiders is getting pretty repetitive - and yes, we still love you guys, but we want to hear other people now.)

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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Four Wheelers Needed in Mississippi

Hurricane Katrina Direct Relief!: "PLEASE SEND RESCUERS A 4-WHEELERTODAY!

From Victoria.

Please find someone to donate/loan 4-wheelers to Jackson Fire Department! These vehicles are essential for search/rescue/recovery.

Please contact me directly:

Many thanks!"

And yes, I took the weekend off from blogging to attend to some other chores. Back tomorrow!

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Friday, September 09, 2005

mymindmaps - a photoset on Flickr

Monica, from Portugal, has this amazing set of photos on Flickr on "mindmaps." Notice that she juxtaposes her (delightful) hand drawn mindmaps from her PhD work with photos from nature that show the same branching structure as maps. Mmmm... fantastico. Gosto muito! Que beleza!

mymindmaps - a photoset on Flickr


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Voices of Katrina - Stories from "Reliant"

Voices of Katrina is a series of short stories of folks in the Huston Dome/Home. They speak for themselves!

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Pregnant women, babies and the story from shelters in LA

Liza Cooper, a March of Dimes neonatal intensive care support angel (I started to say "professional" and it was not the right word) has gone to Louisiana to try and offer direct support to families with babies in the NICUs, pregnant women in shelters at risk for preterm birth and families torn from their babies. She started blogging last night. You have to read this - I'm quoting wide swaths, but check it out. Subscribe. Stories of compassion fuel us. MARCH OF DIMES SUPPORTING NEW ORLEANS NICU FAMILIES
"I have been in Baton Rouge for several days now and am trying very hard to make a difference. There is much work to do, many thousands of folks here, and a great deal of losses to contend with. The grief here is very layered, and includes the loss of the perfect birth experience, sometimes the loss of a child, the loss of family, friends, and the loss of all that makes up a person's concept of 'home'.

Working closely with the dedicated staff of the March of Dimes Baton Rouge Chapter - Capi! - and our brand new March of Dimes NICU Family Support Specialist, Ingrid, to bring comfort, supplies, necessities and a caring voice to families affected by Hurricane Katrina. I have worked as a NICU Social Worker providing Parent Care Kit materials to families in the NICU, telephoning multitudes of parents who are displaced and separated from their precious newborns in the NICU by tremendous distance and economic obstacles. As you can all imagine this is incredibly difficult for parents and we will be trying to alleviate some of the distress this causes by emailing/providing beautiful photographic keepsakes to families who are too far away to be able to sit with and hold their babies. The hospital we are working with, Woman's in Baton Rouge, is offering money to help fund trips to BR to runite families with their infants in the NICU.

Today we brought bags and bags of donated maternity clothes, children's and baby clothes, diapers and other necessities to shelters around Baton Rouge. We were shocked to find beautiful, comfortable, resourced small shelters in churches that had very few residents staying there. Caring, enthusiastic staff desperately want referrals. Instead we found the largest shelter in Baton Rouge with almost 6000 people, teeming with soldiers for security purposes, crowding, children everywhere, sleeping side by side in cots.

It is there that we linked up with some of the prenatal doctors providing healthcare services to the pregnant women here. As you can imagine, we are deeply concerned about the pregnant women here, with multiple risk factors, and under terrible stress and difficult conditions and circumstances. We know they are at high risk for pre-term labor and would like to get them educational infomation, comfortable, clean and new maternity clothes (donated generously by Motherhood Maternity!), caring support, and hopefully facilitation of referral to more nurturing, small and gentle shelters. This will be how we will spend much of our day tomorrow, in addition to time in the NICU and contact with displaced NICU families.

Tonight we returned to the NICU, where we gave families beautiful photographic keepsakes of their newborns. Its a busy time, and it would be easy to devote oneself to this process. A physician told me today that the children in the shelter are so bored and could use volunteers who spend time with them. Guess where Liza will be tomorrow? Definitely spending some time with the kids too, because to me that would just be a treasured experience and the kids are everywhere.

SHARE Care Kits have started to come in to the chapter and we are going to be giving those out too. Thank you for your gracious care. It is so appreciated by us, but will be appreciated by the New Orleans families no end. You are a wonderful 'health care team'.

Its an unbelievable circumstance here in Louisiana (and in Mississippi), and it is strange that the sun still comes out into a perfect blue sky. Flowers and trees are abundant in Baton Rouge and in some moments it is truly hard to believe the tremendous tragedy, sorrow and suffering that happened and is still unfolding only an hour from here.

Life can bring such sadness and injustice, but one thing that gives all of us helping, and all of the families affected, is these bright spots of sunshine - these little babies, tender, sweet, small, sick, or well - bringing to all of us an incredible amount of hope. "

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Katrina Data Project - Central Data Store for Missing & Safe Persons Lists

In the ongoing saga about technology and supporting the "people finding" aspect of recovery comes The Katrina Data Project - Central Data Store for Missing & Safe Persons Lists:
"Our goal is to help existing groups and websites organize safe/missing person's data, providing advanced standardization, matching, and searching capabilities."
This group has also put forth a standard. I wonder how similar (or not) it is to the Katrina People Finder standard?

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Mom's Rule: Direct Katrina Relief

I have to say, moms are amazing. Maybe we need a mom in charge of FEMA. Grace, of "I Am Dr. Laura's Worst Nightmare" blog fame wanted to act to help those affected by Katrina. But what to do?

She found a super-woman on the ground in Mississippi. Called her up... how can I help? Turns out super woman needs someone to help organize while she delivers things to shelters. Victoria (the super woman) has recognized there are specific needs at specific shelters that aren't getting met as supplies are backed up in larger relief centers. So Victoria is getting specific stuff to specific shelters. But she needed some help getting the precise word out.

So Grace started a blog to coordinate. People are updated with what needs to be sent where and how. So if you want to pack a box tomorrow, this blog can tell you where to send it and which delivery services will get it where it needs to go. Down to the tents that people are living in. FANFRICKENTASTIC.

FEMA, are you watching and learning? Disasters ask us to improvise in shifting situations. Come with your skills and heart, but be prepared to change your game plan. And bring along an organized person to help! Think what Victoria and Grace could do if they ran the whole shebang!

Check out Hurricane Katrina Direct Relief!. And while you are there, think about what you can do.

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Read This: A tech volunteer in Houston

I met badgerbag at Blogher. Full - of - life. Kickass. Well, that life continues to pour out of her blog as she journals her experiences volunteering for the tech efforts in the Houston dome/home. Read the last few days. Taste it. Feel it.

