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Finding family and friends in the aftermath of a disaster using federated queries on social networks and websites

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3 Author(s)
Rene Stiegler ; Department of Computer Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL ; Scott Tilley ; Tauhida Parveen

In the aftermath of any major disaster, people are desperate to find information about their family and friends. The Internet has proven an invaluable tool in this quest. Search engines, social networking sites, government websites, non-governmental organizations' (NGO) websites, and citizen volunteer websites have all proven to be valuable resources. The primary problem for people searching for their family and friends is figuring out where to find information. A secondary issue is that the search mechanism must be accessible to all, including novice users more concerned with answering the simple question, “Are you OK?” and less concerned with learning how to use idiosyncratic technology (such as hashtags) facilitating the search. This paper describes a search system called Family and Friends Finder (F3) that provides a federated search against disparate data sources. The system integrates structured data coming from government and NGO websites along with unstructured data coming from social networks. A prototype system was developed for tropical cyclone Yasi with promising results.

Published in:

2011 13th IEEE International Symposium on Web Systems Evolution (WSE)

Date of Conference:

30-30 Sept. 2011