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A Fundamentally Confused Document: Situation Reports and the Work of Producing Humanitarian Information

Finn, Megan and Oreglia, Elisa (2016) A Fundamentally Confused Document: Situation Reports and the Work of Producing Humanitarian Information. In: ACM International Conference in Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, 27/02/2016-02/03/2016, San Francisco, CA, USA.

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Abstract

Situation reports, or sitreps, are documents commonly used by UN agencies and humanitarian NGOs involved in emergency response to disseminate information to and from relief workers in the field. This paper analyzes the information labor involved in producing sitreps, and how it can be used to understand why these documents are described by insiders as “fundamentally confused.” Drawing from document analysis and interviews with over one hundred people involved with sitreps, we examine humanitarian information labor in a decentralized, hierarchical, collaborative, political, and competitive work environment. From an empirical perspective, we contribute to CSCW by adding a case study about the situated practice of making humanitarian information, which includes our work as researcher/consultants in reconstructing the details of information gathering and sharing processes in order to improve them. We consider how the work of producing humanitarian information reproduces problematic humanitarian logics.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Items (Paper)
Keywords: crisis Informatics; information labor; invisible work; humanitarianism; information systems;
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Centre for Media Studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Depositing User: Elisa Oreglia
Date Deposited: 31 May 2016 12:46
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/21826

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