Supporting "everyday analysts" in safety- and time-critical situations

Leysia Palen, Sarah Vieweg, Kenneth Mark Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Citations (Scopus)


The need for quick, timely, and accurate information is critical in emergency events. During mass emergencies, people assemble information from both official and unofficial sources. As digital access expands, people will increasingly incorporate information from digital sources into decision making and assess it against the local circumstances they experience. If we extrapolate what such behavior means for the future, we can see that information management under emergency conditions will need to become increasingly socially distributed. The key question then is how to assess the quality of information: how "good" or "bad" it is; whether it is "misinformation" or "disinformation." Borrowing from Simon's notion of satisficing, the authors argue that people's assessment of information helpfulness and credibility is a function of the "everyday analytic" skills they employ during mass emergencies. To facilitate the critical work of "everyday analysts," we outline a research agenda for the development of analytical support tools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-62
Number of pages11
JournalInformation Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes



  • Citizen response
  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Crisis informatics
  • Disasters
  • Wide-scale interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Information Systems
  • Management Information Systems
  • Political Science and International Relations

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