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Title:Post-disaster Information Infrastructure: The 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake
Author(s):Finn, Megan
information infrastructure
information ecologies
social studies of information
sociology of information
Abstract:Government reports and members of the media blame information systems as the culprit of what has been characterized as faulty responses to disasters such as Virginia Tech and Hurricane Katrina. In the process they propose information and communication technologies (ICTs) as solutions to disaster response. Calls for new ICTs following recent American disasters reveal a poor understanding of the socially situated nature of ICTs. Disaster-related research does not expound a sophisticated understanding of ICTs either. As a consequence, information systems are seen as an unproblematic means of informing the right people with the right information at the right time. In my dissertation, I will challenge these simplistic notions of information systems as solutions to disaster response by proposing two case studies of “information environments” from the period following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. I will introduce an analytical framework from the social studies of information which situates information systems in the social environment. The theoretical construct, the “information environment,” is meant to overcome the limitations of studying ICTs from a purely technical perspective.
Issue Date:2008-02-28
Genre:Conference Poster
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-03-09

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