Categories: ISCRAM2008 Conference


5th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management ISCRAM2008
SPECIAL SESSION on Virtual Teams and Virtual Communities in Emergency Preparedness and Response


Virtual or Distributed teams are a prevalent means of managing tasks, from software development through information gathering and scenario exercises to prepare for emergencies, through support of first responders, victims and relief organizations in the response and recovery phases. Online forums have allowed people to cross geographical boundaries that normally constrain the reach of crises to share information and coordinate citizen-led efforts, in addition to any official government and non-governmental websites. This session will emphasize behavioral research studies of users/ members of such sites and groups.

Research Areas

Members of software development teams for EMIS or of disaster response teams are often far-flung, and must collaborate and coordinate efforts across distance, which includes supporting workers who are new to a geographical region and who have different national and/or cultural backgrounds. Disaster planning and response can benefit from deliberate, designed inclusion of technology for better, more efficient coordination across time, space, and organizational boundaries.


Papers are invited that provide data from studies of the use of virtual teams or virtual communities in the design or use of emergency management information systems, with data collection methods ranging from laboratory or field experiments to qualitative case studies Some non-exhaustive examples of topics that could contribute to this session are papers that address the following questions:
What are the problems that occur when virtual or partially distributed teams need to use information technology to coordinate disaster management related tasks, and how can they be resolved?
In regard to virtual communities or forums: What patterns of use of these systems as used for disaster response planning or emergency response now; what problems are occurring; and what role could these sorts of forums have in future disaster preparation and response? How could their efforts be better facilitated? What socio-technical conditions should be in place to make them most beneficial?