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Interactive events based on large group interventions

Yet another one from Martin Leith. I actually think I blogged this before, but as we see more and more hand wringing around Katrina and the need for fast, emergent responses, looking at large group intervention methods might be something to keep in mind. Interactive events based on large group interventions
"The term “large group intervention” was invented in the early 1990s by Billie T. Alban and Barbara Benedict Bunker, two US-based organisational consultants and academics.

A large group intervention is a large scale collaborative meeting or event taking place over one, two or three days. It enables members of diverse stakeholder groups to get together, often in large numbers (12 to 1000 or more participants) and with widely-differing needs and interests, to discuss issues of heartfelt concern, share ideas, pool their knowledge and develop plans for concerted action.

LGIs are particularly effective when complex or conflict-ridden issues must be resolved very quickly, and when people need to work together as equals to decide how they will bring something new into being or bring about a mutually-desired change.

Large group interventions are typically convened to determine a shared vision of the future, craft a new strategy, agree how to implement an existing strategy, solve a complex problem, rethink organisational structure or ways of working, quickly develop a new product, or reinvent the customer experience. They are also a fast and powerful way to create organisation-brand alignment."

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Formatting images for ...uh... the less HTML literate

I'm one of those dangerous people. I know enough technology so my non tech friends think I'm geeky, but any geek looks at me and knows - NOPE, she isn't a geek! So I deeply appreciate little tools that make my life easier, like this Tryit Editor v1.4. It helps you format images in your text. A boon for bloggers!

[via Lee]

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The definitive collection of idea generation methods

Martin Leith gifts us with a page full of idea generation methods, a treasure trove for facilitators and team leaders. The definitive collection of idea generation methods
"This website lists and explains every idea generation method I've encountered during the past 15 years. It is the result of extensive research; my many sources include books, management journals, websites, academics, consultants and colleagues.

The methods have been drawn not just from the worlds of creative problem solving and innovation, but also from other worlds such as organisational change, strategic planning, psychotherapy, the new sciences and the creative arts.

The methods are listed below. Each is linked to a description, and in some cases you will find full instructions for using the method to generate ideas."
Thanks, Martin!

[via eLearningpost]


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The Babies in Katrina's Path

I am the community host for the March of Dimes "Share Your Story" online community for parents of babies who have had to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). It has been amazing to see this online community mobilize to create NICU care kits for the Gulf region.

Now the March of Dimes has announced their organizational response. March of Dimes and the Tiniest Victims
In response to the devasting hurricane in the Gulf Coast, the March of Dimes is marshalling our nationwide network of chapters and volunteers to meet the immediate and ongoing needs of pregnant women and babies imperiled by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, especially sick and extremely fragile premature babies...

Pregnant women and infants are in desperate need of lifesaving help and support in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The March of Dimes is committed to raising $5 million to meet the immediate and sustained needs of these mothers and babies. You can help by making a donation to the March of Dimes Hurricane Assistance Fund that can be used in the areas of greatest need. Donations can be made to the March of Dimes by visiting its Web site at Through the Web site, you may also donate directly to the Louisiana or Mississippi chapter or any chapter you choose.
If you haven't made a donation for Katrina relief yet, consider the March of Dimes.

If you want more information, see these pages:
What will be needed
* an expected rise in the number of babies born prematurely, who will require specialized NICUs, equipment and care;
* a potentially large increase in the number of births in towns and cities such as Baton Rouge and Jackson, Mississippi that are housing evacuees, putting strain on existing facilities and services;
* organizing and deploying more outreach workers and trained health professionals to provide prenatal care and counseling for displaced pregnant women;
* updated information for pregnant women and families on available services as situations change;
* multivitamins with folic acid for women of childbearing age and pregnant women to reduce the risk of birth defects;
* purchasing infant and child vaccinations for shelters and clinics.

More details...

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Internet access for Katrina's victims

Just passing on a few more items. My capacity for analysis is tired. :-)

NewsForge | Internet access for Katrina's victims:
"Hurricane Katrina has left individuals and families with urgent needs, and relief agencies will work hard to prepare food, clothing, and shelter for them. However, a huge number will be unable to return to their homes for weeks or even months. Free, readily available public access to the Internet can provide a crucial lifeline for them during this time.

Ultimately, the goal is to create the tools for immediate volunteer efforts to place public web stations in accessible areas after any major disaster, anywhere in the world. Rather than needing to be coordinated centrally, this effort can be undertaken at the grass-roots level by individuals in affected areas."
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And now something for pure pleasure...

I know the expression is "from the mouths of babes." But I have to say, I love "from the blogs of moms!" BOB-ET THE BUILDER CAME TO MY HOUSE TODAY!". I especially loved the "Lieutenant Goddess of Early Rising Mothers!!!"


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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Some More Katrina Blogs and Sites

I'm trying not to overwhelm you or me with Katrina, but I feel compelled to pass along more useful blogging responses.

  • This one, Technology For All --- We empower communities! has temporarily become a vehicle to report from and mobilize resources for the "Astrodome Community Technology Center," in Houston, home to Gulf Coast residents for now. The first emphasis is on connecting people to their loved ones -- a definite act of community building.
  • Katrina Aftermath Blog - This second blog is an aggregate blog bringing a range of snippets and first hand reports through the Digital Divide Network.
  • I can see it in my dreams... | - accounts from a guy who stayed in New Orleans.
  • On this page, Baton Rouge WAFB a heartbreaking video link to "Charmaine Neville: New Orleans Evacuee."
  • Surviving Hurricane Katrina on Yahoo! News Photos
  • Evelyn Rodriguez from a few days ago...
    "In an emergency, think: Cheap. Simple. Ubiquitous.

    Perhaps cellphone SMS messages that go directly to a central wiki that is hosted by an large easy-to-remember-even-if-I-never-imagined-I-would-be-in-a-major-disaster organization whether it is Red Cross or Google?

    What would have been helpful in the tsunami was a central phone number everyone has memorized to call in case of emergencies. I don't know if they have 911 in other countries. After the tsunami, people (those on boats, and high ground) still had cellphones. But no one knew who to call.

  • A nurse with a little bit of attitude - A nurses account at a New Orleans hospital with pictures.
  • Ed Batista: Katrina Online Resources, linking to more blogs and sites. (no need to duplicate more than I already have!)
  • Doc Searls stirring essay on the "War on Error." I'm tempted to quote the whole thing. Ah, what the heck.
    When countries make war, whether against regimes, leaders, behaviors, or belief systems (usually isms), it is always against something other than ourselves.

    As a country we rebounded from 9/11 with a War on Terror. How will we rebound from Katrina, a tragedy the depths of which we have barely begun to plumb?

