September 6, 2005

Tagging for Katrina

Nancy White is part of the community of bloggers who are putting their online networks to work in supporting disaster recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Staci Kramer has suggested that tags can assist in this work by helping people find and organize different types of information related to the recovery effort. They e-mailed me to ask for a quck tagging “how to” that could help bloggers and online networkers use tags more effectively. My first crack at this is below; suggestions and improvements are welcomed here or on the wiki version.

Tagging for Katrina

The Internet is a crucial tool for people helping in the Katrina recovery, and for Katrina survivors looking for loved ones, food, shelter or other assistance. As the online community has joined the recovery effort, the explosion of online resources has made it harder and harder for people to find what they are looking for.

Tags can help to organize the wealth of online Katrina information so that survivors and supporters can work together more effectively and more quickly. For example, Andy Carvin has set up a Katrina blog that uses the tag hurricanekatrina to pull photos from Flickr.

Here’s a quick guide to how your web site or blog can use tags to make information more accessible, and on how tags can help people find the information they need.

What are tags?

Tags are just keywords (or categories) that describe some kind of online content so that it will be easier to find. I can use the tag chocolate to describe a blog post I’ve written, a web site I’ve discovered, a photo I have taken, or a dessert shop I liked. There are web sites that organize all these types of content (blog posts, web bookmarks, photos and restaurant reviews) so no matter what kind of information you are storing or you are looking for, tags can help you find it.

I’ve also written a more detailed introduction to tagging.

How can they help with the Katrina recovery?

Tags can help to organize information for hurricane survivors — but only if there is some consistency in how we use these tags. Tag your blog posts; tag and share your digital photos; tag and store useful web links so that others can find them too.

Which tags should I use?

There is no “right” tag for any topic, but it’s helpful to use tags that are similar to what other people are using so that related information will get pulled together in a few central web pages. The tag hurricanekatrina has emerged as the most common tag for people to use for any information related to the recovery. Use this tag in any blog post, photo, or web link that is related to the hurricane.

You can use more than one tag for any blog post (or photo, or web link) so use all the tags that you think would help someone find the information you are describing. For example, if you are posting a photo of a child who is looking for her parents, you might tag it hurricanekatrina, survivor, missing, found and child.

How to tag blog posts:

If you are writing a blog post about Hurricane Katrina you can make sure it’s included in the Katrina page on Technorati. (Technorati lets you search blog posts the way Google lets you search web pages; while there are other blog search engines out there Technorati makes a point of tracking blog posts by tag, and including other kinds of tagged content on its subject pages.)

If your blog uses categories, you might want to create a category called hurricanekatrina. Post all your Katrina-related posts to that category, and Technorati should convert your category to a tag; then use one (or more) of the tags below in the body of a specific post in order to describe it in greater detail.

To include it in a blog post you can paste this bit of code into your blog post:

<a href=”http://technorati.com/tag/hurricanekatrina” rel=”tag”>hurricanekatrina</a>

How to tag and share photos:

If you are collecting photos, consider joining Flickr a photo sharing service that is accumulating a large collection of Katrina images under the tag hurricanekatrina. Flickr offers good instructions on how to upload, share and tag your photos; just tag them with hurricanekatrina in addition to any other tags that help to describe your photo.

How to tag and share online resources:

If you’ve found a web site or blog post that includes useful information or even inspiration, you can share it with other people. delicious is a “social bookmarking” service that lets people share their favourite web sites. (It also does a great job of helping you keep your favourite web sites organized, so you can find them again yourself.) It’s quite easy to use but if you’d like a helping hand there is a good online introduction available. Once you are up and running on del.icio.us you can use it to share any resource you find that is related to Katrina; just use the tags below as a guideline to how you could tag the resources you find. Make sure to use the tag Katrina in addition to any other tags you use.

Suggested tags:

Here are some other tags you might use to describe a blog post, a web link to a useful resource, or a photo related to the disaster. Use these tags IN ADDITION to the hurricanekatrina tag.

I’m including the Technorati code for each tag; if you are writing a blog post and want to tag it with one or more of these tags, include the Technorati code for that tag IN ADDITION to using the hurricanekatrina code:

<a href=”http://technorati.com/tag/hurricanekatrina” rel=”tag”>hurricanekatrina</a>
Tag: For: Technorati code:
hurricanekatrina anything related to the hurricane <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/hurricanekatrina"
rel="tag">hurricanekatrina</a>
children lost and found kids (use with peoplefinder — see below); other news about
children
<a href="http://technorati.com/tag/children" rel="tag">children</a>
donation for an offer of or story about financial assistance, food, or other support
(not shelter)
<a href="http://technorati.com/tag/donation" rel="tag">donation</a>
hero people who survived; people who are making a difference <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/hero" rel="tag">hero</a>
housing seeking or offering housing <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/housing" rel="tag">housing</a>
inspiration good wishes, encouragement and uplifting news <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/inspiration" rel="tag">inspiration</a>
job work available or work needed <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/job" rel="tag">job</a>
neworleans related to the city. (note: no space in the city’s name) <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/neworleans" rel="tag">neworleans</a>

peoplefinder+found

news of people who are missing (use two tags: peoplefinder + found)

