Sep 5, 2005

Gave money already? Give an hour of your time right now to the Katrina PeopleFinder Project

David Geilhufe, Jon Lebowsky, Ethan Zuckerman, Donald Lobo, Steven Wright, Kieran Lal and others are coordinating a volunteer effort by open source developers, web designers, online activists and ordinary citizens to create a single database of all the people missing in the aftermath of Katrina that their friends and family can use to connect with them. David writes:

Refugees can search 20 web sites for lost relatives and still miss their entry on the 21st web site. There is a need to combine all the refugee data from big databases like Red Cross, large posting forums like Craigslist and many other sources on the web. The Katrina PeopleFinder Project seeks to create a single repository combining as many sources of refugee data as possible from all over the web without interrupting existing momentum.

We need help for both regular people and software engineers. Everybody is critical to building a central repository of ALL the refugee records we can find on the web. The Social Source Foundation, CivicSpace Labs and Salesforce.com Foundation are coordinating hundreds of people and organizations, including Craigslist and Earthlink.

Please consider giving us just an hour of you your time to do volunteer data entry. The PeopleFinder Project is seeking volunteers in four primary areas:

(1) Creating a technology specification for easily exchanging refugee information. A volunteer effort is working to assist online databases in implementing the specification.

(2) Coordinating volunteers that are writing software that takes information from online databases and putting it into a central database provided by Salesforce.com Foundation.

(3) Organizing a massively parallel volunteer data entry project to enter refugee data posted to online bulletin boards into a central database by hand.

(4) Market the Katrina PeopleFinder Project and recruit volunteers.

I welcome the opportunity to contribute something besides money, and I celebrate the citizens who have come together to do something. It seems like the least we can do to make up for our government's shameful behavior to date.

"Amazing facilitation, inspiring participants and open sharing of knowledge. It's always the highlight of my year."

Courtney Miller, Floatleft
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