Sunday, September 4, 2005

Web Surfers Can Help, Too

Have you been surfing the web for days, wishing you could do more to help with Katrina relief than just sending cash? Well, they have a job for you over at the Katrina Help Wiki.

they are looking for people to volunteer their time sitting right in front of their computer by helping out with the Katrina PeopleFinder project:

Several dozen sites have been established to help survivors of Hurricane Katrina find their loved ones, and to allow people to report missing people. This creates a difficulty for people trying to locate missing persons - they need to search dozens of separate databases and message forums.

So we've decided to create a centralized database, where you can search the data from all of these at one time.
You can help in two ways, depending on just how deep your geekdom goes:
  1. Enter lost/found info from various non-scrapable websites into a web form at the PeopleFinder project. Go here and follow the instructions.
  2. Write code to scrape existing datasets and integrate them into the PeopleFinder database. Go here and sign up to help.

I decided that since my scraping skills are pretty beginner-like, I would just dive in on the volunteer side. I have already claimed and entered three datasets of postings from the Katrina Connections site, where people were posting photos of lost loved ones.

Help out if you can.

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