<a href="http://technorati.com/tag/peoplefinder" rel="tag">peoplefinder</a>

<a href="http://technorati.com/tag/found" rel="tag">found</a>

peoplefinder+lost news of people who have been found (use two tags: peoplefinder + found)

<a href="http://technorati.com/tag/peoplefinder" rel="tag">peoplefinder</a>

<a href="http://technorati.com/tag/lost" rel="tag">lost</a>

pets+found news of pets who have been found (use two tags: pets + found)

<a href="http://technorati.com/tag/pets" rel="tag">pets</a>

<a href="http://technorati.com/tag/found" rel="tag">found</a>

pets+lost

lost or found pets

<a href="http://technorati.com/tag/pets" rel="tag">pets</a>

<a href="http://technorati.com/tag/lost" rel="tag">lost</a>

politics issues around disaster preparedness and recovery <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/politics" rel="tag">politics</a>
rebuilding efforts to rebuild the communities devastated by Katrina <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/rebuilding" rel="tag">rebuilding</a>
rescue related to immediate rescue of survivors <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/rescue" rel="tag">rescue</a>
volunteer if there is a way you can help personally, or a reference to someone who
is volunteering, use this tag
<a href="http://technorati.com/tag/volunteer" rel="tag">volunteer</a>
wanted use this along with another tag like "job" or "housing"
to indicate that you are looking for help
<a href="http://technorati.com/tag/wanted" rel="tag">wanted</a>
available use this along with another tag like "job" or "housing"
to indicate that you are offering help
<a href="http://technorati.com/tag/available" rel="tag">available</a>

These tags are just a suggestion. Use whatever you think will help you — and others — find the information you’re tagging.

I have some more suggestions on tagging that may be helpful (especially for del.icio.us users). And please feel free to contact me personally (alex [at] alexandrasamuel [dot] com) with any questions.

8 Comments

  1. [...] s some suggestions for tag choice as well as overall tips on tagging. It’s online at You’re It.

    Le [...]

    Pingback by alexandrasamuel.com » Tagging for Katrina — September 6, 2005 @ 3:32 am

  2. I think that folks new to online communication and likely intimidated by anything with greater-than and less-than signs might find quite useful the Technorati Tag bookmarklet you can grab here: http://digbig.com/4dxkn I use it all the time too.

    Comment by marshallkirkpatrick — September 6, 2005 @ 6:34 am

  3. Conventions for Tagging Katrina

    An effort to pull some tagging order out of the chaos. For some tools that will assist in tagging more efficiently, see my tagging post at Freshblog.

    Trackback by FreshBlog — September 6, 2005 @ 2:04 pm

  4. Alex,

    Looks like you might add unstructured to you list. This specific applies to places — like message boards — that contain missing/found people information in regards to the Hurricane. See the third question here for the example:

    http://katrina.internet2.edu/wiki/index.php/Tips_on_entering_data#FAQ

    Comment by ext337 — September 7, 2005 @ 12:24 am

  5. [...] ood aid , disaster relief 

      Tagging for Katrina by Alexandra Samuel Nancy White is part of the community of bloggers wh [...]

    Pingback by Tour of Texas Cycling Podcast » tagging for Hurricane Katrina blogs — September 7, 2005 @ 11:48 am

  6. We’ve been tagging articles, blogposts, etc specifically related to the response failure as

    governmentresponsefailure

    Long, but descriptive. Also, an example of how a tag can itself structure how reality is (or should be) perceived. In this case: I believe it is absolutely crucial to separate the two discrete disasters that ocurred over the past two weeks. The hurricane itself was a natural disaster, the federal government’s failure to respond was not. If we’re going to put in place systems to make sure this doesn’t happen again, we need to help make sure that the two events stay separate in the minds of the press, the government, and the public.

    Comment by Emily — September 8, 2005 @ 9:59 am

  7. The hurricane itself was a natural disaster, the federal government’s failure to respond was not. If we’re going to put in place systems to make sure this doesn’t happen again, we need to help make sure that the two events stay separate in the minds of the press, the government, and the public.
    http://bangbux.ifrance.com

    Comment by Bangbus — November 9, 2005 @ 12:17 pm

  8. Looks like you might add unstructured to you list. This specific applies to places — like message boards — that contain missing/found people information in regards to the Hurricane. See the third question here for the example

    Comment by Bangbus — November 19, 2005 @ 11:29 am

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