    9/11 killed thousands in an instant. We also knew quickly who was lost and who wasn't. With Katrina, we're barely beginning to know who's missing and who isn't. Our federal government, near as I can tell, had no plan to match loved ones separated in a disaster. The federal response to Katrina was (and in many ways remains) as disastrous as the hurricane and the flooding that drowned New Orleans. Citizens in numbers beyond counting are still waiting for help. And dying.

    When we drain the drowned districts, we won't bulldoze them, damaged beyond recovery as they may be. Not right away. First we will need to search for the dead, finding hundreds, or perhaps thousands, who died in a nightmare of unrequited longing for help, praying to God for his able children to aid his unable ones.

    Katrina was what we are sure to avoid calling an 'act of God'. Yesterday my eight year old son asked how God could make something like Katrina happen. Not 'let.' Make.

    Good question.

    Ever notice that's how people answer questions they're not prepared to answer? Good Question, they say.

    While we're not answering that one, we will face the question New Orleans' survivors will ask, over and over again. Why weren't we prepared? Why didn't we do more?

    Thus will begin our War on Error.

    Whatever else it causes, this war will change national priorities. Also social and personal ones.

    With nobody but God and ourselves to blame, and with nobody but ourselves to help, we will put people first. And we will do our best to protect our civilization from acts of God for which people must be prepared.

    The next hard question is, Which 'we'? Our federal, state and local governments? Or ourselves? Or both, together, in some new way?

    Back during the last presidential campaign, Phil Windley made a useful distinction between the politics of elections and the politics of governance. The latter, he told me, was what mattered most. In governance, he said, the distinctions between parties are, while important, also irrelevant to the most basic concerns of citizens, which are about making sure the water runs and the roads get fixed.

    Phil also told me about the emerging Net-based ecosystem of governance, in which government organizations were developing fresh and highly symbiotic relationships with Non-Governmental Organizations, or NGOs. In fact, some NGOs were one-person operations — individuals obsessed with, say, auto safety or water quality.

    When the blaming stops and the fixing truly begins, we'll need more than our government organizations to step forward. As citizens, and as groups of citizens, will need to do what government simply can't do.

    Yes, we need bureaucracies. But bureaucracies can't imagine anything. Including predictable acts of God.

    People, on the other hand, can.

    In the War on Error, people will need to take the lead. Governments will need to follow or get out of the way."

  • David Gammel reports on Associations Blogging Katrina
    ."There are a few association blogs (as in formally affiliated with an organization, as opposed to the rabble of association staffers/consultants/writers who blog, me included) who are writing substantially about their members’ experience with and reaction to the Katrina disaster. Here are the ones I have spotted so far. (See the post for the listing).

  • been there: The Clearinghouse for Donations to People Displaced by Katrina, Day Two:
    "Helping people one at a time.By sending donations directly to the families that need them, where they’re living. Right now. That’s the goal. In the last 18 hours, people across the country have pledged to send hundreds of donations immediately and directly, to Katrina victims at their temporary housing. If this is your first time here: we’ve set up a clearinghouse to connect the people who want to make donations with the people in need at their temporary housing.We want to avoid what happened in 9/11, where there was an abundance of donations bottle-necked in distribution centers."

  • Greg Elin create an "experimental Attention Stream for Katrina over the weekend. The feed of tagged posts is being supplied by >>Technorati."

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Comment on Jarvis' Recovery 2.0: A call to convene

Hm, yet another good idea to capture then move forward...

BuzzMachine � Blog Archive � Recovery 2.0: A call to convene:
"Rob Says:
September 6th, 2005 at 12:04 pm

I worked in one of the shelters and I was amazed to see the technology they were using to register evacuees: very simple Excell spreadsheets.

Someone needs to develop an open-source “Evacuation Shelter Operating System”. A single CD or DVD that installs on either a single computer or a network of computers that helps even untrained people get a shelter running and keeps records of evacuees and their progress.

If network connectivity is available, then the software can make use of it, but it must not assume connectivity. It should be able to offer guidelines for setting up a shelter, be able to print name badges for victims and volunteers, be able to print signs for the shelter, have contact information for all government agencies (which can be printed out for volunteers), have logistics and planning functions to estimate food and water needs, have forms for evacuees to fill out with contact and family information (to be made available over the internet, once connectivity is established), and so on.

Often, shelters are set up by volunteers with only sketchy training or even none at all. When you see real pros set up a shelter, you realize that there is much science to it and that doing it right leads to a much better experience for the evacuees.

I don’t think this would be an enourmous effort. It’s really just a web application deployed on the main computer, with other computers interacting with it via web browsers. Gathering and indexing the enormous amount of information it would need to present could take some time, but I’ll bet a lot of that work has already been done.

Imagine the coolness of a Shelter OS that could, with little or no work by the staff, find other Shelter OS’s running elsewhere, trade information with them and start to link up scattered families or automatically bring along medical information and history as an evacuee is moved from shelter to shelter.

We could do this."
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Katrina: IT Technical Assistance Information & Needs

I'm aggregating three notices/requests for assistance. If you or someone you know can help, please contact the person directly. If you are working on a technical assistance project, touch base with these other ones to find areas of coopration and reduction of overlap. Some redundancy is good. Recreating the wheel ain't!

Date: Sat, 03 Sep 2005 19:42:29 -0700
Subject: [drupal-devel] Disaster Relief: Projects we need help with
From: Kieran Lal

Hello, there are several efforts ongoing to provide technical assistance to the Relief Effort. For a general overview, read David Geilhufe blog here:

We have created a Katrina development list which you can subscribe to if you are reading this from a forwarded email:

I see several efforts going on. Let me list them in order of priority as I understand them and then you all can correct me.

1)schema/dictionary for missing person data. Lead Ping Yee and Jon Plax

2)Get an RSS standard. -Jon Plax

3)Identify data sources:
Volunteers needed to move this list:
node/22 to the peoplefinder tag. John Lebowsky and Ethan Zuckerman.

4)We need data: David and Tony Chang: are working on crawlers. Crawlers should post their efforts here:

5)Accomodation matcher. Michael Haggerty is coding away on modifying event finder to help. I have posted a accommodation spec here:

6)Remotely acquired data can be posted over HTTP POST to the New Orleans Network CiviCRM contact database. Dave Greenberg.

7) a Drupal/CivicSpace site with CiviCRM customized as a people finder application.

8)Chris Holland and Josh Kleinpeter are looking for a dedicated crawler that they can point at a list of people sites. If you have a search appliance you can donate some cycles to please contact them.

If you can please post to the katrinadev list and let us know what you can do.


From: []
Sent: Tuesday, September 06, 2005 18:06
Subject: Special Message on Katrina Relief Efforts

Dear ACM Member:

Over the last several days, the destructive effects of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf region of the United States have become distressingly clear. We extend our sympathies to the countless people throughout the area who are experiencing loss and suffering, and to our ACM members in the affected states who have been touched by this tragedy.

