The response of the onlne community to the needs of those affected by Hurricane Katrina has been tremendous. Already, projects are springing up across the web to provide aid in a myriad of ways.
And this makes sense: in the immediate term, one of the key challenges Katrina’s aftermath presents is one of information distribution: whether that is connecting refugees with their loved ones, or to match relief groups with those in need. And that is something that the distributed information processing power of the web is exceptionally well suited for.
I’m one of those people developing such projects: first with the Blog for Relief effort and now by working with Hugh Hewitt on a new project to connect groups needing relief with those who can provide it. And yesterday, a thought occurred to me: with so much activity happening to develop so many different tools to help the relief effort, we should all not just be talking to one antoher, but actively trying to work together as efficiently as possible.
To facilitate this communication, I’ve created two mailing lists, as follows:
Katrina Relief Projects
This mailing list is meant to provide a communications mechanism for the vast number of web developers who are creating websites and databases to aid in the relief effort.
Goals of the list include:
- Increasing awareness of projects and their goals
- Connecting developers with others working on similar projects to facilitate coordination and avoid duplication of effort
- Opening discussion on larger-scale collaboration across the community, including the potential for standardized data models and APIs
Katrina Relief Volunteers
This mailing list is meant to provide a mechanism for connecting developers creating databases and websites to aid in the relief effort with volunteers who have the skills needed to assist in such projects.
- If you are a volunteer, post your experience, interests, and skills to the list
- If you are developing a Katrina relief web project and need volunteers, post a description of your need to the list
I sincerely hope that if you are involved with a web relief project, or want to be, you’ll join me in the effort to ensure that we don’t just attack Katrina’s problems with enthusiasm and energy, but also do so in a way that applies the best efficiencies and synergies that the web can provide.
Any questions or suggestions, please e-mail me as always…
Update: Many folks responded to my request yesterday for people with time to do web research. Well, here’s one task I could use some help with: getting the word out about the mailing lists to all the different developers who are creating Katrina relief web projects.
If you’ve got some time on your hands and are willing to help, here’s what I’d ask you do:
– Search the web for Katrina relief projects
– When you find one, identify a contact responsible for the effort and e-mail them a link to this post with a brief explanation (feel free to cut and paste from the post)
– Post a comment here with the URL of the project and indicate who you contacted. DO NOT POST THE ACTUAL EMAIL ADDRESS, because this will expose that e-mail to spam-bots, and that’s rude.
If I can get a few people working on this today, we can cover the web in no time and get this effort moving. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!