The technology community is well-positioned to contribute its particular expertise to the devastation resulting from this storm. If you would like to join in this critical aid effort, we suggest two organizations aimed at applying technology to this urgent situation.

The Wireless Internet Service Providers Organization, known as, is working with the Federal Emergency management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reestablish internal communications and provide connectivity to those affected by Katrina. This organization offers opportunities to volunteer equipment, personnel or supplies, to donate funds, and to provide shelter relief services

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's National Emergency Resource Registry provides opportunities for those interested in donating communications-related expertise or equipment, including laptop or notebook computers and network construction and maintenance equipment.

If you know of any other organizations focusing on technology-related relief efforts that are accepting contributions, please forward this information, and we will post it on the ACM Home Page. For those interested in contributing to those organizations identified by FEMA for support of Katrina relief efforts, they are listed online at

As we reach out to help our fellow citizens in these trying times, we are keenly

aware of the strength of our community, the resources we possess, and the salvation that comes from lending support to those in need. Your comments and feedback to this effort are welcome.


David Patterson


We are preparing to set up a headquarters in the Federal Way area for the sheltering or up to 2,000 Hurricane Katrina evacuees. We are trying to get 15 pc’s donated, with MS Office software, DSL hook-up, and a server to connect them together. The emergency headquarters will be put together in an empty Target warehouse in Federal Way, and we will need an IT specialist would could volunteer their time and expertise to help us with our computer needs. Can you help us?

Crystal Hoobs
Development & Events Specialist
(206) 709-4536 - King County
(360) 377-3761 x13103 - Kitsap County
+American Red Cross
Serving King & Kitsap Counties
TogetherWe Prepare

Seattle Office:
PO Box 3097
Seattle, WA 98114-3097
Phone: (206) 323-2345

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Connecting Web 2.0 and Recovery 2.0

As a small time proto-geek, I really didn't have a handle on what "Web 2.0" meant. Then in my blogreader today I see danah boyd's summary, just in time. I am very interested in the emerging post-Katrina Recovery 2.0 thinking, so getting by head around web 2.0 is a prereq. Here's a bit from . danah's summary of Why Web2.0 Matters: Preparing for Glocalization
Web2.0 is about glocalization, it is about making global information available to local social contexts and giving people the flexibility to find, organize, share and create information in a locally meaningful fashion that is globally accessible. Technology and experience are both critical factors in this process, but they themselves are not Web2.0. Web2.0 is a structural shift in information flow. It is not simply about global->local or 1->many; it is about a constantly shifting, multi-directional complex flow of information with the information evolving as it flows. It is about new network structures that emerge out of global and local structures.

In order for Web2.0 to work, we need to pay attention to how different cultural contexts interpret the technology and support them in their variable interpretations. We need to create flexible infrastructures and build the unexpected connections that will permit creative re-use.

It's important to realize that Web2.0 is not a given - it is possible to fuck it up, especially if power and control get in the way. Web2.0 is a socio-technical problem and it cannot be solved in a technodeterminist way. Technology needs to support social and cultural practices rather than determining culture. Technology is architecture and, thus, the design of it is critical because the decisions made will have dramatic effects. Digital architecture is unburdened by atoms but it is not unburdened by human tendencies for control. We've already seen plenty of digital architects try to control the flexibility of their artifacts rather than allowing them to morph and evolve.

Web2.0 requires giving up control and ownership of information; information is meaningless to someone else if they can't repurpose it to make sense of it in their context. It is for this reason that technology is not enough - there will be political features of Web2.0 as technological development and cultural desires run head-on against legislation and political support of old skool information organizations. This is why IP and copyright issues are also critical to Web2.0.

Web2.0 also requires keeping local cultural values consciously present at all times. There is a great potential to be problematically disruptive, to destroy local culture while trying to support it. We all have a tendency to build our needs into technology but the value of Web2.0 is to allow everyone to build their needs into the technology, not just those doing the building. Trampling culture would be devastating.

For Web2.0 to be successful, technology and policy must follow glocalized needs and desires. This will be a complex and challenging process full of complicated issues as technologists, designers, social scientists and politicos engage in an unknown dance with very different values and pressures. This dance can and probably will disrupt nation-state and institutional structures; these groups will work hard to stop the destruction of their power. Neither China nor the RIAA really wants Web2.0 to happen and folks like them have the potential to really foul it up.

Those who believe that Web2.0 is the way to go must take on the responsibility of focusing on the people first, to keep them and their needs at the forefront of your mind while you design and build, re-design and re-build. Let the technology and business follow the desires and needs of people. Otherwise, Web2.0 could completely collapse or simply become a tool for the maintenance of structural power.
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Recovery 2.0 - Where we might go from here

And so it goes forward. What will I do? What will you do? If you are into some of the Web 2.0 possible solutions (and I'll have a helpful post on what Web 2.0 is from danah boyd in a second for those of us not geeky enough to know), jump in and lend a hand.Recovery 2.0

Our goal is to be ready for the next disaster so people can better use the internet — via any device — to better:

1. share information,

2. report and act on calls for help,

3. coordinate relief,

4. connect the missing,

5. provide connections for such necessities as housing and jobs,

6. match charitable assets to needs,

7. get people connected to these projects - and the world - sooner."

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Learning from Katrina: Internet Responses to Disasters Yi-Tan Call Sept 12

This week when people discuss Katrina, I have a two pronged focus. Continued practical, heart and hand-based action for today's issues, and forward thinking "brain work" for the future. I am heartened to see others generating the same sort of meme. Internet Reponses to Disasters
"Internet Reponses to Disasters
Yi-Tan Weekly Tech Call #50
Monday, September 12, 2005
From the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center through the Asian tsunami and the recent hurricane disaster in New Orleans, Internet communities have evolved increasingly sophisticated and useful response mechanisms. Blogs, wikis, photo-sharing sites and other services have been put to use to improve rescue efforts,help collect relief funds, find missing persons and structure recovery efforts.

Because these responses harness the newest features of the Net around focused, important activities, they are a good barometer of what works on the Net and harbingers of what that might mean for other spheres, such as mainstream media, response agencies, participative design, citizen mobilization and more.

Starting with a review of the relief efforts after disasters from 9/11 to the present and accompanied by friends who participated closely in Net relief efforts, we'll discuss issues such as:

* What have we learned from event to event? How are the responses improving?
* What is missing? What would responders like to do that they can't do yet?
* How is this changing the dynamics of disaster relief?

Our guests for this call will be Dina Mehta and Ed Vielmetti. Please check out (and add to) our Chronology of Net Responses to Disasters? .

As always, an IRC Chat will be available during the call, here."

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Us/Them and Blink

This quote from Inside Ochsner: Overcoming Katrina: Day 8 echoes the conversations we've been having on our every-other-Tuesday "Us/Them" telephone cals. First, the administrator from Ochsner hospital who writes this blog suggested their response was more like Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink" than a command/control approach. They improvised in complex, stressful conditions. There was unimaginable pressure on every staff person and particularly those in leadership.
"Additionally, we met with our team and as the tired faces leave the compassionate and caring new staff arrive. Their lives destroyed, yet they are dedicated to help serve. An anesthesiologist pulled me aside and mentioned that he was speaking with a colleague and relayed that his colleague may leave Ochsner but he will never say it was because of the administration. It is great to hear that in a time of need the 'we' vs. 'them' attitude is stripped away and the core of helping those we work with as well as our patients is paramount...

I would say that government officials should read the book Blink by Malcolm Galdwell. It truly has assisted in decision making during these times and assisted me in my leadership. There is so much fear of making a decision that decisions are "managed-up" versus made and living with the result. Many decisions regarding personnel, supplies and assets are made through a series of request that get handed from one center to another and ultimately a decision made that can not be communicated due to the series of steps. The government would be served by more rapid decision making and greater control at the ground level - it would induce more rapid response and stronger coordination.
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Why there is "Walk" in BlogWalk

There is something magical about taking a walk with a bunch of people with whom you have been conversing and thinking. That was true at last Friday's BlogWalk on "unconferences" and blogs.

A walk together exposes you to new sides of your group mate's perceptions. It opens the mind, reawakens a chair-weary body. Good all around. Kris Krug seems to agree... From his comments on a picture taken on the walk Kris wrote: "i could walk and take pictures with you guys all day. :)"


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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Katrina Shelter -- Listing of Shelter Locations for Hurricane Katrina Victims

Katrina Shelter -- Listing of Shelter Locations for Hurricane Katrina Victims
"Welcome. This site provides an unfiltered database of individuals and groups all over the country who can provide temporary shelter for victims of Hurricane Katrina. We are a volunteer organization trying to coordinate the growing number of homes and shelters being opened to people left homeless and hungry by Katrina."
Beyond the good works, open source coding is at work here. Look at how they have done a visual implementation to help people find housing, post-Katrina. They have mapped their "database on to an aggregate map." They have added "the ability to visualize the capacity of the shelter, whether food is available, as well as if the shelter is Red Cross or FEMA approved!"

Having a roof over our heads is a community indicator for the physical world. Places like KatrinaShelter help weave the online home to the offline.

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Compelling Image

Via flickr, this NOAA image of Hurricane Andrew is compelling. It's not Katrina. It doesn't have to be. It shows both the power of the storm, but reminds us - we are ultimately all one on this earth.

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Another People Finder- Hurricane Katrina "I'm OK" Registry

This one is using phone numbers. I need to find out if they are using the people finder data protocol. - Hurricane Katrina "I'm OK" Registry
Why this registry is different... By using the person's telephone number, you can find out immediately if there is information or not. This allows you to pinpoint a specific person or household. You don't have to comb a bunch of message boards or try different search criteria in a database. Just use the person's phone number, that's it!"

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Hurricane Katrina Missing Persons Search

Via Staci, Yahoo has mobilized their search capacity to help connect missing folk. See Yahoo's Hurricane Katrina Message Boards

Staci wrote:

Yahoo now has a Katrina missing-person search engine that draws results from multiple sites including its own message boards,  ICRC, Craigslist, Gulf Coast News,, Public People Locator, MSNBC, Refugee Connect, Hurricane Help, Castpost Missing Persons, Operation Get-InTouch and CNN.

I knew this was in the works but wasn't sure when it actually would be usable. A big thank you to the people at Yahoo who gave up their holiday to make it work. 

I'll add my thanks, plus do the cool trick Staci did to include the search box in my post!

Yahoo: Search Katrina lists from across the Web

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Recovery 2.0: A call to convene

It is taking me an hour to read all the posts from ad-hoc recovery email lists. (Lots to think about later about how we choose to communicate!). Each leads to the question: what next? How can we do this better in the future? I'll confess, I don't normally follow Jeff Jarvis, but this piece is worth reading -- and all the comments too. BuzzMachine � Blog Archive � Recovery 2.0: A call to convene
"Let’s be honest: The web, too, was not fully prepared for the disaster of Katrina. If we’d truly learned the lessons of the tsunami and even 9/11, there was more we could have done to be ready to help.

I would like to see us convene a meeting to bring together the best of the web — software, hardware, infrastructure, media, money — to start to gather around needs and solutions. Maybe these should be a series of Meetups. Or why not convene a session around Web 2.0?

Call this Recovery 2.0."

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Attention Fellow Bloggers: Tagging for Katrina

After a quick Skype chat last night with Staci looking for some tagging savvy, I sent email to Alex and a few others of our tech/friend circle. By 2am this morning, Alexandra had responded with this great piece on Tagging for Katrina
"The Internet is a crucial tool for people helping in the Katrina recovery, and for Katrina survivors looking for loved ones, food, shelter or other assistance. As the online community has joined the recovery effort, the explosion of online resources has made it harder and harder for people to find what they are looking for.

Tags can help to organize the wealth of online Katrina information so that survivors and supporters can work together more effectively and more quickly. For example, Andy Carvin has set up a Katrina blog that uses the tag hurricanekatrina to pull photos from Flickr.

Here’s a quick guide to how your web site or blog can use tags to make information more accessible, and on how tags can help people find the information they need."
SHARE this information with every blogger blogging about Katrina!

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Monday, September 05, 2005

Editorial Comment

Some people have asked why I have linked to blogs that are politically right, left, or in some outerspace zone as I seek online community responses to Katrina.

Frankly, I'm happy to disagree with my friends on the right till we are both blue in the face. I don't often do that on this blog. I'm happy to be baffled by my friends who don't make any sense at all to me.

But right now I'm much MORE happy to work with them in Katrina Community (re)Building. I don't give a &*^%$ if I disagree with their politics. I have my feelings about blame (they are strong and painful at the moment).

I'm angry. But that isn't where I want to put my energy right now.

Peace out


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Community Building: More Hurricane Related Blogs/Pages

I'm beginning to think that blogs and services like Flickr are going to be key community (re)building tools. They tell stories, the human side, the personal, the local, the specific. Take a look at these as examples. I know hundreds more are sprouting every hour. Is anyone aggregating these in any way?

From "slight clutter" on Flickr - Hurricane Katrina - a photoset on Flickr. These images show us the urgency of community (re)building.

In Exile, "Blogging for New Orleans with Abram Himelstein" - staying in Houston with family. Abram says of himself, "These are other things you should know about me. Until Saturday, I ran The Neighborhood Story Project at John McDonogh Senior High School, on Esplanade Ave. in New Orleans. " This guy is a community builder.

Another Houston Chronicle sponsored blog, the DomeBlog, "Blogging the evacuees at the Astrodome and Convention Center." This one feels more like reporting and less personal storytelling. The latest entry this evening talks about organizing "village like" services around the key evacuee residence centers. Like I said... community building.

Finally, an event-sort-of-related blog with an express goal of keeping the people affected by Katrina in people's view, even after the news cameras go hom. Carnival of Hurricane Relief (CoHR): "The goal of this new blog carnival is to keep the plight of the victims of Katrina in the public’s mind, to encourage continuing and long-term support, and to show progress as it’s made...Posts should be related somehow to encouraging long-term support of relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of the Gulf Coast;" Visibility is part of community (re)building.

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Katrina: The Knitting Bloggers are IN!

I'm trying to start posting some of the good news and good online community stories. A Big Pink Cookie... in Paris reports on a knitting project in Houston for kids as the Fall approaches. Plus they are knitting as fundraisers, collecting handicraft materials to help evacuees pass the time in their temporary dome-home.

See, everyone can do something, and we can bring our diverse talents to the helping-table.


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Katrina's Missing Kids: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has established a database for missing children. The big question remains: how to search across all these databases. Google? MSN Search? Yahoo? We need your brains.


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And now, a smile (because we need them)

Kris Krug tooks some great photos at BlogWalk Seattle last week. I loved this one. We had found an old smashed computer and we were taking pictures of each other with the frame of the monitor. I'm with the camera, shooting back at Kris, with Nick Fink in black and Phil Klein holding the frame. My shot in the other direction of Kris can be found here.


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Eye Of The Storm - Personal Blog from Pass Christian, Mississippi

Eye Of The Storm is from Josh Norman, a photograper from S. Mississippi's Sun Herald. He has been sharing his personal reflections, most recently from Pass Christian Mississippi. (website is currently down)

Happy birthday, Josh. I hope you get a few minutes rest. Beams to you and all those around you.


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Katrina People Finder Volunteer Request Badge

Supporting the people finder effort? Here is a badge for your website to invite others to participate. Close the front and back end with angle brakets:

<a href=""><img src="" title="Katrina" alt="Katrina" /></a></p>

It will look like the button on the top of my right nav bar.


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Hurricane Katrina: Tagging

Just as I start thinking about patterns to bridge online efforts, Staci posts this:
Trust But Verify: Hurricane Katrina: Tagging: "Hurricane Katrina: Tagging

Efforts are underway to harness the vast amount of information being generated about Hurricane Katrina. If you are hosting sites providing critical information, please tag according to your purpose so your site and posts can be identified -- katrina and missing, safe, searching, housing, survivor, food, jobs, volunteer, donate, collect, links, photos, reference, etc. If you see sites that aren't using tags, please encourage it -- not everyone knows what tags are or how to use them -- and/or link to them with the appropiate tags via sites like , furl , MyWeb2.0 Some blogging software converts categories to tags. "Thinking about forward looking tags can be challenging. katrniacommunityrebuilding?

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Stories from the Hurricane Zone

Stories from the ground are emerging in blogs and discussion forums. Here is one. Inside Ochsner: Overcoming Katrina
"Chris O'Connor is the Vice President of Clinical Operations at the Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans. This is one of the few operating hospitals in New Orleans since Katrina hit. Chris has been sending nightly emails detailing his experience at the hospital during this disaster. I am posting them here and encourage you to share this."
This dovetails with some of the good news coming out as some neighbors self-organize. From
"Some people became animals," Vasilioas Tryphonas said Sunday morning as he sipped a hot beer in Johnny White's Sports Bar on Bourbon Street. "We became more civilized."
After a steady dose of TV news which replays the same shocking images, it is amazing how wonderful it is to read the voices of people. Now imagine how people from the area would want to hear each others' voices. What is needed in terms of people sharing their stories with each other, let alone us gawkers from afar?

Food for thought.


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Another Database? Aren't you part of the problem? NO! (with a call to Google)

Worth reposting in entirety both for explanation on non duplication and a call out to volunteers.
Social Source Software: Another Database? Aren't you part of the problem? NO!: "Another Database? Aren't you part of the problem? NO!

The Red Cross has a missing/found persons database. We have identified another 10 databases on the web. Web forums like craigslist are posting missing/found persons information there are probably 25 major ones of those.

We are consolodating all this information from all over the web. Hundreds of volunteers are entering craigslist and other forum entries by hand. 10,000 of them since yesterday.

We have published an open data spec, the PeopleFinder Interchange Format (PFIF), that can facilitate all the various databases syndicating information into a single database.

We are an open and community process working as quickly as possible to get information for individuals impacted by the hurricane. Please Join Us.

Hard core technology volunteers- hackers, Google engineers, super data heads are critical to the effort. Join the hard core techie email list by sending mail to

The hard core techie Wiki with the data standard is at"


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Self Organizing Hurricane Response Efforts - what should we pay attention to?

While people are busy helping pour unstructured data from a variety of sources into the PeopleFinderVolunteer - Katrina Help Wiki, some folks are rightfully asking, how does this jive with or replicate with otherwork, such as the International Red Cross people database? Here is a reply from Jon Lebkowsky, one of the People Finder volunteers. I think this stuff is important to understand.
Red Cross is registering people we found, we're recording data that's unstructured from 1) inquiries from people searching for people who are "lost' and 2) reports of people who are okay. Red Cross might overlap 1 showing people who are okay, but they won't necessarily have specifics on who (relatives, friends etc.) might be looking for those people.
They may well not overlap 2 because those might be folks who never went to the Red Cross for help.

So what we're doing is different, and certainly more meaningful if we can match it with data collected by RC and refugee centers.
Here's another clarifying bit. ThinkNola is doing something complementary and different. From Ed Vielmetti, working on ThinkNola, it is
"going down to the neighborhood or even the block by block level reconnecting people
who have been dispersed. is not primarily a missing-persons-finder as much as it is a community-networks-builder.
These actually dovetail nicely. I also heard on the coordinating email list of ThinkNola that another site has asked to throw their stuff into the ThinkNola. This is the sort of thing I suspect will start happening - individual efforts start pooling. There is another step after this.

If you are good at seeing patterns and high level things, a great volunteer job right now might be to start thinking how these diverse volunteers efforts weave into some sort of networked response.

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Sunday, September 04, 2005 Forum Feeds - ThinkNOLA

The forums at have been overflowing so the team at ThinkNOLA have recreated them as RSS feeds. This should help the volunteers harvest and organize data so folks can find it. Check out the Forum Feeds - ThinkNOLA and then stop by and volunteer to harvest and wiki the information. It may feel a bit confusing at this will get clearer, but lend a hand. We'll all figure it out.


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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Katrina Information Map

Katrina Information Map: "Katrina Information Map - This map is intended for the use of people affected by Hurricane Katrina who have or are trying to find information about the status of specific locations affected by the storm and its aftermath. If you have information about the status of an area that is not yet on the map, please contribute by following the instructions below so that others may get that much needed information."


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Wiki Neighborhood Focus- ThinkNOLA

Looking at helping find people from a true community perspective, Ed Vielmetti pointed me to the neighborhood reporting orientation on the ThinkNOLA site. Here is one neighborhood report, wiki-style: Uptown The Trudge Report - ThinkNOLA. If you have neighborhood reports, of find reports, bring them to this wiki and help fill in the gaps. Just like people are "scraping" lost/found people to try and create a meta database, this site can help aggregate local information.


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Katrina Aftermath: Add a Red Cross Button to Your Blog

If you want to facilitate donations via your blog, you can use this ready made button for Red Cross -- or put one together for you preferred charity. Katrina Aftermath: Add a Red Cross Button to Your Blog.

A related blogger sort of thing - is seeking "Skilled producers who want to work for us on a temporary basis," to help cover Katrina aftermath. Online news professionals interested in helping out are being asked to send e-mail to .
original URL:

I recognize I'm duplicating stuff elsewhere, but it occurred to me that blogs have different networks of readers. At this point, I'd rather risk repetition than miss a gap that might make a difference.


links to this post - Free Katrina Services

Look in the lower right of this page:
Welcome to "CarePages is a free service that helps family and friends easily communicate when it's needed the most.

For those impacted by Hurricane Katrina, we invite you to create a personalized webpage to connect with loved ones."


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Flickr Digest: Missing People

OK, here are two that are using pictures to find/reunite people via Andy Carvin:
Katrina Aftermath: Flickr Digest: Missing People: "Flickr Digest: Missing People
This is a digest of Flickr photos of hurricane victims that are missing. "

Here is how you can use this utility:
Instructions for photographing and documenting hurricane victims

(please circulate widely)

Hi everyone,

For those of you willing to volunteer and photograph evacuees or collect photos of the missing from bulletin boards and websites, here are some instructions.

If you have a account, upload photos and tag them either as:

katrinamissing for missing persons; katrinafound for found persons that were previously missing; or katrinaokay for all evacuees you encounter so their status can be recorded

No matter their status, please include a second tag: katrinapeople. That way we can have a running list of all people encountered.

If you are using a cameraphone to take pictures of people at a shelter, or if you don't have a flickr account, you can use these email addresses to upload them. Each email address is set up to include the appropriate tags automatically.

For Katrina Missing People:

For Katrina Found People (people previously reported missing):

For Katrina Okay People (ie, people who want to let others know they're okay, includes evacuee you can find in person):

Collecting Photos and Data

When taking photos, please try to get a head and shoulder in the best lighting available so people can make out their features in the photograph.

When collecting information from them, please try to get this minimal amount for all three categories:

Full name, including first, middle, last
Permanent address
Current location
Contact information (shelter phone/email/fax, etc)
Full names and descriptions of people they are looking for

Meanwhile, when collecting information about missing people from bulletin boards, the Web or from personal requests from their friends/family, try to collect additional information:

Physical Description
Where were they last scene and when?
What were they wearing?
Contact information of anyone looking for them

Note: If you find children that are separated from parents/guardians, include as much physical descriptive information as you can, as if they were missing.

How to access photos

The public will be able to access the photos on, and hopefully, other databases.

Found People:

Missing People:

Okay People:

For those of you who use RSS, each one of these has a corresponding RSS

Found People RSS

Missing People RSS

Okay People RSS

Lastly, I've set up javascripts that you can insert on any webpage to
display the images as they're posted to Flickr. (See Andy's site for the script)


I'll set up pages on to display all of these photo feeds.

Hopefully this is enough to get volunteers started. So if you have any type of access to an evacuee shelter and a digital camera, please help out.

Special thanks to Lars Torres and Katrin Verclas for helping to get this organized. -andy


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Katrina Aftermath: Peoplefinder data interchange spec & volunteer

More data about coordinating people finding. (Edited at 9:12 pm to add two more links) If you are working on a people finding project or know folks who are, please forward this to them:
Katrina Aftermath: Peoplefinder data interchange spec & volunteer: "Peoplefinder data interchange spec & volunteer

Refugees can go to 20 different websites to find information on their loved ones. We are publishing a spec to facilitate data interchange among sites and that would allow the creation of a central database of most refugee databases on the web. We are also connecting database owners with volunteer programmers that can help implementing the
spec. Special thanks to Ka-Ping Yee. Peoplefinder is a community effort lead by the Social Source Foundation, CivicSpace Labs and Foundation.

The 'official' data exchange format for refugee data is defined here:

If you run a refugee database, please publish your data via RSS in this standard. If you need volunteer programmers to help with implementation IM me at dgeilhufe AT yahoo com.

If you can volunteer to contact refugee databases (Red Cross, Gluf Coast, etc.) and help them implement the standard, please go here:

If can be a lead community organizer of programmers actually implementing the standard for websites, or for efforts to scrape databases, please go here:

Please diseminate this information far and wide."

Also, two more people finder sites (this is getting dizzying)

Salvation Army --

Red Cross 1-877-568-3317

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links to this post Mobile Phone Volunteers

This seems worth circulating... another way to think about options. Please note the request to VirginMobile and Tracphone to pump in free minutes to the affected area codes. Anyone know someone high in those organizations to contact? Use your networks! Missing Persons Forum: "Dear Volunteers,

Phones in New Orleans and especially those with pre-pay phones are running out of minutes, pre-pay represents the poor and especially the youth market. There are many individuals who just want a moment of contact, through any means with loved ones they are seperated from.

Our goal is to provide refugees with comfort by making contact with their loved ones by using our mobile phones with the 504 and affected area codes of refugees.

Pre-pay phones are especially vulnerable here as the actual cards bought in stores to buy more minutes are simply no longer available on store shelves in these areas.

Be very, very careful with how long you talk to people on the phone, get the info you need :

1. Their full names and email addresses if they have one. Both seeker and contacted refugee(open a notepad file and save that.)2. Their location3. If anyone is hurt, how bad, where they are now, their full name.4. Where they plan to go.5. Tell the reufugee you will get back in touch with them.

All we want to do is reassure.Any refugee reporting the need for resucue, that should be sent to the red-cross resuce lists.Go to

So how do we find those that wish to make contact and cannot?

Search google with keywords like, Hurricaine, Katrina, contact, and of course the area code of the Katrina emergency area you are working. Look at craigslist under the 'Katrina' forums. Look on the major news channels, etc ...

REMEMBER, batteries on phones are running LOW, do not keep these people on the phone.

Most important, email the customer service operations of and tracphone and demand free minutes be pumped into the phones for the affected areas. Spike their email servers, let them know we are watching the phone companies for ANY DISASTER PROFITEERING !

Be calm, these people need to hear a calm, concerned voice from their fellow Americans.

Good luck - bless us all,Pat Jack"

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Something We Can Do: Online Folks!

Via Jon Lebkowsky:

A significant problem for refugees is that information on people is
spread all over the web. If I was looking for a loved one, I could search 20 websites and still miss and entry about them. There are a number of technical solutions people are working on right now, but the old fashioned grassroots approach may be best.

Can you spare one hour today and enter missing persons data from forums accross the web into the database at We have people working on importing the major online databases on the web (Red Cross, Gulf Coast News, etc.)in addition to your data entry.

The first thing we need is community leaders that can help coordinate a massively parallel data entry effort so that thousands of volunteers can enter information from message boards across the web without too much duplication of effort.

The thing we need to resolve first is how to coordinate such a significant effort.

Go to where you will be coordinating the volunteer effort.

Please publicize this message far and wide.

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More Katrina Online Resources - Saturday Version

Updated 5:05 pm PDT

Via Barb, another New Orleans blog feeding their experiences out to the world. DirectNIC

Plus here are some links the wonderful commenters have posted, up here in a post where they have more visibility. (Thanks Ed and Anonymous)

Nitpickit Katrina Blogs

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BlogWalk Seattle 2005 - The Poster

BlogWalk Seattle 2005 - The Poster
Originally uploaded by kk+.
It's too early on a Saturday morning to be blogging. Our BlogWalk Seattle was lovely - fantastic people, thoughtful discussion, just the right amount of space and freedom and some great meals sandwiching the whole thing. Towards the end of the day we did a "once round the circle" on important moments in our blogging. While people spoke, I decided to just draw. Then we moved on to a more amorphous conversation and I just kept drawing. Korby, Jia and a few others picked up pens and helped add the final, lush layer.

I'm still too entrenched and distressed about the folks suffering after Katrina and our collective inability to reach and solace them in a timely manner to really process our blogwalk notes and thinking, but this image can be our gift back out to the world today.


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Friday, September 02, 2005 Katrina Missing Persons Forum Missing Persons Forum - as of this morning, nearly 9000 postings working to find people.


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Wired News: Craigslist Versus Katrina

Continuing on the thread of noticing how the online network and it's array of online communities are responding, Wired, chimes in:
Wired News: Craigslist Versus Katrina: "Local community websites have sprung into action to assist hurricane Katrina survivors with everything from blankets to offers of shelter in their homes.

With cell and land-line phones mostly down, the web has emerged as a champion amid the wreckage. E-mail, instant messenger and blogs have proven lifelines for communication.

In relief efforts, too, the internet is proving invaluable, as websites have become hubs for putting badly needed goods and services directly into the hands of people who need them most. Where organizations like the Red Cross discourage anything other than financial donations, sites like craigslist allow people to meet up with victims for face-to-face aid. Craigslist users have flooded the New Orleans site with offers of shelter and comfort.
I don't know who is behind doing a people finding board, but with our name similarity, I just want to send out beams and thanks.

another people finding list from Blessingsonthenet.

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Update on the TLB Blog Relief Campaign

As of 3:30 PDT, there are 1,100 blogs participating, 111 charities recommended and $84,768 in donations. Check it out at Hurricane Katrina: Blog for Relief Day. I suspect the donation amount is higher because some of us missed the instruction to go to the above site and log our contributions. So if you have contributed, but not logged, please go do it.

Friends, this is for SURE a community indicator.

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Hurricane Katrina Survivors - Home

Another survivor finding tool -- Hurricane Katrina Survivors - Home


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Blogday 2005 - #5 a Day Late

TALES FROM THE SCHWEITZER SIDE is another fabulous Share Your Story blog. Donna, mom and blogger, should be noted amongst the great genre of "mommy and daddy bloggers" - bloggers who tell the daily stories of their lives. Plus her pictures are a hoot. Make sure you see the August 17th entry.

As an example of this passion and vibrancy of Share parents (of premature babies and/or and babies who spent time in the NICU) , I offer this snippet from Donna's first entry.
It's amazing to me how much my life has changed and evolved in such a short time. Five years ago, I was ecstatically pregnant with my first child. We had gone through almost two years of fertility treatments (admittedly not long in the world of fertility tx), and couldn't wait to enter the world of parenthood. Who knew that Ryley would let us know from the beginning that it was all going to be on his schedule? Fast forward five years to Ryley, almost 5 years old, Grace, almost 4, and Ethan, 16 months. Grace and Ethan were thankfully both full-termers. I thought I was "over" Ryley's preemiehood. HAH! Just before going out on maternity leave for Ethan, MOD came to my office to do a WalkAmerica presentation. I was asked by the office committee to speak, knowing I'd had a preemie. Just getting ready for that speech was emotionally draining, giving it was a whole other story. I had the shakes so bad when I was done, I had to leave the room. I've told our story to family, friends, co-workers before, but never before had it so strongly hit me, never before had I so completely relived those emotions, the fear, the triumph. I decided then that it was time to start giving back, to get involved in a way I hadn't before. This year, I found SHARE, we walked as a Family Team for the first time in April, and I'm looking forward to more opportunities to get involved. God had put other potential and new preemie parents in my path to help along their way. What a gift out of a struggle.

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More Katrina Resources

For people trying to find people in the Biloxi area: WLOX-TV: Citizen Journalists - Hurricane Katrina

Sara Ford is helping people find people via her blog, one at a time.

Related to finding people Staci Kramer has a call out for ideas for a more organized people finder utility.

Looking towards the next steps with Katrina's Aftermath set up by Andy Carvin

Katrina Aid Yahoo Group

Katrina Help Info is looking for Ham Operators for communications assistance

Just one word of advice: BE CAREFUL ABOUT WHERE YOU DONATE. Stick with charities you know and trust. Don't fall for suspicious email solicitations. And DON'T SEND GOODS! The roads are not passable and no one needs piles of marginal goods.

If you live in an area that is susceptible to natural disaster, have you checked your emergency kit? Do you have one? Has it been touched in years? This is a good time to do those simple things that can make a difference.

More at the OJR tracking wiki...


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